As the Green Climate Fund (GCF) undergoes its second replenishment and prepares for its next four-year programming period (2024-2027), the Fund held Scaling Up Access and Impact on 4 December where the future direction for the Fund was presented. At GCF’s COP28 flagship side event, GCF Executive Director Mafalda Duarte mapped out how the Fund plans to enhance greater availability, affordability, and access to climate financing for its developing country partners.
In her keynote address, delivered to an estimated 150-person standing room only audience, Duarte presented her blueprint, which will enable GCF to manage USD 50 billion, efficiently, and impactfully, by 2030. Referring to the plan as “50by30,” she highlighted the organisation’s priority areas over the next six years in order to make 50by30 achievable, which includes maximising private sector investments, reaching the most vulnerable people and communities, simplifying GCF’s project approval process, and reinventing GCF’s partnership and operations model.
“The emphasis of the 50by30 vision will be on the most vulnerable people, including those in fragile and conflict-affected states; mobilisation of private sector capital, particularly within the vulnerable countries and regions themselves; simplification of access to the Fund; and country ownership,” said Duarte.
Her keynote address followed welcome remarks from UN Climate Change Executive Secretary Simon Stiell. “Finance is the great enabler of climate action. Providing grant funding for developing countries allows them to mitigate and adapt to climate change through projects on the ground. Finance helps developing countries build ambition into their Nationally Determined Contributions and National Adaptation Plans,” he said.
A panel, composed of GCF partners from government, private sector, and civil society representatives, provided comments on their experiences of working with GCF. They included: H.E. Kwaku Afriyie, Minister of Environment, Science, Technology, and Innovation, Ghana; Helen Magata, Coordinator, Climate and Biodiversity Program, Climate and Biodiversity Program, Tebtebba and Member of GCF’s Indigenous Peoples Advisory Group (IPAG); H.E. Andrew Mitchell, Minister of State in the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO), United Kingdom; and Samaila Zubairu, President and CEO of Africa Finance Corporation (AFC).
Opening the panel segment, the UK Minister of State in the FCDO Andrew Mitchell recognised the critical role of GCF in the collective efforts to tackle climate change. He said, “The UK has been a strong supporter of the Fund since its inception, and our pledge of USD 2 billion for GCF’s second replenishment, 13 per cent larger than our previous contribution, is the single biggest funding commitment the UK has ever made in the struggle against climate change.”
Ghana Minister of Environment, Science, Technology, and Innovation Kwaku Afriyie followed up by emphasizing the Fund’s approach to climate finance: “GCF’s efforts are deeply rooted in country programming which ensures that funds are invested according to each nation’s unique challenges and contribute to their climate prosperity.”
AFC President and CEO Samaila Zubairu highlighted the cooperation between AFC and GCF in the Infrastructure Climate Resilient Fund (ICRF), of which AFC is a GCF accredited entity and implementing partner for ICRF. “The work we do together in the ICRF, allow us to de-risk investments and credit enhance investors from the private sector, such as local African pension funds, for climate investments in our communities. It is very important to see that the work we are doing is not only to fund projects, but also to catalyse private sector financial flows for climate action, ” said Zubairu.
Tebtebba Coordinator and Member of GCF’s Indigenous Peoples Advisory Group (IPAG), Helen Magata, welcomed GCF channeling more funds towards the most vulnerable and took note that “… while enhancing speed of access to funds is important, it should not compromise safeguards for Indigenous Peoples.” GCF has robust, ambitious, and inclusive sets of policies on gender and Indigenous Peoples, which enables GCF programming to reach the most vulnerable.