Improving civil society’s limited access to the green climate fund – CIDSE

Improving civil society’s limited access to the green climate fund

A report based on an analysis of GCF policies and lessons learned from five case studies

Climate finance is delivered by a broad and expanding range of specialised climate funds, with the Green Climate Fund (GCF) being the largest of them. The main objective of this study is to showcase ways in which civil society organisations (CSOs) could access GCF climate finance. It analyses barriers and entry points for CSOs by combining policy analysis and empirical case studies.

Barriers for CSOs to access GCF funds are systemic, massive and evident in praxis. Addressing, reducing and overcoming these barriers will be essential for the Fund to fulfil its mission of transformative changemaking. There is a need for reform and CSOs can contribute to that not only as watchdogs from outside but also as active project partners from inside, creating a stimulus for transformative projects, combining high climate ambitions, SDG co-benefits, gender sensitivity and locally-led action.

For this to happen, the following recommendations arise from this report:

• Advocate for the GCF to more accurately communicate and respond to CSO expectations on options to receive GCF support for their climate actions.
• Advocate for specific GCF funding windows for CSOs, e.g., a Small Grant Facility.
• Support Southern partners with capacity building on GCF modalities to strengthen access.
• Encourage and enable the engagement of CSOs in GCF country programming, readiness initiatives, and national adaptation planning processes supported by GCF.
• As a CSO, take an informed and strategic decision before entering the accreditation process to become an Implementing Entity.
• As a financially strong CSO, set up a specific technical and financial programme to support partners in the Global South to design transformative climate-ambitious projects with clear co-benefits for the sustainable development of vulnerable communities for submission to the GCF.

An online seminar was organised on 5 May 2021 to present the findings of the report. More details are available here and in this flyer.

The study was commissioned by CIDSE to Thomas Hirsch, Climate & Development Advice

Contact: Lydia Machaka, CIDSE Climate Justice and Energy Officer, Machaka(at)

This study was co-funded by the European Union.

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