Update on SANBI’s Green Climate Fund Project Development Process

Author: Mpfunzeni Tshindane and Murendeni Nevari

Date: 09 April 2021

The South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI) is excited to provide a progress update on the development of a portfolio of climate change adaptation projects through its accreditation with the Green Climate Fund (GCF).

The GCF is a global Fund that was established under the UNFCCC (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change) to support the implementation of the Paris Agreement in developing countries. The GCF makes use of Accredited Entities to develop funding proposals and oversee, supervise, manage and monitor approved projects and programmes. SANBI is one of the GCF’s accredited entities in South Africa.

Following SANBI’s accreditation in 2016, an extensive project identification and development process was undertaken working closely with the national Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment (DFFE). This process led to an emerging portfolio of seven potential GCF projects for implementation in South Africa. The projects are currently at different stages of development.

To date, SANBI has submitted and received GCF feedback on a total of three first stage Concept Note project proposals. SANBI is engaging with project partners to address comments before resubmitting the Concept Notes and subsequently moving into full proposal development after approval by the Fund.

The first Concept Note is for a USD 20 million project titled “Scaling up ecosystem-based approaches to managing climate-intensified disaster risks in vulnerable regions of South Africa”. The project aims to implement climate change adaptation responses and build resilience to climate induced droughts, floods and fire in South Africa. The project’s lead partners are DFFE’s Natural Resource Management and the National Disaster Management Centre. This Concept Note was endorsed by the GCF in 2019. SANBI is currently positioning itself to receive capacity and resources to develop a second stage full Funding Proposal.

The second Concept Note is for a project that will be implemented in the four provinces that have the highest number of vulnerable small holder farmers, i.e. Mpumalanga, Limpopo, KwaZulu-Natal a   nd Eastern Cape.  The project seeks to upscale investments from the Adaptation Fund uMngeni Resilience Project’s climate-resilient agricultural and early warning system components. This will be undertaken through implementing a USD10 million “Nature-based Solutions for transforming smallholder farming systems that are vulnerable to the impacts of climate change in South Africa“ project. SANBI has responded to feedback received from the GCF and submitted a revised version of the Concept Note.

Throughout 2020, SANBI worked closely with the Department of Human Settlements, Water & Sanitation and DFFE on a third Concept Note.  The Concept Note is for a project entitled “Securing Strategic Water Source Areas in South Africa towards enhancing exacerbated water security” which was submitted to the GCF in November 2020. SANBI is currently engaging with the project’s lead partners to address GCF comments on the first submission.

SANBI’s additional four emerging project ideas are still in early stages of development. These aim to build adaptation responses across an even wider range of social and economic vulnerabilities through nature-based solutions that address the impacts of climate change.

SANBI is also excited to announce that it is receiving support from the Government of Flanders to develop its climate change adaptation programme of work through an “Unlocking Climate Finance for Climate Change Adaptation” project which was approved in December 2020.

This is a four year project valued at approximately R48m. This investment will help SANBI and associated institutions to strengthen institutional capacity and develop at least four full Funding Proposals (with values of at least USD10 million in GCF investments each). The Government of Flanders project will also assist in the mobilization of a science-based technical support network in the development of projects.

Lastly, SANBI will work closely with DFFE to develop a series of knowledge products that track this investment and contribute to a narrative that makes the case for sustained institutional investments in developing country Direct Access Entities.

Please email Mpfunzeni Tshindane (M.Tshindane@sanbi.org.za) to join SANBI’s NIE mailing list to receive future updates from the Adaptation Fund and Green Climate Fund programme of work.

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