Enhancing Access to Global Climate Funds: Lessons from Asia Pacific
Multilateral funds make billions of dollars available to developing countries to support their climate actions. While billions are still not enough to transform development, it is enough to make a big difference. Yet countries struggle to access those funds, and support with this is one of the most frequent requests to the NDC Partnership from its country members.
The NDC Partnership and the Green Climate Fund (GCF), in close collaboration with the Adaptation Fund, recently partnered to host a peer-to-peer exchange on Enhancing access to global climate funds in Asia Pacific on the sidelines of Asia Pacific Climate Week in Bangkok, Thailand. This exchange was shaped by expressed country interests, successful country experiences in climate fund access, and insights from the GCF and Adaptation Fund on supporting country readiness to apply for and use climate funds.
The GCF is the largest global climate fund and represents one of the biggest global efforts to increase access to climate finance for developing countries. In four years, the GCF received USD7 billion from contributions, of which USD5 billion was allocated to support 111 transformative climate projects in 99 countries. This has in turn mobilized an additional USD13.7 billion in funding from the public and private sectors.
Challenges to Access
Despite the clear benefit and mandate of climate funds like the GCF and Adaptation Fund, barriers to access remain and are a major point of concern for many countries in their NDC implementation. Accreditation, project development, and approval processes for government-nominated entities are often complex and challenging for some country stakeholders.
Common obstacles include:
- the need to meet demanding accreditation criteria,
- difficulty in making the economic case for projects (particularly when it comes to adaptation),
- a lack of necessary data to clearly articulate the climate rationale,
- and an absence of technical skills to sufficiently demonstrate the technical and financial requirements that underpin a well-prepared project proposal.
These challenges are evidenced in the finance-related requests received by NDC Partnership member countries who are seeking increased access to the global climate funds. Most of these country requests relate to support for proposal and project development, with a fifth of the remaining requests pointing to support in the accreditation process.
Addressing Challenges To Access Through Peer-to-Peer Learning
The exchange covered four key topics: 1) the importance of national designated authorities (NDAs); 2) accessing readiness funding; 3) project and pipeline development; and 4) regional coordination.
Key lessons that emerged from the exchange included:
- Coordination and collaboration across relevant ministries, agencies, and accredited entities leads to stronger concept notes and proposals and underlines the case for building a strong NDA.
- Readiness support can play an important role in building national capacity, and NDAs can better utilize the funding that is available to them under the readiness process.
- Nominating accredited entities that can clearly support national priorities allows direct access entities (DAEs) to more easily meet accreditation and proposal requirements.
- Regional entities can map synergies across the region, ensure coherence, and help pool resources in line with regional needs for successful coordination and proposal development.
These lessons have since been captured and paired with good practice examples in an Insight Brief prepared by the NDC Partnership Support Unit. This Insight Brief draws on the experiences shared among the Asia Pacific countries as part of the peer exchange but are applicable globally and can be shared more widely across the Partnership.
Sharing country successes and challenges in accessing climate funds can complement current readiness programs by giving countries the opportunity to learn first-hand how their peers have successfully accessed the GCF, as well as the Adaptation Fund. The joint exchange between NDC Partnership member countries and the climate funds allowed countries to draw on concrete examples in order to better understand processes and criteria for meeting the climate fund accreditation requirements and developing fundable projects.
The NDC Partnership will continue to surface and share lessons from its country members regarding access to multilateral climate funds, and leverage on the support of its institutional and development partners to build in-country capacity for mobilizing both public and private finance for NDC implementation.
This blog was written by Skylar Bee, Climate Finance Associate for the NDC Partnership Support Unit.