At the 9th Board meeting of the GCF (Green Climate Fund) in South Korea, the Board completed the final step in opening the door to the Fund. First seven implementing entities were accredited – a process led by political rush to approve first funding proposals by October and marked by criticism from civil society on the lack of transparency in the process.
Between 24-26 March the GCF held its 9th meeting of the Board in Songdo, South Korea. Late into the night of the second day, the Board reached a rather pressing conclusion and accredited the first package of national, regional and international Implementing Entities (IEs). This step creates the foundation for Fund’s operationalization and opens the door to first funding proposals.
IEs can be public or private legal entities, which will have a critical role in funded projects and programs. They will have the responsibility to supervise project implementation throughout the whole cycle. That includes submitting the funding proposals, screening them in line with Fund’s interim environmental and social safeguards and transferring funds from the Fund to executing entities implementing projects.
IEs differentiate along many lines. Firstly, based on the level of operation, they can access funding through two different access modalities subjected to different assessment methodologies. Subnational regional and national entities use direct access track, while international entities apply through international access to attain Fund’s resources. Secondly, the GCF provides fast-track accreditation to those entities that have been up to the time of Board decision already accredited by Adaptation Fund, Global Environment Facility (GEF) or Directorate-General Development and Cooperation – EuropeAid of the European Commission (EU DEVCO). Fast-track provides a speed up process allowing to refrain from double checking certain requirements.
Out of 41 entities that have submitted accreditation applications, the package of first 7 includes two national (Centre de Suivi Ecologique from Senegal, PROFONANPE from Peru) two regional (Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme, Acumen) and three international entities (Asian Development Bank (ADB), German Development Bank (KfW) and UNDP). Six out of these have been fast-tracked, five under the Adaptation Fund and 1 under EU DEVCO.
The accreditation process was accompanied by strong critic from the civil society over the lack of transparency. Unlike the Board members, in the current process civil society was not informed of applicants’ identity, even at the time of the Board decision. This is not in line with best practice, e.g. of Adaptation Fund, where such information is disclosed in advance of the Board meeting. Stakeholders neither had any insight on the status of applications that are under review. Furthermore, they had no information on how the assessment of proposals was conducted. This built a blank wall in attempt to provide meaningful input from stakeholders on entities and their track records.
Due to political pressure to speed up the process, the accreditation was finalized by giving a stamp of approval to the whole batch of seven, rather than discussing the applicants.
Shutting the window on input from civil society is not in line with ‘accountability, transparency and fairness’, the guiding principles of accreditation process. The anonymity of applicants and non-transparency of assessment methodologies in the process do not only fail to represent best practice but provide a bad precedent for future accreditation processes.