TWN Info Service on Climate Change (Jul15/04)
15 July 2015
Third World Network  

GCF adopts important decision on enhancing direct access

New Delhi, 15 July (Indrajit Bose) — An important decision on enhancing direct access and approving the terms of reference for a pilot phase for projects was adopted by the Board of the Green Climate Fund (GCF) at its 10th meeting in Songdo, South Korea.

The Board also approved up to US$200 million for at least ten pilots, including at least four pilots to be implemented in Small Island developing States (SIDS), the least developed countries (LDCs) and African states. Board members in general, from both developed and developing countries were supportive of a decision on the matter to enhance direct access.

Decision on the issue had been pending since the Board discussed it in depth at its ninth meeting, also held in Songdo. At that ninth meeting, the Board had discussed the modalities and several developing country Board members had expressed concerns about the number of pilot projects being too few and the amount of US $100 million as insufficient for the pilot projects. They also felt that the implementation period of two years of the pilot projects was too short a time to ascertain results.  

In a document prepared by the Secretariat for the Board meeting, it was stated that “enhanced direct access is needed mainly because the decision-making on the specific projects and programmes to be funded will be made at the country/entity level, and such direct access is a means to increase the level of country ownership over those projects and programmes. This implies that the screening, assessment and selection of specific pilot activities would be made at the national or subnational level. At the same time, mechanisms will be set up to increase oversight and multi-stakeholder engagement at the country level. For that purpose, the preferred approach will be to use existing country systems and institutions.”

The revised document on enhancing direct access presented at the 10th Board meeting, held from 6-9 July, extended the pilot phase from two to five years and the amount for the pilots was increased to US$200 million. Besides these, the draft decision also included risk mitigation, including through readiness support and the call for proposals had been further clarified, said Ousseynou Nakoulima, Director of Country Programming, at the GCF Secretariat, and added that the revised decision would lead to increased country ownership.

Jan Cedergren (Sweden) added that the Accreditation Committee had reviewed the document and proposed three additions: they wanted to reintroduce the role of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) into the document; the reporting of the pilot schemes should be in the 12th Board meeting and not at the 14th Board meeting as proposed; and that oversight function should give guidance to the entities carrying out the pilot scheme. Board members agreed with the suggestions and sought clarifications around the oversight function, the accreditation process and inclusion of stakeholders (see exchange below).

The Committee was asked to revise the document and prepare an amended decision. The revised decision was distributed to Board members on 8 July and the discussion resumed on 9 July. Board members sought further clarification around enhancing the position and status of the national designated authorities (NDA), selection of projects, monitoring and accountability and whether projects would be approved in a batch or whether they would approve one-by-one.

Responding to the queries, Cedergren said that there would be a call for proposals. “The implication is that small projects will be developed under the authority of the implementing entity. The idea is to have devolved decision-making. The Board would be involved in approving packages, but not in individal projects. Decision-making is left to the local level. The Fund will have the responsibility to evaluate the effects of the pilot exercise and in that sense the Board and the Fund will have the oversight responsibility to see if the pilot packages contributed to the objective of the Fund. We will have to come back and see what we achieve that we want to achieve,” said Cedergren. To another query, he said, “In the best of cases it will come as packages. It is also possibile that this will take time to develop, but the idea is to approve as a package and not at individual levels.”

After the clarifications the decision was adopted, with amendments, as follows:

  • The Board approves the “terms of reference for a pilot phase enhancing direct access to the GCF”.
  • It requested the Secretariat, “under the guidance and oversight of the Accreditation Committee and in consultation with the independent technical advisory panel (iTAP), (and) relevant stakeholders to prepare and launch a request for proposal to countries through their NDAs or focal point and public media”.
  • The decision recalled that “access to Fund resources will be through accredited entities. As such, nominated entities must be accredited by the Fund, in respect of the Fund’s fit-for-purpose approach, prior to the review by the Board of their pilot proposals”.
  • The Board requested the Secretariat “to publish the pilot proposals on the Fund’s website at least 21 calendar days before the first day of the meeting in which they are presented to the Board for approval”. 
  • The Board requested the Secretariat and the iTAP “to undertake the assessment of pilot proposals received in response to a Request for Proposal from countries in accordance with the Fund’s initial proposal approval process, the initial investment framework and to provide recommednations on pilots to be approved with the initial aim of providing up to US$200 million for at least ten (10) pilots, including at least four (4) pilots to be implemented in SIDs, LDCs and African states”.
  • The Board also requested the Secretariat “to report back to the Board on the progress of this request for proposal at the twelfth meeting of the Board”.

Highlights of exchanges that took place:

Omar El Arini (Egypt) said that the SMEs should be added. Arini also wanted to know how the projects will figure in countries’ strategic climate plan and that the role of the NDA was not very clear. 

Ingrid-Gabriela Hoven (Germany) stresses the need for CSO participation in the implementation of the pilot and called for transparency. She also suggested review after every two years.

David Kaluba (Zambia) supported the addition of SMEs and emphasised that in the piloting the initiative, LDCs and SIDs must not be left out and added that there is very strong opportunity to strengthen country ownership in those countries. Kaluba also called for the role of CSOs and other actors to be reflected in the decision.

Nauman Bashir Bhatti (Pakistan) wanted to know if the entities involved in the enhanced direct access would go through the regular accreditation process or the fast-track route.

Supporting the Secretariat document, Leonardo Martinez-Diaz (US) sought clarification on the reference to request for proposal (RFP) in the paper and asked what type of activities would be covered under it. He also wanted to know the basis of selecting proposals and the process for bringing forward proposals through the NDAs. He suggested that it would be helpful for the Board to see the RFP and provide inputs and wanted to further understand how direct access would relate to the monitoring and accountability framework.

Patrick McCaskie (Barbados) said the decision is very important to SIDS. Ewen McDonald (Australia) said three-year review might be too long and supported Hoven on a review after two years. Stefan Schwager (Switzerland) added that amendments proposed by Cedergren were welcome and supported the inclusion of civil society in the process. Atsuyuki Oike (Japan) supported Kaluba and sought clarity about the oversight body.

Andrea Ledward (UK) called for more detailing about the oversight body and said it should include women, and wanted clarity on monitoring and clarity on decision-making at the project level.