Current GCF Financing Model Not Working for Africa: Bold Call for Transformation

Published on 13th March 2024

This Statement outlines key concerns and perspectives of the Non-State Actors, under the convenorship of the Pan African Climate Justice Alliance on the state at play at GCF and about its effectiveness in addressing the priority needs of African countries.

Released at a time when the Green Climate Fund (GCF) board in Kigali, Rwanda is holding its meeting (March 4 –7, 2024), it examines the current model of GCF financing and its effectiveness in Africa and its verdict is damning – It's not working! The Non-State Actors in Africa express deep concerns regarding the current state of affairs.

Disappointed by the low levels of funding in Africa compared to the rest of the developing countries and that GCF funding has been trickling down at a snail's pace, deepening the climate crisis and preventing the countries from embarking on low carbon and climate-resilient development.

Concerned by the GCF's failure to provide relevant readiness support to African countries at scale, and the significant challenges faced by African countries in developing robust project proposals to meet the GCF's stringent criteria for additionally, climate rationale, transformational impact, and alignment with national priorities.

Further noting the limited scope of the readiness fund which is available largely to governments, accredited entities and applicant entities; a scope that does not consider the leadership of Nonstate Actors in climate action and enhanced accountability through monitoring of the programme portfolio of GCF.

Alarmed by the glaring lapses in accountability of GCF in Africa and projects funded by GCF and their inability to meet expected accountability standards and the weak oversight mechanisms.

Noting that GCF is working on a false assumption of partners (National Designated Authority, Access Entities, Direct Access Entities) of having the capacity to facilitate a consultative and participatory climate change programming, which is not the case

Concerned that the top-down approach of results management by GCF is not aligned with locally led climate adaptation principles, Deeply concerned by the fact that access to climate finance whether through direct or indirect mechanisms is not working for African countries and that bureaucratic and highly technocratic processes that add no value make the process lengthy and create complexities that deter smaller organizations and communities from accessing GCF support raising concerns about fairness and accountability among stakeholder’s, contrary to the intent of the fund.

Deeply Appalled by the fact that a substantial portion of the GCF funding is channelled through a select few large multilateral entities, perpetuating a cycle of global inequality and marginalization of locally developed solutions and that this trend not only undermines the principles of equity and inclusivity but also limits the capacity of grassroots initiatives and community-led projects to address climate challenges effectively.

Considering the declaration by GCF to develop an ambitious and concrete plan to enhance access to CF must consider African countries' debt context so as not to worsen the situation by way of availing more of loans as climate finance.

Taking note of the gaps in the much-touted direct access window that is not working for African countries and is a mere repackaging of the earlier existing mechanisms without conferring due advantages to other organizations, beyond those accredited to access climate finance With GCF conspicuously missing a clear framework for the engagement of communities and civil societies and further noting that there is no accountability expectations on the part of the National Designated Authorities on the way they should engage with the communities.

Noting the Power asymmetry that characterizes consultations among key stakeholders in GCF projects including remotely placed powerful corporates, and government entities that make it impossible for CSOs and even governments to engage institutions that are grantees for GCF.

Disturbed that after nearly 14 years of GCF existence, there has not been bold intent to develop independent and strong oversight mechanisms beyond those provided under multilateralism, which are not only deficient but also incipient in design and ideology Excited by the prospects of the growing resource base of the GCF, with the GCF’s second replenishment (GCF-2) as of December 2023, having attracted 31 countries who pledged support to a total of USD 12.8 billion[1] over the next four years, a significant increase in funding commitment that should transform both the position and the conditions of the most impacted by climate change.

In the spirit of breaking away from the silence and global conspiracy against communities that are most impacted by climate change that has characterized the delivery of GCF funds and its programmes in Africa.

A.Call on the GCF Secretariat to:

Develop a holistic, accountable and transformative framework of engagement with African nonstate actors, CSOs and Communities most impacted by climate change in the continent, beyond the observer status space

1.a. Strengthen the stakeholder engagement strategy to tap on the host of climate governance civil societies prevalent in the continent to develop and facilitate their leadership in promoting greater accountabilities for all the funds disbursed by GCF in respective countries, through linkages and holding in-depth structured dialogues to unpack the purpose of the funds

b. Institutionalize frameworks for conversations/dialogue among the GCF, its grantees, communities at the frontline of the climate crisis and non-state actors rather than avoiding communities and CSOs which is the current practice of the GCF

2. Strengthen Communities and CSO Oversight Mechanisms on the GCF regarding:

a. Expand the role of civil society organizations (CSOs) to include active participation in project planning, implementation, monitoring, evaluation and reporting.

b. Directly facilitate oversight and accountability actions by Civil society organizations and communities to enhance their watchdog role across all GCF projects and programs

c. Mainstream CSOs monitoring and evaluation processes to the GCF field monitoring visits carried out by the Independent Evaluation Unit ensure comprehensive and impactful monitoring by the monitoring unit of the GCF

3)Reforming National Designated Authorities (NDAs):

a. Define a holistic and inclusive representation of agencies, including communities and Civil societies in the overall governance of the national space that is meant to vet and accredit entities for purposes of accessing GCF

b. Foster partnerships with non-governmental organizations, faith actors, women and youth movements, academia, and the private sector to leverage additional expertise, infrastructure and resources for GCF projects.

c. Develop guidelines that enhance the application of inclusive and participatory approaches on the part of NDAs in project identification, selection, and implementation to ensure the alignment of GCF-funded activities with national priorities and strategies.

d. Provide technical assistance and capacity-building support to national and local governments to enhance their capacity to manage and implement climate projects effectively.

B. Call on the GCF Board to:

4) Secure the interests of the frontline communities through monitoring progress on the implementation of Locally Led Adaptation Principles:

a. Call on the GCF to demonstrate progress towards adoption and action in implementing the principles of locally-led adaptation action in all their projects and programmes that interphase with communities in Africa

b. Demand from all GCF Grantees clear documentation that demonstrates the mechanisms put in place by the grantee to strengthen the decision-making power of the local communities in project design and implementation.

c. GCF should urgently develop clear targets for annual scale up of funding to address the increasing impacts of climate change on vulnerable communities and ecosystems in Africa

5) Beyond the establishment of a Direct Access window, create a distinct window for communities and civil societies:

a. As a matter of urgency, design a distinct direct access window for the submission and review of proposals from local communities and African CSOs to address inequality and injustices that has hitherto characterized the fund.

b. Ensure that such a mechanism is not subject to accreditation and vetting process at the national level through government entities that characterize existing funding arrangements

c. Streamline the accreditation process for DAEs to reduce barriers to entry and promote greater inclusivity in accessing GCF resources while promoting decentralized decision-making processes within DAEs to ensure that funding decisions reflect the priorities and needs of frontline communities.

6)Consideration of Debt Implications of GCF Funding:

a. GCF should conduct thorough assessments of the potential debt implications of their projects on recipient countries, particularly those with limited financial resources.

b. Develop financing mechanisms that minimize the risk of debt distress such as providing grants and not loans to ensure that climate funds contribute to sustainable development without burdening recipient countries with additional debt.

C. Call on UNFCCC to:

1) Work with the UNFCCC and governments across Africa to ensure multilateralism requirements do not impede the delivery of climate finance at the frontline at the speed and scale required.

2) Call on accelerated review of the current model for access to advance a frame model that works for Africa– we cannot continue a business model that is not working for Africa

The Africa Climate Summit – Non-State Actors Steering Committee (ACS-NSA) is a Platform that strives for the advancement of a pro-African agenda in all key climate spaces. With its Secretariat supported by PACJA, and organized into clusters, the ACS-NSA draws its members drawn from regional CSOs, Indigenous People, Faith Actors, Trade Unions, African Private Sector, Farmer Organizations, Women and Gender Constituencies, Academia and Research Institutions, Foundations and Finance Institutions, organizations working on Conservation and Nature Based Solutions or Youth organization.

Courtesy:  Pan African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA)


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