Fri | Apr 19, 2019

Earth Today | Adaptation Fund Board approves new projects

Published:Thursday | April 11, 2019 | 12:08 AM

IN A busy 33rd meeting in Bonn, Germany, last month, the Adaptation Fund Board approved new project proposals totalling some US$32.5 million, and advanced the transition process to help the fund serve the Paris Agreement.

It also accredited the Ministry of Water and Environment of Uganda as the Fund’s 29th national implementing entity under its pioneering Direct Access modality, which empowers country ownership in climate change adaptation.

The board approved new Direct Access projects in Armenia and the Dominican Republic, as well as a project in Bangladesh and the fund’s first regional project in Eastern Europe – in Albania, Montenegro and North Macedonia. The board, additionally, endorsed 11 project concepts and pre-concepts, and approved US$170,000 in project formulation grants to help further develop them.

While it technically cleared three full additional regional projects, since it reached the US$60 million cap for regional project funding for the current fiscal year, the Board deferred formal approvals of those projects until the start of the next fiscal year on July 1, when another US$60-million in new funding for regional projects becomes available. It established a waitlist in the meantime for regional projects recommended for approval.

The other three regional projects that were recommended for approval by the board will be considered for funding in July by remote intersessional decision. They total about US$39.5 million across projects in Benin, Burkina Faso and Niger; another in Comoros, Madagascar, Malawi and Mozambique; and one in Argentina and Uruguay.

FULL AGENDA

The start of the board meeting featured its annual change in leadership as Sylviane Bilgischer of Belgium became the new chair and Ibila Djibril of Benin the vice-chair. Bilgischer congratulated outgoing chair Victor Viñas of the Dominican Republic for the leadership he showed over the past year. She praised the fund’s excellent results at COP 24 in December, which included decisions where the fund is now formally serving the Paris Agreement and a record amount of new pledges raised. Several new board members and alternates joined the meeting as well from the Bahamas, Fiji, Germany, Italy, Malawi, Spain and Sweden.

“This was a very full agenda and the board accomplished a lot as a new group,” said Bilgischer.

“The Adaptation Fund now has tangible projects for the first time in climate-vulnerable countries of the Dominican Republic and Bangladesh, and its first regional project in Eastern Europe. We also enhanced climate access in Uganda by accrediting a new Direct Access entity there. Importantly, we made progress with the transition process from Kyoto to Paris, and made steps forward so that the fund will continue to serve, both in the meantime and eventually, just the Paris Agreement in a smooth and seamless manner,” she added.

Among other key decisions by the board, it decided to explore in consultation with civil society and draw on lessons from other climate funds, various options to further enhance civil society participation and engagement in the work of the board and prepare an analysis for the next board meeting. It also decided to consider extending the reaccreditation process for national implementation entities that are actively engaged in concrete projects, to allow more time to comply with the process while those projects are being completed.

The key decisions by the board related to the Paris Agreement followed the recent landmark decisions at the COP 24 climate change conference in Poland in December, where the 197-member Conference of the Parties, serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Paris Agreement, decided the Fund “shall serve” the agreement in a formal manner, starting on January 1, this year.

The decision recognised the fund’s concrete adaptation work to the most vulnerable and its effectiveness in building national capacities to adapt to climate change through Direct Access.