Getting Ready For The GCF: Ghana Gears Up To Access Climate Financing


Due to its dependence on agriculture, Ghana is particularly vulnerable to the effects of climate change. The country has already begun seeing an increase in extreme weather events; droughts and rising water levels threaten to ravage both its hydro-power supplies and coastal communities. Recognizing the urgent need to strengthen climate resilience, the Government of Ghana (GoG) made significant progress in 2016 towards turning its Paris Agreement commitments into a reality for its citizens.

In April, Ghana was one of 170 countries to sign the Paris Agreement on Climate Change to keep global warming below two degrees Celsius. Ghana pledged to integrate climate change adaptation and mitigation measures into its Ghana Shared Growth and Development Agenda II.

Since then, Ghana has not only identified two national institutions for accreditation to the Green Climate Fund, beginning the process of accessing funding to improve climate resilience, but has also introduced a series of innovative approaches to widen the range of national stakeholders that could play a part in ensuring the country achieves its climate change objectives. These include establishing a climate finance tracking system, intended to track public finance expenditure on climate change and enable institutions to report accurately on climate-related expenditure; encouraging the private sector to adopt pro-business climate change models; and promoting the expansion of the use of ‘climate smart’ technologies at the community level.

Workshop to identify national institutions for accreditation to the Green Climate Fund in Ghana

With the support of the Green Climate Fund Readiness Programme, the GoG identified two national entities to seek accreditation to the GCF: Ecobank Ghana Limited from the private sector, and Social Investment Fund, a public institution that provides targeted assistance to Ghana’s urban and rural impoverished communities. Following this, the Readiness Programme supported the government to develop projects for submission to the GCF. A total of 19 project ideas were considered, but were narrowed down to two on the basis of national climate goals and the GCF’s investment criteria: one focusing on sustainable energy access and another focusing on resilient landscapes. The former aims to expand an existing pilot rooftop solar power project to reach 200,000 households over five years and provide solar powered irrigation to smallholder farms. The latter aims to introduce and expand sustainable land management practices in the three regions in northern Ghana.

Additionally, to support the newly appointed National Designated Authority, the Real Sector Division under the Ministry of Finance, in its crucial role of guiding relevant government institutions in implementing such projects, UN Environment and UNDP helped develop a manual that outlines roles and responsibilities in accessing the GCF. Rather than holding a one-off workshop, a conscious decision was made to invest in this longer-term approach, pre-empting the possible loss of institutional memory due to staff turnover.

In August of 2016, Ghana also commenced the development of a climate finance monitoring, reporting and verification system, designed to enable the government to accurately measure how much financing (both public and private) has come in, what it has been used for, how it was delivered and what impact it has had. This, together with the climate finance tracking system, provides a crucial step towards understanding where the greatest need for financial support lies.

While 2016 was a year of positive progress towards creating a more climate resilient Ghana, this momentum will be built on in 2017.