FS-UNEP Collaborating Centre Report Outlines Fiduciary Standards for Accessing Climate Finance
May 2014: The Frankfurt School (FS)-UN Environment Programme (UNEP) Collaborating Centre for Climate and Sustainable Energy Finance has released a report aimed at assisting developing country climate finance institutions in accessing funding from the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and the Adaptation Fund (AF). The report, titled 'Direct Access to International Climate Finance and Associated Fiduciary Standards,' compiles the minimum fiduciary standards required by these Funds and uses case studies to illustrate necessary supporting documentation.
The publication begins with an explanation of direct access and the application processes for the two Funds. Direct access means a national entity will be implementing the funded project. The report explains that the Fund then uses an accreditation process to verify the reliability and capacity of the national actor to undertake the project. Next, the report examines lessons learned from AF's accreditation process and the ways AF responded to barriers faced by national implementing entities (NIEs) in gaining accreditation.
Recognizing that there is no single, unified set of fiduciary standards, the authors outline those of the GEF and AF, which fall under three categories: financial integrity (audit, financial management and control framework); institutional capacity (project/activity processes and oversight); and transparency and self-investigations.
The authors present two case studies to demonstrate how to meet the GEF and AF criteria. The case studies are Protected Areas Conservation Trust (PACT) in Belize and the Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ). In conclusion, the report cautions "[a]ccreditation is only the first step towards accessing the funds;" actually attaining climate finance requires project approval, which can be a long process.
The FS-UNEP Collaborating Centre's National Climate Finance Institutions Support Programme (NCFISP) published the report as part of a series supporting the creation and management of national climate finance institutions in developing countries, especially in Least Developed Countries (LDCs). [FS-UNEP Press Release] [Publication: Direct Access to International Climate Finance and Associated Fiduciary Standards]