The National Trust for Nature Conservation (NTNC) is the latest among four successful institutions to be awarded accreditation as Direct Access Entity (DAE) to the Green Climate Fund (GCF)—the world's largest global fund for climate change set up by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change to help finance developing countries to meet their climate actions in accordance with the Paris Agreement. Decision for accreditation was made by the 27th Board meeting of the GCF held between 9 to 13 November 2020.
DAE accreditation will subsequently authorize NTNC to develop individual projects up to USD 10 million for accessing future climate finance directly from the GCF under the 'micro size' category. Under this NTNC will undertake climate actions that focus on climate change mitigation and adaptation targeting vulnerable rural communities to build climate resilience and local capacities, while promoting socio-economic opportunities necessary to cope and combat climate-induced risks. Provision for obtaining climate financing through international mechanism is made under Point 8.12 in Nepal's National Climate Change Policy 2019.
Reacting to the accreditation decision, NTNC's Chairman and Minister for Forests and Environment Hon. Shakti Bahadur Basnet, who has closely led the process from the front, expressed it as being "the beginning of a milestone moment, not just for NTNC but for Nepal as a whole, giving us direct access to global funds and resources necessary for tackling one of the most pressing global agenda of our time—climate change." The Hon. Minister said that "support for enhanced resources and capacities are much necessary, especially for a poor country like Nepal harboring development aspirations, while also being among the most climate vulnerable countries despite having negligible contributions to global greenhouse gas emissions.”
Accreditation has been the outcome of more than three years of rigorous preparation, agenda setting, and deliberation since NTNC first started the GCF application process in early 2017. Congratulating NTNC upon the accomplishment, Dr. Bishwa Nath Oli, Secretary, Ministry of Forests and Environment said "the move will be instrumental in meeting both national and international targets concerning climate change, biodiversity conservation and sustainable development."
"It has been a demanding and meticulous process overall, requiring to demonstrate stringent institutional measures and capacities," shared Dr. Siddhartha Bajra Bajracharya, the NTNC Member Secretary (acting) and Executive Director. "However knowing that we are Nepal's first conservation entity to have realized this is immensely humbling, and it now opens interesting opportunities for us to invest better in climate-focused actions necessary to adopt low carbon and climate resilient development in Nepal.
NTNC's accreditation is the outcome of support from numerous partners and stakeholders. Special gratitude must be given to GCF's National Designated Authority (NDA) in Nepal, the Ministry of Finance, for nominating and guiding NTNC throughout the GCF accreditation process, the Ministry of Forests and Environment for their close facilitation and engagement, along with non-government partners like UDNP and UNEP. Support of the entire GCF team in this must be particularly appreciated and NTNC looks forward to building a lasting partnership here onwards.
Green Climate Fund potential in Nepal
With > 22 billion USD in approved investments presently in more than 150 countries, the Green Climate Fund (GCF) is the world’s largest climate finance fund dedicated to supporting developing countries to realize their climate ambitions. This is done through investments in a range of projects that include climate-smart farming, renewable energy, energy efficient infrastructure, green transport, ecosystem services, and natural resource conservation, among others. Set up under the framework of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in 2010, the Fund serves the Paris Agreement and pays particular attention to the needs of societies that are highly vulnerable to the effects of climate change, in particular Least Developed Countries (LDCs), Small Island Developing States (SIDS), and African States.
Nepal being a LDC and among the most vulnerable countries in the world to climate change, NTNC's accreditation will help create and scale up new investment for incentivizing green enterprises and sustainable livelihoods, enhance ecosystem-based adaptation capacities, promote nature-based solutions, mainstream climate-responsive planning and development, integrate scientific and indigenous knowledge systems, and create more informed and engaged climate conscious citizens. All of this will be critical to achieve Nepal's priorities toward climate-resilient development, while reducing poverty and achieving equitable socio-economic growth.
With this decision, NTNC will be among the two Direct Access Entities in Nepal, along with the Alternative Energy Promotion Centre (AEPC), to join the present list of 103 accredited entities to the GCF. This means that NTNC will now be able to develop climate action project proposals on its own and access funds directly from the GCF. Earlier this year in August 19 2020, the 26th meeting of the GCF Board had approved the project titled: “Improving Climate Resilience of Vulnerable Communities and Ecosystems in the Gandaki River Basin, Nepal" in which NTNC as an implementing partner will also be co-financing the project.