The Least Developed Countries Fund (LDCF) and Special Climate Change Fund (SCCF) will deploy $63 million in urgent funding for countries on the frontlines of climate change following a meeting of the Global Environment Facility-managed funds in Brazil.
In its 34th meeting, the LDCF/SCCF Council approved six projects to boost climate resilience in countries including Bhutan, Cabo Verde, Comoros, Djibouti, and Zambia, in line with the funds’ strategy to target the unique adaptation needs of Least Developed Countries and vulnerable island nations.
The work program includes the first disbursement from a new window for Small Island Developing States (SIDS) within the SCCF which, along with the LDCF, was set up in 2001 to help developing countries prepare for and respond to the impacts of climate change. The LDCF is the only global fund that offers support exclusively to Least Developed Countries.
The support to Cabo Verde from the SCCF will help the residents of Santiago, the largest island and major agricultural hub of the West African archipelago nation, to shore up natural defenses against climate effects while increasing food security.
Council Member Collin Beck of the Solomon Islands said this was a good example of how targeted support to small island states can yield significant dividends.
“Climate change is a global challenge, but climate adaptation solutions are not applicable everywhere. It is very positive for us to see the needs and experiences of SIDS given dedicated attention through this work program,” Beck said.
The dedicated SIDS funding window was central to the GEF climate funds’ strategy for scaling up support to the world’s most climate vulnerable countries, in line with an agreement at the Glasgow climate summit in 2021 to at least double the flow of adaptation finance to developing countries.
Additionally, as part of the work program agreed in Brasilia, the LDCF/SCCF Council approved $20 million of grant funding each for Djibouti and Bhutan. This is the total amount of funds that Least Developed Countries can access from the LDCF during the 2022-2026 period – double the amount that was available in the previous four-year funding period.
The Djibouti project will address the increasing occurrence and severity of floods and droughts by improving water access in rural communities, providing greater livelihood security.
The project in Bhutan will improve planning in two urban areas, where a quarter of the country’s population lives, against encroaching climate effects such as flash floods, landslides, and storms. The Bhutan project is particularly significant as the country prepares to graduate from Least Developed Country status.
Responding to guidance from the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, the LDCF is working to facilitate the smooth transition of countries whose economic growth means they are no longer in the Least Developed category. The GEF-managed fund is also committed to “leave no LDC behind” in delivering targeted climate adaptation support to the world’s most vulnerable countries and their people and ecosystems.
Newly approved LDCF financing for Zambia will reduce the vulnerability of communities and ecosystems in the country’s central and southern provinces through sustainable land management and efforts to support climate-resilient livelihoods. The Comoros project will reduce the vulnerability of coastal communities by scaling up ecosystem-based climate adaptation activities, also known as nature-based solutions.
Finally, a global project managed by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and combining LDCF and SCCF is designed to show how the private sector can be effective in generating climate adaptation solutions, which the UN has identified as key to unblocking the large scale investments needed for climate adaptation. This initiative will showcase innovative ideas from initiatives within the GEF’s Challenge Program for Adaptation Innovation, which provides financial incentives to selected technology and private sector innovators.
The GEF’s climate adaptation funds provide support in a way that is designed to create synergies with other sources of finance, such as the GEF Trust Fund and Green Climate Fund.
“These unique funds not only help empower these individual countries, they also help fill urgent needs,” said Nepal Council Member Arjun Prasad Pokharel. “This is extremely important even as we continue to need to scale up climate adaptation funding overall.”
Council members also expressed support for a series of regional workshops the GEF is holding in climate-vulnerable countries to enable them to develop strong pipelines of high-impact climate adaptation projects.
Reflecting on the most recent workshop held in Senegal, Madeleine Diouf Sarr, Chair of the Least Developed Countries Group in the UN climate process, said: “It is important that countries most impacted by climate change can learn from each other through shared practical experiences provided by such regional gatherings. We look forward to future similar opportunities to share knowledge with other countries as we seek to manage climate change and build a more sustainable future."