In the climate finance arena, the Adaptation Fund (AF) has pioneered direct access - an access modality that allows developing countries to receive funds for project and program implementation directly without going through an international organization such as multilateral development banks (MDBs) or UN agencies acting as an intermediary. The international accreditation in 2010 of the Centre de Suivi Ecologique (CSE) in Senegal marked a milestone for the debate on channeling climate finance. The accreditation and subsequent approval of the first direct access project in a least developed country (LDC) in Africa – which Senegal is – offered a new narrative, which assumes that some national structures, even in poor countries, have the capacity to meet international best practice standards in managing funds and are able to submit tangible projects in the adaptation field.
To date, six national implementing entities (NIEs) in Africa have commenced the process of programming direct access funding domestically; moreover domestic climate funds (DCFs) in several African countries are similarly grappling with this challenge. These combined experiences provide rich lessons, useful for a decisive phase in the global climate finance architecture - determining how the provision of innovative financing mechanisms and direct access funding instruments will work in practice and allowing inferences about how direct access can be programmed more broadly.
The lessons learnt regarding challenges and enabling factors during accreditation, project development and approval, as well as project implementation can be used to strengthen support processes for the accreditation of future NIEs to the AF and also to the Green Climate Fund (GCF). This is increasingly relevant as the AF continues to operate and constantly expands its African portfolio, while the Green Climate Fund (GCF) is now close to funding operations with the aim to initiate a paradigm shift in climate policy.
The aim of this report, which was commissioned through the Climate and Development Knowledge Network (CDKN), the Heinrich Böll Stiftung (HBS) and SouthSouth North and co-authored by Germanwatch and the Heinrich Böll Stiftung, is to support the debates in climate finance – from the AF to the GCF – by providing insights into the processes of programming climate finance domestically. It looks particularly at the respective roles that the currently six existing African NIEs (NE-MA-Kenya, SANBI-South Africa, CSE-Senegal, MINIRENA-Rwanda, ADA-Morocco and FNE-Benin) play, but also at the contributions of other actors such as multinational implementing entities (MIEs) as well as domestic climate funds.
The report followed a multi-day workshop co-hosted by the Heinrich Böll Stiftung Southern Africa office in early Juli in Nairobi, Kenya, which brought administrators from NIEs, domestic climate funds, several MIEs and representatives of the Secretariat of the Adaptation Fund Board together to discuss lessons learnt for domestic project implementation and the role of national implementing entities.