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GCF dialogues

Lessons Learned

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GCF Structured Dialogues provide ideal opportunities to share knowledge about how to access the Fund - based on queries raised by our Partners.

As a learning organisation, GCF strives to collect and digest learnings from these Dialogues to reflect on our processes, improve our engagements with countries, and ensure that our activities remain country-focused and responsive to the unique circumstances of the territories where we operate.

This page provides a quick, condensed view of the most-commonly asked questions and learnings during previous Structured Dialogues.

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Common Questions About GCF

Can a single country submit various Readiness proposals at once?
Yes. Countries can access up to USD 1 million in Readiness funding for various activites each year, as well as up to USD 3 million per country for adaptation planning. These amounts can be split across different Readiness activity areas and different delivery partners.

The Readiness funding programme, outside of GCF’s regular project approval cycle, strengthens the institutional capacities of NDAs or Focal Points and Direct Access Entities to engage with the Fund.

Can NDAs invest Readiness resources to strengthen their national coordination mechanisms?
Yes. NDAs or Focal Points are the main communication conduits between GCF and developing country stakeholders. So it is recommended Readiness resources are used when needed to strengthen national coordination mechanisms. This helps mainstream GCF engagement, which cuts across different economic sectors of the country.

In addition, the national coordination mechanisms help widen understanding of a country’s climate agenda, centred around its Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) or other national climate change strategies, support strategic prioritisation of Readiness and project ideas, and share lessons from implementation. This meshes with a key focus of GCF - to make sure the projects it funds are country driven.

What are country programmes and are they mandatory to receive GCF support?
Country programmes outline a country’s plans and priorities for engaging with GCF, including how Readiness and project ideas fit with national climate change priorities.

Country programmes are not mandatory to access GCF funding. However, experience from countries that have developed successful GCF projects indicates they are useful in harmonising national interests around climate priorities and in empowering them to drive the country’s pipeline with GCF.

From a GCF perspective, country programmes help strengthen country ownership of funding proposals and underpin understanding of climate impact and paradigm shift.

These are key factors in gaining GCF funding approval. Outlining national funding priorities through a country programme can also help attract support from other climate action partners.

Does GCF have particular policies on deciding which projects to fund?
Some Dialogue participants have wondered if GCF makes decisions on funding allocation according to different sectors, average national income levels, or the extent of co-financing being sought in a project in addition to GCF funds. In fact, GCF has no official policy on resource allocation - beyond aiming for a 50:50 split between mitigation and adaptation. Resource allocation for adaptation takes into account the urgent and immediate needs of vulnerable countries, particularly Least Developed Countries (LDCs), Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and African States.

GCF commits resources on a project by project basis. Projects are reviewed based on the Fund’s six investment criteria and other relevant policies.

What is the value in pursuing regional funding proposals, and does this limit the resources available for national projects?
Multiple funding proposal submissions covering a country or region are possible – as long as they are well coordinated and meet national priorities in a harmonious way.

Regional projects make sense when a cross-national boundary approach can better respond to a particular climate challenge, while also promoting a paradigm shift in climate action. The benefits of a regional approach in seeking GCF funding approval is considered on a case by case basis. This will involve weighing the importance of understanding the national context and particular climate needs of different countries, as well as identifying the opportunities for cooperation through regional bodies.

What role can the private sector play in mobilising local capital through institutional investors?
The private sector has a crucial role in mobilising funds at scale, and GCF’s Private Sector Facility aims to draw the private sector further into funding climate action. NDAs can strengthen their facilitation role between GCF and national private players, with a view to mobilising institutional investors and to raise local capital. This could include broad-based initiatives capturing economies of scale as well as supporting those who are vulnerable to climate change at the community level, such as smallholder farmers.

Other Learnings and Observations

  • Successful examples of country programmes underscore the value of these strategic documents – which individual countries draw up to help channel necessary climate finance – to align and prioritise climate change challenges together with other national priorities
  • Country engagement that takes into account diverse needs and involves actors from various sectors sets a strong foundation to identify and prioritise climate finance projects
  • When submitting funding proposals to GCF, it is important to establish a strong rationale for climate action, and link this to activities that also contribute to countries’ larger policy frameworks
  • Given that GCF is a Fund, and not a bank, it has at a range of financial instruments at its disposal which developing countries can access
  • The management of environmental and social risks is critical in achieving climate finance project goals. The integration of these considerations in climate change investment plans ensures that actions will do no harm, and act to improve the resilience and quality of life of those most affected by climate change.
  • There is general acknowledgement that strong climate science must underpin the rationale of climate change projects. While a lot of data exists at the national level, the development and implementation of climate projects needs to be linked closely with national meteorological services.
  • Many representatives from different countries emphasise the importance of GCF’s readiness programme in getting them to the starting line on climate finance.