Workshop forges direct links to country-led climate action


The Green Climate Fund has strengthened its country-driven approach to supporting global climate action with the conclusion today of the Empowering Direct Access workshop.

During the past four days, almost a hundred participants from various corners of the planet have met at GCF HQ in Songdo, the Republic of Korea, to learn more about how the Fund works and to articulate the particular climate finance needs their countries require.

Direct Access Entities are special types of Accredited Entity – organisations which the Fund nominates to propose and carry out GCF-approved climate projects. Direct Access Entities form the essence of GCF’s country-driven approach as they consist of regional, national or subnational institutions nominated by the national governments of developing countries.

The overarching purpose of the past four days has been to assist Direct Access Entities develop GCF-supported climate projects that spur low-emission and climate-resilient development.

Opening the workshop on Tuesday, GCF Deputy Executive Director Javier Manzanares emphasised the importance the Fund places in Direct Access Entities by highlighting how 80 percent of all entities accredited since last year are direct access. That means over half of GCF’s 59 Accredited Entities are Direct Access Entities, he said.

Direct Access Entities are key because while GCF appreciates the “aim of climate action is ultimately global, we recognise that mitigation and adaptation activities take place at the local level,” Mr Manzanares told the workshop participants. “You obviously have the local knowledge to ensure the type of climate finance GCF provides is most impactful, and provides the benefits for those who most need it.”

The workshop included a variety of detailed sessions stepping out the necessary stages to apply for GCF support, with an emphasis on the need to show a clear climate change rationale. This includes ensuring proposed projects are underpinned by rigorous science and adherence to GCF’s climate impact areas.

There was considerable interest among workshop participants in “paradigm-shifting:” how does GCF define what makes climate change mitigation and adaptation projects transformative? GCF staff emphasised the Fund provides a variety of funding channels to help enhance understanding about what makes a good climate project. This support is available to Entities when nominated by their countries and submitted through GCF’s readiness programme and Project Preparation Facility.

To date, 29 Direct Access Entities have received GCF readiness support. Meanwhile, seven Project Preparation Facility proposals presented at GCF’s first Empowering Direct Access workshop in May last year have received grants.

GCF’s Simplified Approval Process and Enhanced Direct Access initiatives also generated much discussion as these are forms of financial support specifically targeting Direct Access Entities.

There was a recognition by many at the workshop that while the public sector continues to be a vital source of climate financing, the private sector will need to be drawn increasingly into generating countries’ climate action.

Highlighting the climate finance deficit, Ayaan Adam, director of GCF’s Private Sector Facility, said even the global goal to raise USD 100 billion annually by 2020 would not reach the funding needs climate change will demand.

One of the main advantages of the Empowering Direct Access workshop has been the opportunity it has offered for Direct Access Entities to share information with each other.

India’s National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) has attracted a lot of attention as it is the country’s first organisation GCF has accredited as a Direct Access Entity, according to Shankar A. Pande, the bank’s chief general manager of the farm sector policy department.

“A number of participants in organisations currently applying for accreditation with GCF have asked how we went about it,” said Mr Pande.

“My main advice is that organisations need to reach out beyond the confines of their own group to seek out specialist climate knowledge. It is also important to work with national governments that have a clear understanding of climate change issues in their country.”

NABARD, which became a Direct Access Entity in July 2015, currently has two projects approved by GCF. One is focusing on enhancing the climate resilience of tribal areas in the eastern Indian state of Odisha, while the other is a mitigation project designed to unlock private sector investment in solar energy.

Direct access to personal contacts working in the climate space was seen by many to be one of the most useful features of the workshop. There was an animated discussion of how to facilitate exchanges among entities through a Direct Climate Action Platform online.

Stressing the value of face-to-face meetings, Donnell Cain – project development specialist with the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC) – said consultations with GCF staff at the inaugural GCF Empowering Direct Access Workshop last year led to his organisation’s first GCF-approved funding proposal.

“Information exchanges at these sort of venues are crucial for Direct Access Entities to shape bankable projects,” he said. “At the workshop last year, we were able to sit down with GCF’s technical team to review our draft funding proposal, and chart the way forward.”

The CCCCC project in Barbados is designed to incorporate solar energy into the production and distribution of water and enhance rainwater harvesting for greater resilience building to climate variability and change.

GCF staff will study the results of the Empowering Direct Access workshop to feed into ongoing planning that ensures climate finance support continues to hit the mark at the country and community levels.

Source: GCF

GCF workshop strengthens direct access to climate finance


The second GCF Empowering Direct Access workshop opens today to help developing countries progress innovative climate action that makes a difference at the local and global levels.

This is one of GCF’s most important events of the year, as it reflects the Fund’s country-driven focus on ensuring the climate projects it supports match local needs.

More than 100 participants have gathered at GCF’s headquarters in Songdo, Republic of Korea, for the four-day workshop. They include Direct Access Entities and National Designated Authorities (NDAs) or focal points.

The use of Direct Access Entities is a defining feature of GCF. It allows the national governments of developing countries to nominate these regional, national or subnational institutions to propose and implement GCF-approved climate projects. NDAs, or focal points, represent the national governments of developing countries interacting with GCF.

A major focus of the workshop will be on sharing ideas that generate paradigm-shifting GCF projects that help developing countries achieve their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) under the Paris Agreement.

GCF staff will be on hand to provide advice on how Direct Access Entities can transform climate change mitigation and adaptation initiatives into GCF funding proposals. Workshop participants will also have the chance to share their own experiences in working with GCF and in dealing with the particular climate challenges they face.

The workshop will feature updates on GCF policies and programmes designed to assist Direct Access Entities. These include GCF’s readiness programme, the Project Preparation FacilitySimplified Approval Process, and Enhanced Direct Access.

Information sessions will also address recent developments in GCF’s approach to environmental and social safeguards and Indigenous Peoples – following the approval of two policies at the most recent GCF Board meeting in February this year.

A major purpose of the Empowering Direct Access workshop is to help GCF explore ways it can strengthen the role of these key, country-driven organisations in climate finance.

GCF has made progress in this area. Numbering 32, over half of GCF’s Accredited Entities are now Direct Access Entities.

Source: GCF

EBRD receives strong backing for climate change work during Korea visit

Bank President holds constructive meetings

The President of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), Sir Suma Chakrabarti, gained strong backing for the EBRD’s work in the green economy during a visit to the Republic of Korea. The President held meetings with the Korean government and the Green Climate Fund (GCF), which is based in Korea.

President Chakrabarti held talks with Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister, Kim Dong Yeon. The Deputy Prime Minister underlined Korea’s support for the Bank’s activities in mitigating the impact of climate change. During the meeting, the EBRD President praised the strength of the partnership between the Bank and Korea. So far, the joint value of EBRD-Korea projects in the Bank’s countries of operations stands at close to €1.5 billion. An increasing number of projects are in the field of green economy transition. The Bank wants 40 per cent of its projects to be in this area by 2020 and, so far, the EBRD seems to be on target. In the first six months of 2017, green projects accounted for 47 per cent of the Bank’s activity.

The President emphasised this operational success in a meeting with the Executive Director of the Green Climate Fund, Howard Bamsey. He said that the relationship between the two organisations had become even closer since they signed an agreement on greater cooperation earlier this year. So far, the Green Climate Fund has approved projects worth more than US$ 600 million with the EBRD, which is the largest single recipient of GCF resources.

Concluding his visit to Korea, President Chakrabarti said: “Korea is at the forefront of green technology and that gives us a strong touchstone as we work together on creating greener economies in our countries of operations.”

Source: EBRD