This article was originally published on the CFR website on December 4, 2018

While the core of the Adaptation Fund’s work remains its concrete adaptation projects for the most vulnerable, it also has programmes that enhance countries’ access to climate finance. The Adaptation Fund’s readiness programme provides support to developing countries for the process of accrediting direct access entities to receive and manage adaptation finance, and also for project development and implementation once accreditation has been obtained.

The Fund pioneered Direct Access, which empowers countries to directly access climate finance and develop projects while building their adaptive capacities through accredited national implementing partners of the Fund based in the countries themselves. CDKN’s Mairi Dupar spoke with Farayi Madziwa, Programme Officer of the Adaptation Fund Board Secretariat, about how countries can tap into these resources for adaptation finance readiness:

MD: Can the Adaptation Fund Board Secretariat help developing countries to get accreditation for direct access to its finance?

FM: Yes, indeed. One of the aims of our Readiness Programme is to increase the preparedness of organizations that are applying to become accredited National Implementing Entities (NIEs), and these include organizations from Least Developed Countries (LDCs) and Small Island Developing States (SIDS).

Specifically, we have the following areas of activity:

The accreditation process can be quite challenging for some direct access entities, so first, we support candidate National Implementing Entities with South-South Cooperation Grants to increase their institutional capacity to navigate the accreditation process.  We augment this with peer-to-peer learning events about the accreditation process. In addition, we are currently piloting a new Readiness Support Package grant which enables providers of peer support to address more technical accreditation issues that may become barriers or that may delay the process of accreditation.

We also offer technical assistance grants to provide guidance for entities to incorporate the Fund’s Environmental, Social and Gender policies into their project development processes. Additionally, we are offering a new set of grants that support scaling up of effective Adaptation Fund projects.

Second, as an active leader in adaptation, we facilitate cooperation among climate finance readiness providers – to encourage providers to complement each other’s efforts.

Third, we facilitate the generation and dissemination of knowledge around the programming of adaptation finance and the delivery of readiness and capacity building support: so that people who have participated in the accreditation process can share their knowledge and experience with others. This includes both regional and global workshops and webinars where we gather all of our NIEs together to share lessons and best practices.

This workstream also includes the Adaptation Fund Board Secretariat’s partnership with CDKN to publish countries’ experiences on the Climate Finance Ready microsite!  Image (below): NIEs at readiness workshop. Credit: Adaptation Fund.

MD: For organizations that have already become accredited as Implementing Entities, do you offer further support for project development?

FM:  Yes, absolutely. We actually provide support for both project development and implementation. In addition to providing support for developing countries to access adaptation finance and other resources of the fund, our Readiness Programme aims to help Implementing Entities boost their overall capacity to develop, initiate and implement concrete projects and programmes. Our networking and knowledge management activities all support countries in project and programme preparation. We also have special grants available for this purpose: Project Formulation Assistance Grants.

MD: How many Implementing Entities are there, which could access this support for project development?

FM: Today, there are 46 accredited Implementing Entities (IEs), of which 28 are National Implementing Entities (NIEs. All NIEs are all eligible for this type of support.

MD: Can you give us an idea of the size of the Adaptation Fund’s Readiness Programme?

FM: Of course. With regard to grants, to date, 32 readiness grants have been approved in 28 countries, for a total of just over US$1.0 million. However, the Readiness Programme includes non-grant capacity-building activities as well, such as convening its seminars, workshops, webinars and country exchanges as well as facilitating the participation of experienced implementing entities at regional and international events and forums organized by other bodies under the UNFCCC and organizations involved in the programming of adaptation finance.

MD: Tell us more about the grants available.

FM: Available readiness grants can be categorized into 3 main groups:

(1) Grants to support accreditation to the Fund (these include South-South Cooperation Grants and grants under the Readiness Support Package);
(2) Grants for technical assistance and institutional capacity building (these include technical assistance grants for the environmental and social policy and gender policy “TA-ESGP” and technical assistance grants for the gender policy “TA-GP”);
(3) Grants to support project development (these include Project Scale-Up Grants and Project Formulation Assistance “PFA” Grants).

The South-South Cooperation Grants are designed for countries without an accredited NIE yet who may apply for a grant to receive peer support from an already accredited NIE – i.e. from another country – around the accreditation process. The grant is designed to support countries to navigate the accreditation requirements with the advice of peers who may have faced common challenges.  In addition, the Readiness Support Package further facilitates the delivery of tailored support for accreditation through an intermediary entity and includes the delivery of technical support through the use of experts to identify and address specific gaps and challenges within the candidate NIE seeking accreditation with the Fund. The application for a readiness grant to support accreditation to the Fund is a country-driven process initiated by the recipient countries. We expect that either of these grants should enable countries to navigate the process more quickly than they would otherwise and so could reduce the length of time to obtain accreditation, while also further strengthening the NIE peer organizations’ own capacity..

The Technical Assistance Grants for the environmental and social policy and gender policy (TA-ESGP) and for the gender policy alone (TA-GP) are designed to help strengthen the capacity of accredited NIEs in the areas of environmental and social risk management and addressing gender related issues as they design, develop and implement concrete adaptation projects and programmes. These grants really foster the principles of human rights, empowering the most vulnerable groups, promoting gender equality, and biodiversity conservation, among others.

The grants can be used to develop procedures, manuals or guidelines for screening projects for environmental and social risks as well as gender-related risks or for undertaking project environmental and social risk assessment, gender assessment, and formulating risk management plans that are gender responsive. This includes putting in place avenues for public disclosure and gender responsive consultation and mechanisms for receiving and addressing complaints about environmental or social harms and complaints related to gender inequalities and other adverse gender impacts caused by projects and programmes during implementation. If the entity already has environmental and social and gender related procedures in place, the grants can be used to align the entity’s policies with the Fund’s.

Project Formulation Grants are available at the project concept stage only to help NIEs tap into external (international or national) expertise in the form of short-term consultant assignments to undertake specific technical assessments such as an environmental impact assessment (EIA) a vulnerability assessment (VA), a risk assessment, a gender study, and other environmental and social assessments.. Through the grants, NIEs can also generate information in advance on the likely effects climate change will have on people and the environment and also information on the likely environmental, social as well as gender related effects of the project or programme that should be avoided, remedied or minimized.

Finally, the Project Scale-Up Grants were approved by the Adaptation Fund Board as part of the implementation plan for the Fund’s Medium-Term Strategy between 2018 and 2022. The grants are meant to support planning, assessment, capacity enhancement (individual, organization and institutional) for designing and developing scaling up pathways for Adaptation Fund projects/programmes under implementation and nearing completion or that have already been completed. It is expected that implementation of project/programme scale-up would be funded by various sources, such as other climate funds but also from other finance channels (including the private sector). The Adaptation Fund Board Secretariat is in the process of developing access procedures for the grants and will communicate availability of the grants to NIEs for application soon.

MD: If governments have questions about how they can get started on the road to accreditation, or how to secure project development support, whom should they contact?

For information on the accreditation process and requirements, please contact: and copy

For all readiness and capacity building related information, contact: and copy to



Image: NIEs’ readiness workshop, credit Adaptation Fund.