By Ochieng’ Ogodo
The African Development Bank (AfDB), in collaboration with Vivid Economics, has come up with a report making concrete proposals to help facilitate access by African countries to the Green Climate Fund.
Launched on the sidelines of the UN climate change conference (COP18) in Doha 26 November to 7 December, the “Getting Africa Ready for the Green Climate Fund” report strongly put forward a series of recommendations for the Green Climate Fund board and African nations that will increase the possibility of African countries accessing increased flows of climate finance from this source, with the support of the AfDB.
“African countries are not fully prepared to effectively benefit from all the possibilities the Green Climate Fund might allow”, said Anthony Nyong, AfDB’s manager in charge of Safeguards and Compliance in a press release.
“This report, he said, highlights actions that will help African countries overcome those challenges, with adequate assistance from the African Development Bank.”
The report, drawing from experiences of existing funds, has identified a number of key steps for African countries to maximise the possibilities that comes by the GCF.
“While the GCF might provide domestic institutions greater responsibility and accountability for flows of public climate finance raised from international sources, the existing experience of direct access demonstrates that many countries, including some in Africa, have had challenges in realising the opportunities provided by direct access,” said John Ward, from Vivid Economics.
The report has listed ten actions on the board that should be triggered to better meet African countries’ needs. These include capacity building resources being fast-tracked while more difficult design aspects of the GCF are reviewed.
The report also makes a very strong case for direct access and project applications to be processed and evaluated in many languages, including French as opposed to the current situation in which applications for the Adaptation Fund, another global climate finance mechanism of the UNFCCC, can only be done only in English.
Where English is not the first language,” the report says, it puts off some countries from even applying. About Some 200 million people who are most vulnerable to climate change on the continent do not have English as a main language. The GCF can learn from this.
The report also strongly encourages African countries to prepare credible, robust pipeline of funding opportunities derived from national or regional green growth or climate change action plan.
Another key recommendation is that African countries take early steps to prepare the infrastructure needed to access the GCF, and each country will have to establish a Designated Authority as the focal point for interaction with the GCF.
The report also invites African countries to build a cross-departmental dialogue, on the opportunities provided by direct access, but also engaging with civil society and the private sector and, as appropriate, link this to broader fiscal reform processes.
The report has identified six areas of action for the AfDB as a way of helping African countries overcome all those challenges. “The African Development Bank can play an important role in enhancing direct access to the GCF by African countries”, says the report.
It recommends that the AfDB puts a strong emphasis on supporting the capacity of the national bodies, before and after accreditation. “An often missed point is that this capacity building support may be required even after accreditation of a national body”, notes the report.
The AfDB, the report says, should also support the development of Africa-specific climate change growth action plans.
Ochieng’ Ogodo is a Nairobi based journalist whose works have been published in various parts of the world including Africa, the US and Europe. He is the English-speaking Africa and Middle East region winner for the 2008 Reuters-IUCN Media Awards for Excellence in Environmental Reporting. He is the chairman of the Kenya Environment and Science Journalists Association. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com