Adaptation Funding Milestone

Two weeks ago, an historic milestone in international climate policy was achieved when the Adaptation Fund Board made ‘direct access’ for developing countries a reality. With the accreditation of the first National Implementing Entity, the Centre de Suivi Ecologique from Senegal, for the first time in the history of international climate policy, a developing country receiving funds directly from a multi- lateral funding source without needing to go through Multilateral Implementing Entities like the World Bank or UNDP. While the latter option remains open, direct access increases the sense of owner- ship and responsibility of developing countries.  And while, as yet this is a nearly unique arrangement in the international funding Landscape, it is all the more welcome a development for that reason. In designing its direct access approach, the Adaptation Fund Board built on lessons from the Global Fund to Fight HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, the only other example of direct access. (Interestingly, the USA has been the largest contributor to the Global Fund even from the time of the Bush administration). The rules developed by the Adaptation Fund Board will ensure that key fiduciary management standards are being met. This shows that direct access can be combined with effective safeguards.  Furthermore, this approach advances the principles agreed in the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness and the Accra Agenda, both of which are hailed by developed countries. Finally, the direct access approach of the Adaptation Fund now provides a concrete example for the overall debate on financial architecture for international climate response. Two other aspects highlight the work of the Adaptation Fund Board: the adoption of a strategic priority directing developing countries to give special attention to their most vulnerable communities when they submit project and programme proposals, and a very transparent working atmosphere, including live meeting webcasts and a facility to publicly comment on project proposals before their adoption. These elements also will reassure parties providing fast-start funding.  Indeed, the Adaptation Fund can be a key channel for fast-start funding – remembering that the financing the Copenhagen Accord promised will be distributed in a balanced way between adaptation and mitigation. And the final argument, which should convince developed countries to contribute money into the Adaptation Fund: It has no mandate to support response measures, so that means the AF is a channel that all parties can trust.

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