As the ninth meeting of the Green Climate Fund Board takes place in Songdo, Korea, CDKN asks Ken Kinney, Executive Director of The Development Institute, Ghana, how the Fund can enable the most promising climate compatible development initiatives in his country. In this response, Dr Kinney says more support is needed to help national and subnational institutions become ‘climate finance ready’:    

“Communities vulnerable to climate change across the developing world have high expectations from international support to help them become more resilient to climate change impacts. Although the last two decades have been characterised by unfulfilled promises and commitments by developed countries, these communities are hopeful that the multilateral process under UNFCCC that gave birth to the Green Climate Fund (GCF) is the way to deliver fairness and justice for them.

The 9th GCF board meeting in Songdo, South Korea, is characterised by an ambitious agenda. The GCF board needs to ensure all steps are taken for the fund to start disbursing money by the end of this year, 2015. Most developing countries especially in Africa where climate change is expected to devastate the livelihoods of the poor and reverse development ironically do not seem to be fully ready to receive funds – especially from the GCF. Some, like my own country Ghana, are yet to set up the needed institutions and processes.

While the GCF board meeting will be geared towards readiness for the first round of approvals in 2015, this process is not in tandem with the internal processes of developing countries. Ghana like most African countries does not seem to be ready to grasp this opportunity. It does not yet have in place the critical structures for facilitating GCF funds to flow; Ghana’s national designated authority (NDA) or focal point is yet to be chosen. Another challenge is the selection of national implementing entities (NIEs): the opportunity exists to already select these and lead them through the GCF accreditation process, but Ghana is not there yet.

Readiness and preparatory support could be obtained from the GCF, with the possibility of ensuring local non-governmental organisations or private sector companies benefit from support to stand a chance in their application to the GCF, but the formulation of a proposal to the GCF – again—is slow.  Readiness support is a chance offered by the GCF to address exactly the capacity gap Ghana is struggling with.

What are the expectations of climate-affected communities in Ghana? They are seeking to strengthen their resilience and increase their control over their environment and productive resources. For example, many poor rural communities in Ghana could use a better natural infrastructure along water bodies, by afforesting and restoring hill sides and more adequate land use planning. This would protect them from erosion during heavy storms and significantly reduce siltation of rivers and dams. External financing could also be used in Ghana to fund the transfer of renewable energy technologies to harness wind and solar energy. This would provide more reliable energy to communities.

The GCF Board needs to work with countries like Ghana: countries where the needs for climate finance are great, but the institutional frameworks are not ready. The worst mistake would be to circumvent national institutions by calling in multilateral institutions or the international private sector. Any sustainable climate change solution needs to work with local structures and partners and strengthen them. Given the legitimate expectations of communities described above, multi-stakeholder participation and getting local actors at the table is key in this process.”

Occasionally, Climate Finance Ready invites guest bloggers from around the world to share their views. The opinions expressed are those of the authors alone, and not necessarily those of the Climate Finance Ready editorial team or of the sponsoring institutions, Adaptation Fund and CDKN.


Image: kernels, courtesy CIAT.