GCF readiness efforts in the Caribbean: Learning from practice

Source(s): Acclimatise

A new learning paper by Acclimatise provides an insight on the lessons learnt from implementing Green Climate Fund (GCF) Readiness projects in the Caribbean and aims to inform future Readiness efforts in the region or globally.

The Caribbean is particularly vulnerable to the effects of climate change with many island nations and coastal communities facing rising sea levels and more extreme and frequent weather events. The GCF is well-positioned to help the Caribbean alleviate climate-induced impacts by providing funding to build Readiness, invest in high-impact projects and develop the capacity of the small island developing states (SIDS) to collectively address and tackle some of the biggest issues in the region. This paper seeks to build the knowledge base of how the Caribbean can successfully build capacity in the region by informing future efforts on GCF readiness, making aware the challenges that are unique to the region and continuing to help Caribbean countries battle the effects of climate change.

Authored by our own Virginie Fayolle, the learning paper titled “Capacity Building of the National Designated Authority (NDA) and Preparation of Country Strategic Framework – Belize, The Bahamas and Guyana”, discusses the key success factors and challenges of meeting the learning outcomes set out by the Delivery Partner, the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC), as well as the lessons learnt from delivering readiness projects across the Caribbean, particularly in Belize, The Bahamas and Guyana. Valuable inputs and feedback from the CCCCC team were provided.

Across the three countries, there were a number of successes and challenges which can inform future readiness efforts. Early and inclusive engagement efforts with national stakeholders, strong coordination and collaboration between NDAs and UNFCCC focal points (if both are not under the same ministry), and a strong emphasis on capacity building and hand-holding of the NDA and existing/potential project proponents had led to a more informed country dialogue and promoted buy-in in the identification of the country’s GCF investment priorities. In addition, the convening power of the NDA and broader awareness-raising activities were critical in mobilising a more diverse group of stakeholders through the readiness activities, including amongst non-governmental and non-expert stakeholder groups (e.g. private sector). However, human and technical capacity within the NDA teams, limited representation of non-governmental stakeholders during the readiness consultation and engagement activities (such as indigenous peoples, women’s associations or private sector) were key challenges faced throughout the readiness activities with adverse implications in terms of their engagement downstream in the subsequent design, financing and implementation phases of GCF projects and programmes.. In most countries, project pipelines are often immature, and this is often exacerbated by the complexities and high upfront costs of completing funding applications. The timeline and budget for the delivery of the readiness activities are often underestimated and do not consider the frequent changes in GCF policies and procedures, lengthy feedback time, as well as uncertainties linked to ongoing country institutional changes.

As a result, the recommendations for the CCCCC and its role as the Delivery Partner for GCF Readiness, as well as for future readiness efforts in the region, include:

  1. Increased focus on the long-term sustainability of capacity-building activities (such as strengthening national institutions to become GCF-accredited) by investing time in the initial stages, building credibility with partners, and developing the pipeline of investment-grade projects,
  2. Strengthening human capacity, particularly new skills and expertise, within NDAs so they are well-informed to make swift decisions on appraising concept notes and/or funding proposals, continue professional development of staff, and better coordinate GCF-related activities within the region and/or country,
  3. Ensuring sufficient resources for outreach and communication activities so as to gain traction with new audiences, develop a social media presence for the dissemination of relevant updates about the NDA and GCF funding opportunities,
  4. Setting a realistic timeframe and budget for the delivery of the readiness support considering impactingfactorssuch as frequent GCF policy changes, potential election periods or uncertainties in countries from institutional changes, and
  5. Capturing and disseminating best practices and lessons learnt from the implementation of country-level readiness efforts such as the no-objection procedure or country programme to further strengthen the knowledge foundation that future efforts can build off of.
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