How Africa can own and benefit from the GCF process

The GCF, established by the international community as a financial arrangement to support climate action under the United Nations Climate Change Convention (UNFCCC) is still in its initial stages of being set up.

Various processes are being undertaken at the fund to set up working efficient and supportive structures that will deliver on the mandate of the fund.

The GCF is supposed to ensure that climate change finances promote ownership by individual target countries result in transformation at the country and community level, cause long-term impacts that are sustainable and come accompanied with environmental, economic and social benefits.

Although the GCF is still in its initial stages of setting up, the GCF Board together with stakeholders such as Civil Society Organizations are working tirelessly to inform this process in a bid to have a global fund with both global and efficient standards that make it possible for developing countries impacted by climate change to access financing.

It is these financial resources that enable the addressing of climate change impacts through coping and combating climate change.

“How does Africa own the GCF process and benefit as well?”

This is a million-dollar question for African countries. One that needs to be answered with supportive insights by African leadership and all African stakeholders.

At the 17th Board meeting of the GCF in Songdo, Korea, a report on Readiness and Preparatory Support Work Programme; a programme that aims to facilitate through provision of financing developing countries understanding of the GCF process, be involved and as well set up nationally required structures to enable accessing of fiancé by countries; shared by the GCF Secretariat caught my attention.

The report showed that there exist 42 approved Readiness support projects by the GCF that total to an amount of USD12.9M. 42 countries stand to benefit. This financing flows to the country through either the National Designated Authority or Focal point office and intends to support country project(s) development, national stakeholder engagement, strengthening of the capacity of accredited entities, the GCF preparatory process in African countries and development of adaptation planning process.

Successful climate actions in developing countries are a mix of both innovative ideas generated through multi-stakeholder consultative process involving also accredited entities from concept generation, development, design and implementation.

Good practice dictates that involvement is necessary to facilitate ownership. Moreover, having agreed upon actions by all involved parties provides the society an opportunity to make all-inclusive decisions that are binding assuring security and sustainability of country actions. Informed by this, the NDA or Focal Point who play the role of coordinating country GCF engagement has a mandate to ensure good practice to facilitate ownership.

Setting up National Coordination Mechanism with representation from all stakeholder and as well initiating formal consultations with stakeholders are ways to enable meaningful engagement.

This will demonstrate country ownership and acceptance of climate interventions at the country level. With such arrangement, participation and partnerships are forged in country programming that entails identification of a country’s priority areas, project preparation process at both design, development and implementation level and country preparation for the GCF process.

With continuous engagement, country ownership is facilitated and made a reality.

In the just concluded 17th Board Meeting of the Green Climate Fund, Country Ownership was laid emphasis on.

It was within the agenda as ‘Country Ownership Guidelines’ and was as well discussed. The Country Ownership Guidelines document had been presented to the board multiple times and its presentation in BM 17 with no much difference in comparison to the earlier version was of disappointment with CSO communicating that it ‘re-stated what already exists’.

The GCF board decided to include country ownership in the proposal and project activity cycle where the GCF Secretariat upon receiving a concept note from an accredited entity would request that the focal point or NDA confirm that the presented concept note is within the country’s national priorities and country ownership.

With this therefore, the process of proposal or concept note development is envisaged to facilitate country ownership. Moreover, the board as well adopted the Country ownership guidelines.

Though adopted, more work is still to be done on the guidelines to ensure that country ownership is mandatory, that it does not stop at government ownership only but reflects a broader stakeholder ownership, the NDA or focal point take lead of this process and as well a system of evaluation of the country ownership is in place.

Africa needs to embrace country ownership for sustainability of climate change work supported by the GCF and as well access the financing for climate actions.

By Julius Karanja Mbatia,

GCF Fellow of the CSO GCF Readiness Project Fellowship Programme

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Lisa Kamau
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