Regional Workshop on Climate Finance: Direct Access for West Africa
In continuation of building capacity of developing countries to adequately access global climate finance, the Kyoto Protocol Adaptation Fund (AF) in partnership with the Green Climate Fund (GCF), the ECOWAS Commission and the Heinrich Boll Foundation (HBF) organised a three day Readiness Programme Regional Climate Finance workshop for the West Africa sub-region, held from 21 - 23 September 2015 in Abuja Nigeria. It was the ninth workshop of the Readiness Programme and the third in the African region, organized specifically for the ECOWAS Member States as a platform for sharing experiences, learning and open dialogue. It was further aimed to enhance confidence and capacity of institutions by providing important lessons for existing and potential implementing entities specifically under the Adaptation Fund (AF) and the Green Climate Fund (GCF) with a view to increase their uptake capacity for global climate finance such as the AF and GCF. The Regional workshop was declared open by Mrs Nana Fatima Mede, Permanent Secretary (PS), Federal Ministry of Environment Nigeria on behalf of the Nigerian Government. The PS welcomed the esteemed delegates especially those that came from outside Nigeria to Abuja, the home of unity. She expressed that Nigeria feels highly honoured to have been chosen to host the workshop. The PS further reiterated that, the scourge resulting from the impact of climate change in Africa and especially in West Africa is further worsened by the poor state of economic development and low adaptive capacity. Therefore, for the sub-region in particular, adaptation is a key concern and will require substantial funding, especially that adaptation to climate change is a complex and multi faceted issue that presents a number of challenges, particularly for the developing world. Developing countries therefore need international assistance and resources to support adaptation in the context of national planning for sustainable development, capacity building and transfer of technology. She stated that, Parties to the UNFCCC established the Adaptation Fund to finance concrete adaptation projects and programmes in developing countries that are Parties to Kyoto Protocol and that are particularly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, and allow direct access to the fund. The Green Climate Fund (GCF) was established to become the main global fund for financing climate change mitigation and adaptation measures in developing countries in the coming years. As such, it is expected to channel significant amounts of funding required to support developing countries to adapt to the impacts of climate change and to limit or reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. However, despite these laudable structures, access to these funds has still remained minimal in the West African sub-region, she stated. That this challenge could be attributed probably, due to the convoluted access modalities that has led to apathy on the part of would-be entities, low institutional capacity to scale accreditation hurdles, understanding and aligning the working relations of national implementing entities with the government’s project approval process; procurement policy, fund disbursement policy and process, as well as issues of Environment Social Management Plan. She therefore, welcomed the workshop with hope that it will further enhance the understanding of the modalities for accessing the AF and GCF as well as serve as a platform to interface with institutions and experts to support up scaling of the funds in the sub region. The PS also welcomed the on going efforts to establish potential linkages and synergy between the Adaptation Fund and the Green Climate Fund which should streamline accreditation of implementing entities, benefit from comparative advantages of each of the funds including innovative practices, most notably the direct access modality, streamlined and efficient project cycle, result-based project implementation and disbursement, enhanced transparency as well as appropriately channel resources to the most needed vulnerable communities. She concluded her remark by thanking the joint organizers of the workshop (Adaptation Fund, Green Climate Fund, Henrich Boll Foundation, and the ECOWAS Commission) for their cooperation and shared responsibilities. In the same vein she also appreciated the participants, institutions and resource persons who were present for their time and invited them to find time out of their schedule to enjoy the scenery and beauty of Abuja City. Welcoming remarks were also made by representatives of the organising partners. Over seventy participants including resource persons were in attendance. Several technical presentations were made including group works and interaction clinics.