City Climate Finance Gap Fund

Climate Objective
Sectors and Themes
Nature-based Solutions and Ecosystem Services
Type of Support Provider
Type of Recipient
Public entity at the sub-national level
Public entity at the regional level
Fund Size

The City Climate Finance Gap Fund was operationalized by the World Bank and the European Investment Bank in September 23, 2020.The Fund is capitalized at €55 million, with a target capitalization of at least €100 million and the potential to unlock an estimated €4 billion in investments.

Co-financing Requirement
Application Timeframe

Expressions of interest can be submitted on a rolling basis. There are no deadlines.

Trustee or Administrator
European Investment Bank, The World Bank
Contact Information

Please use the contact form on the website for all questions related to the Gap Fund and expressions of interest for which you do not find the answers below.

The Gap Fund helps cities in developing and emerging countries realize their climate ambitions, turning low-carbon, climate-resilient ideas into strategies and finance-ready projects. In an environment where resources and expertise are limited, the Gap Fund supports cities and local governments in preparing and prioritizing climate-smart plans and investments with the goal of attracting more financing and support for implementation.

The Gap Fund can:
- Provide city planners with upstream technical assistance and tailor-made tools to enhance cities’ low-carbon planning and resilience efforts to address urban sprawling growth;
- Help city leaders build a pipeline of high-quality, climate-smart urban investments, with a focus on early and often underfunded stages of project preparation.
- Facilitate the connection between cities and prospective financing partners, such as World Bank or EIB lending, or third-party financiers.
- Leverage international collaboration and partnerships with the Global Covenant of Mayors and city networks to learn from each other and standardize approaches.

Support Provider

European Investment Bank and The World Bank

Purpose of Support
Prepare Proposals, Projects and Pipelines
Funding Type
In-kind contributions
Organizational and Decision Making Structure
  • Two Trust Funds: The Gap Fund operates as one initiative organized around two multi-donor trust funds, one managed by the EIB and the other one managed by the World Bank. The Gap Fund structure ensures strong partnerships and coordinated governance and implementation. 
  • Partnerships: Regular exchange between partners including donors, implementing agencies, cities, and other actors will be facilitated through the Gap Fund Partnership Forum.  
  • Governance: Donors provide strategic direction to the two separate MDTFs implemented by the WB and EIB through their respective donor committees. The donor committees for the two MDTFs are held concomitantly with cross-participation of the WB and EIB as observers in each-other’s donors committee to ensure coordination and consistency between the implementation of the two MDTFs. 
  • Implementation coordination: EIB-WB collaboration includes: (i) joint outreach, communication and knowledge-sharing activities carried out in partnership with cities networks and other key partners, (ii) a “one gap fund” website offering information on both Gap Fund MDTFs and the ability for cities to submit their expression of interest to the Gap Fund, and (iii) coordination mechanisms for the WB and EIB to screen Expression of Interests and agree on further processing by either of the two MDTFs.
Eligibility Criteria

1. Eligible countries — The Expression of Interest must come from developing and emerging countries identified in the ODA-OECD DAC list

2. Climate action potential — The Expression of Interest must aim to make an ambitious contribution to the mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions to meet the 1.5˚ Celsius goal identified in the Paris Agreement and/or adaptation to climate change.

Applicants must commit to carrying out an estimation of the proposal’s climate change mitigation or adaptation potential or working with Gap Fund experts to estimate it.

3. Applicant/Ownership — The applicant must be a city or local government official or a third party that submits the proposal officially on behalf of the city or local government.

4. Urban dimension — The project must be situated in an urban area or functionally linked to one. Proposals presented by public or private developers with clear linkages to sub-national governments will be eligible, so long as a proposal’s urban dimension is clear and local political ownership is verified.

5. Stage — Gap Fund activities can provide support to cities either in strategic planning or up to the pre-feasibility stages of a project, namely:
- Climate strategy development/enabling environment
- Project definition/concept
- Pre-feasibility

Eligible Countries

The Gap Fund is a global fund that supports cities in developing countries in all regions. All countries on the OECD DAC list of ODA recipients are eligible.

Information on how to
Submit an application and selection process

As a first step the applicant should ensure the project proposal meets the eligibility criteria for Gap Fund support. Second an Expression of Interest form must be completed and submitted either directly by the city or local government, or if not, with explicit approval from the city or local government. Third, the applicant will be informed as to whether the submission meets the eligibility criteria of the Gap Fund and has been shortlisted for further follow-up or is not being considered further by the Gap Fund. 

If not shortlisted, and consent is given by the applicant in the EOI, the Gap Fund Secretariat will share the application with other Gap Fund partners, GCOM, ICLEI, C40, CCFLA and other potential sources of project support.  

If shortlisted, the applicant will be contacted by either the WB or EIB Gap Fund Technical Secretariats or Regional teams to set up an exploratory call to discuss the background, details and scope of the application. Depending on the outcome of this call, either the WB or EIB regional teams will then work with the applicant to develop a detailed application to the Gap Fund.

The Gap Fund Secretariats will then assess the detailed application with consideration of the following: the extent and credibility of anticipated climate action benefits; replication potential and scalability; alignment with central and local government commitments; positive environmental, social and economic co-benefits; potential bankability or creditworthiness; political ownership; and, priority at city government and the national level. The applicant will then be informed as whether or not their detailed application has been approved by the Gap Fund Secretariat.

Understand application costs

Gap Fund support is provided free of charge, thanks to donor funding. However, cities and their partners (e.g., service providers, municipal companies and other organisations) receiving Gap Fund support must cover their Gap Fund application costs and staff time (e.g., costs and time associated with interacting with experts and advisors provided by the Gap Fund or to submit relevant documentation/data about their city, strategy, project or proposal). Cities are also expected to be active partners in the process and identify relevant staff to actively engage with Gap Fund experts.

Receive selection results

If eligible, the proposal will move to the next phase and the applicant will be contacted requesting additional information and a more detailed assessment. An overall assessment will then be conducted, and the applicant will be informed of the result. If the outcome is positive, the applicant will receive confirmation about the scope of technical assistance to be provided by the Gap Fund. The timelines for receiving notification will vary by applicant and depend not only on the completeness of the original application but the time required to seek any additional clarifications. As such, applicants are encouraged to be as thorough and specific as possible at all stages of the process.