As we reach the end of 2015 I would like to send you best wishes and season's greetings from the Green Climate Fund Secretariat.
2015 has been a groundbreaking year for the Fund. After the successful resource mobilization in 2014, this was the year in which the Fund had to start to deliver on the vote of trust received in the form of the USD 10 billion equivalent of pledges, over 60% of which are already converted into signed agreements.
The central challenge for 2015 was to move promptly from fundraising to commitment, by making the first funding decisions — and to do this before the Paris climate conference. I am delighted that we achieved this and that the first eight funding decisions by GCF were approved by the Board at its meeting in Zambia last month.
The Fund cannot succeed on its own; and during 2015 we started to build our network of partners, including 136 country National Designated Authorities (NDAs) or Focal Points and 20 Accredited Entities (AEs) at the national, regional, and international level to implement projects.
In order to help countries prepare to partner with us we launched a grant programme of readiness funding. So far we have received requests from about 95 countries and approved more than 30 grants this year. The Board also decided to launch three pilot programmes with a total value of up to USD 900 million. These focus on enhancing direct access, supporting small- and medium-sized enterprises, and mobilizing funds at scale from the private sector.
The Fund staff at Headquarters have worked hard during 2015, and I would like to thank colleagues for all of their efforts in managing both an enormous workload and the pressures of the Fund's tremendous ambition.
I would also like to thank the Board for all of its guidance and oversight during this year, particularly the former Co-Chairs, Henrik Harboe and Gabriel Quijandria, for successfully navigating the complex process of reaching consensus in a 24-member Board.
And, of course, 2015 will be a memorable year for all of us as the year in which the world adopted a universal climate agreement. GCF is mandated to serve as an operating entity under the Paris Agreement's financial mechanism.
I am sure that 2016 will bring its share of challenges to us all; but it is incredibly exciting to see that the Fund is now ready to play its role in supporting the global response to climate change, the defining challenge of our time.
Héla Cheikhrouhou, Executive Director