GCF does not implement projects directly itself, but through partnerships with Accredited Entities. Accredited Entities comprise the core of GCF’s funding proposal cycle. They are responsible for presenting funding applications to GCF, and then overseeing, supervising, managing and monitoring the overall GCF-approved projects and programmes.
It is not necessary for Accredited Entities to act as the direct implementer of funding proposals. Executing Entities can also do this on behalf of Accredited Entities by channelling funds and carrying out the funded activity. In these cases, Accredited Entities will continue to be important as they maintain oversight of Executive Entities’ GCF-related activities.
Accredited Entities develop funding proposals, in close consultation with NDAs or focal points, based on the differing climate finance needs of individual developing countries. Accredited Entities can also respond to Requests for Proposals issued by GCF to fill current gaps in climate financing. In issuing some Requests for Proposals, GCF may accept proposals from entities it has not yet accredited. However, non-accredited entities will have to team-up with Accredited Entities when formally submitting funding proposals to GCF. Entities that submit proposals through the Requests for Proposals can be prioritized when applying for accreditation.
Submit a concept note (optional)
A concept note is a document which provides basic information about a project or programme. It allows Accredited Entities a chance to seek feedback from the GCF Secretariat about whether their proposal matches the Fund's objectives and mandate. The Accredited Entity must inform the NDA or focal point about its submission of a concept note to GCF.
GCF Secretariat feedback about submitted concept notes does not represent a commitment to provide financial resources to support the project.
Submit Funding Proposal to GCF Secretariat
It is standard practice for Accredited Entities to submit funding proposals to GCF. In some cases, however, GCF may issue a Request for Proposals allowing submission by entities that are not yet accredited to GCF. In these cases, the accreditation application of the entity will be considered alongside the funding proposal.
Once submitted, Funding Proposals are subject to a review process, starting with an initial assessment of the submitted proposal and the technical specifications alongside the documents that need to accompany it. At this stage, the GCF Secretariat may contact the Accredited Entity to discuss the proposal and seek to strengthen the application in advance of further, more detailed review.
Funding proposals must include an Impact Assessment to ensure the project meets GCF's project standards. This requires extensive consultation with those who would be affected by the project. The proposal must also include a no-objection letter signed by the NDA of the relevant developing country associated with the funding proposal. The no-objection letter should be submitted within 30 days of the proposal itself, but can be separate from the proposal.
GCF Secretariat assessment
Following the initial completeness check, the GCF Secretariat undertakes a more detailed assessment of the project proposal, including assessing how it matches GCF investment criteria. The Secretariat also assesses compliance with GCF policies, including, but not limited to:
- Fiduciary standards
- Risk management
- Environment and Social Standards (ESS)
- Monitoring and Evaluation criteria
- Gender policy
- Legal standards
Once the proposal has passed this initial review stage, the GCF Secretariat will pass on its assessment, along with the submitted proposal and supporting documents, to the Independent Technical Advisory Panel (ITAP).
Independent Technical Assessment
The Independent Technical Advisory Panel (ITAP) is an independent technical advisory body made up of six international experts: three from developing countries and three from developed countries. The ITAP assesses the funding proposals against the six GCF investment criteria, and can add conditions and recommendations to the funding proposal at its discretion.
At this point, ITAP may ask Accredited Entities to provide clarifications, while liaising with the GCF Secretariat.
GCF Board decision
The GCF Secretariat submits a funding proposal package to the GCF Board. This consists of the funding proposal, documents which are required to support the proposal, a no objection letter signed by the NDA, and the GCF Secretariat and ITAP assessments.
Accredited Entities may be requested to provide additional clarification about their funding proposal - based on the GCF Secretariat and ITAP assessments.
The GCF Board – generally meeting three times a year - considers the proposal, and can choose one of three possible decisions:
- Approve funding
- Approve funding with the conditions and recommendations that modifications are made to the funding proposal
- Reject the funding proposal
Following GCF Board approval of a funding proposal, the GCF Secretariat negotiates with the Accredited Entity in order to sign a Funded Activity Agreement. The Funded Activity Agreement lays the groundwork for the implementation phase of the project or programme.
GCF has developed dedicated templates for Concept Notes and full Funding Proposals that Accredited Entities and National Designated Authorities should use for submission to the Secretariat.