The provision of predictable and adequate finance is critical if developing countries are going to make meaningful progress in enhancing their resilience to adverse climate impacts and reducing carbon emissions. Direct access to climate finance is particularly important for such countries as it allows them some flexibility and control over project selection, project management and financial administration.
From 18 – 20 May 2015, accredited National implementing entities (NIEs) of the Adaptation Fund (AF) in Southern Africa, domestic funds, civil society organisations (CSOs), institutions wishing to gain accreditation with the AF, and several international bodies working on climate finance such as the German Corporation for International Cooperation (GIZ), the Green Climate Fund (GCF), and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Secretariat convened at the Kalahari Sands Hotel in Windhoek, Namibia for a three day regional dialogue on direct access to climate finance. The workshop was hosted by Namibia’s recently accredited NIE, the Desert Research Foundation of Namibia (DRFN) with support from the Heinrich Boll Stiftung “Foundation” (HBS) and the AF Board Secretariat. The workshop gathered representatives from ten Southern African countries (Botswana, Kenya, Malawi, Madagascar, Mauritius, Mozambique, South Africa, Tanzania, Zimbabwe, and Zambia) and international experts on climate finance, and particularly on direct access.
While a few challenges remain that limit the ability of developing countries to access climate finance (mostly to do with capacity building, information management an compliance with international fiduciary standards and social and environmental safeguards) and see a proliferation of their involvement in the programming of such funds, workshop participants largely agreed that there are huge benefits of going through an accreditation process to access public finance for climate change activities from international sources. These benefits greatly outweigh the effort of going through a stringent accreditation and project approval process and include strategic institutional reform and the presence of a strong institution signalling readiness to access a number of international funds, enhanced transparency and accountability, strengthened in-country collaboration between multiple stakeholders including between government agencies/departments and a reinforced national commitment towards climate action. The meeting also re-emphasised the critical role that national designated authorities (NDAs) play in the selection of national and sub-national implementing entities and intermediaries to be accredited in-country and in the collaboration of multiple stakeholders as well as in aligning the financing of climate projects to national priorities and policies.