An insight into the discussion that emerged at a COP 23 side event in Bonn; jointly published with UNDP.
Since the Green Climate Fund (GCF) first began its resource mobilisation in 2014, when it rapidly raised more than USD 10 billion in pledges, it has allocated USD 2.7 billion into projects and programmes to date.
Considering the youth of the Fund and the infrastructure required to build it, some would argue that the investment of over one quarter of GCF’s resources is an excellent achievement. Considering that USD 131.1 million has actually been disbursed to date to developing countries, ‘unlocking the GCF’, understandingly, is a priority of the Fund.
A consultation convened by UNDP at COP 23 focused on the GCF Readiness Programmes, designed to assist entities in applying for accreditation to GCF. As Ms Kerricia Hobson, representing the Ministry of Agriculture in Grenada said, “be prepared to fully commit to this application, as it requires dedication, and deliberation.”
The thoroughness of the GCF accreditation process is no secret, but that is the exact reason the GCF Readiness Programmes have been rolled out, and as Mr Shiva Sharma, a National Project Director at the Ministry of Finance of Nepal, attested, “they have been very helpful in providing support to the government and the specific entities throughout their applications.”
The World Resources Institute (WRI), UN Environment, and UNDP are implementers of GCF Readiness Programmes they provide to governments. They revealed in the discussion that it was a key success factor to identify possible entities that would most likely be accredited, therefore allowing the limited resources needed to build capacity in these entities to be channelled to the most appropriate activities.
Ms Maia Tskhvaradze, Chief Specialist of Climate Change Service, at the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources Protection, Georgia, suggested that making this decision on which entities to support, was fundamental, and needs to be taken earlier rather than later by countries with a number of entities in the application process, in order to maximise the efficient use of resources.
Considering this trade-off, a question enquiring whether the Green Climate Fund would cap the number of Accredited Entities, was fair and due.
Mr Norbert Gorißen, Head of the Division of International Climate Finance, at Germany’s Ministry for the Environment, revealed this was regularly discussed at the GCF Board, but there was no official answer as of yet.
However, what he clarified was that “accreditation in the early stages was clearly important, but that now the emphasis of GCF is to disburse more climate finance and deliver results.”
Other questions pointed to a low number of ‘innovative’ projects that are currently being supported by GCF. Mr Gorißen acknowledged this observation, but explained the situation was changing, and that GCF increasingly seeks to support innovative, and inherently more risky projects, positioning itself as the ‘cutting edge’ Fund for climate action.
A representative from the GCF seconded this, but stressed that it would not be conducive for the Fund to provide definitions of what constitutes a paradigm-shifting project, as it depends so much on context. Instead, GCF urges countries to explain their case in their funding proposals as to why a particular project was indeed innovative.
Other notable observations that emerged during the debate were the encouraging levels of society-wide engagement in the Readiness Programmes and stakeholder consultations.
Mr Shiva reported how the programmes had garnered significant interest in Nepal, and Ms Tskhvaradze attested to the level of interest from private sector partners in Georgia, and said it justified the administrative challenges of organising such workshops.
The Moderator, Stephen Gold, Global Team Leader for Climate Change at UNDP, concluded that the “demand for GCF is incredibly high, much work has been done, but there is much more to do.” He suggested the continuation of the partnership between UNDP, UN Environment and WRI, with support from various branches of the German government, is a safe route to maintaining progress in unlocking GCF resources.
GCF Partners in the Readiness Programme include: