The COVID-19 pandemic and the global response required to stem it shows the importance of acting together to solve unparalleled threats to people and our planet. The far-reaching impacts of COVID-19 are a stark reminder of the catastrophic implications the world faces if we don't.
The Green Climate Fund (GCF) is committed to ensuring that the world that emerges from the pandemic is one that is more aligned on a climate smart path. We will continue to collaborate with our partners to enable developing countries, particularly those that are most vulnerable, to strengthen their resilience to the COVID crisis and other future shocks in ways that foster low-emission, sustainable and inclusive growth.
The COVID-19 pandemic, an unprecedented health crisis in modern times, is causing untold suffering that requires a collective response. GCF makes critical investments in climate-resilient water resources management, health care facilities, sustainable agriculture and livelihoods – all of which are essential to preventing, responding to and fostering a green recovery. Similarly, GCF can catalyse green investment to relaunch developing country economies on low-emission, climate-resilient trajectories.
As a partnership organisation, GCF fully recognises that the virus is impacting its partners and implementation of GCF-funded projects in developing countries, including new challenges created by social distancing measures and travel restrictions. GCF is committed to collaborating closely with its partners to identify how COVID-19 is affecting activities and what measures can be taken to address both immediate and longer-term impacts.
While taking a phased and risk-based approach to alleviating project implementation challenges, GCF will support developing countries to identify new climate investments that have strong social and economic co-benefits. Given the extraordinary COVID-19 circumstances, the Green Climate Fund is pursuing options to provide flexibility to our partners, including by providing a 6-month, no cost extension on some Readiness Programme and Project Preparation Facility grants – two GCF programmes designed to improve developing countries' ability to develop proposals.
Internally, GCF has taken a number of measures to mitigate the spread and impact of COVID-19 while continuing to support developing countries under new conditions. All GCF staff members, with few exceptions, are required to work from home. Travel and in-person meetings have been cancelled, and we have significantly enhanced our ICT capabilities to enable GCF to function as a fully digital organisation.
Despite these measures, GCF has not been spared from the pandemic. We are deeply concerned for a few staff and their families who have contracted the virus. Our primary concern is for their recovery and return to good health and wellbeing.
The interlinkages between people, planet and prosperity have never been clearer. The Green Climate Fund is confident that only a united approach – bringing together determined efforts and innovation – will provide lasting solutions to both the COVID-19 pandemic and climate change.