‘Empowering Countries To Be Masters Of Their Own Development’: COP 22 GCF Readiness Programme Side Event


COP 22 Marrakech
Climate change is being felt across the world, but its often-devastating effects are far from homogenous. While some countries are seeing increased rainfall, others are experiencing prolonged droughts; landslides ravage towns in mountainous regions, while rising water levels threaten island nations. The diversity of its effects highlight the importance of ensuring that all efforts to fight climate change are similarly tailored to a country’s specific needs, and that each county is supported to lead and design its own climate change interventions.  

This was the central message at the Green Climate Fund Readiness Programme’s Side Event at the COP 22 event in Marrakech, Morocco in November 2016. The event, co-organised with the GIZ Climate Finance Readiness Programme, brought together country representatives from National Designated Authorities and accredited entities, GCF
Board and Secretariat representatives and Government of Germany representatives on a technical panel to share experiences and lessons from countries that have already begun the process of the applying to the Green Climate Fund for support to new and existing climate change projects.

Zaheer Fakir, Green Climate Fund Board Co-chair from South Africa’s Department of Environmental Affairs, provided opening remarks. He reiterated that readiness was not merely about capacity building, but rather about: “building domestic institutions to be crafters of good quality portfolios”. Core to this was ensuring that all initiatives, whether they relate to project development, delivery, monitoring; or assessment of public and private financial expenditure on climate change, were nationally owned and led. He said the key to successful climate change interventions was “helping and empowering developing countries to be the masters of their own development”.

Representatives from Tajikistan, Ghana, Colombia, Kenya and Peru also discussed their country experiences accessing the GCF. Foster Gyamfi, Economics Officer from Ghana’s National Designated Authority, the Ministry of Finance, stressed the importance of engaging all stakeholders to consult on the development of projects, including NGOs, national development planning bodies and relevant line ministries.

Silvia Calderón, Deputy Director for Sustainable Environmental Development in Colombia’s National Designated Authority, the Departamento Nacional de Planeación, provided an overview of Colombia’s national climate change strategy, highlighting the importance of prioritizing climate finance within this, and also outlined Colombia’s decision to look beyond the GCF for both domestic and other external sources of climate finance. Colombia’s experience particularly resonated with delegates from Nepal, who attended the side event.  

Wangare Kirumba from Kenya’s National Environment Management Authority, a national accredited entity, stressed the importance of careful planning, budgeting, leadership and coordination within an institution during the accreditation application process. She also said flexibility and innovation were important attributes, as this allowed the institution to manage unforeseen challenges through the process. Another important lesson for her, she said, was being open to learning from stakeholders; recognizing them as people or organisations with specific areas of expertise that the institution could learn from.

This was supported by Alberto Paniagua, Executive Director, Profonanpe, a national accredited entity from Peru. He said his institution found it had to adjust to the requirements of this “interactive process”, creating new bodies within the institution and developing new procedures and policies. He said flexibility among board members and managers was crucial to the success of this.

The resounding message from all panelists at this event was that efforts made at the ‘readiness’ phase pay dividends; clear plans and focused preparation enabled countries to take the driving seat in what they wanted to achieve with Green Climate Fund investments, thus increasing the sustainability of such projects. Inclusion of all key stakeholders was also paramount, as was systematic awareness raising among both stakeholders and a country’s citizens.