The GCF Simplified Approval Process - a win for Namibia and for Kunene Region!

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By Sakeus Shilomboleni

The month of March 2018 reigned in unequivocal joy in Namibia. Not only did it mark the 28th anniversary of the country’s independence but it also saw the approval of Namibia’s first climate adaptation project in the area of rangeland management by the Green Climate Fund! You may ask yourself why this is so significant – well here is why:

Firstly, Namibia’s communal farmers suffered immense livestock losses during the period 2011 – 2017; through what was thought to be a combination of climate change-induced drought and harmful rangeland management practices - and hence the justification of the project titled, Improving rangeland and ecosystem management practices of smallholder farmers under conditions of climate change in Sesfontein, Fransfontein, and Warmquelle areas of the Republic of Namibia.

Secondly, in the process of getting this project approved – Namibia’s Environmental Investment Fund – the country’s only Green Climate Fund accredited entity, became the first and only entity to have approved projects under the Enhanced Direct Access (EDA) modality, the regular funding window and the Simplified Approval Process (SAP).

Aptly named, the Simplified Approval Process, this special window was created by the GCF in order to enable access for funding to developing nations that needed urgent climate action for projects that are small in nature (within the US$ 10 million threshold), low-risk and that exhibit strong paradigm-shift potential. The application process is, therefore, simpler in terms of the documentation required to develop the final proposal, and the approval process is much faster.

So, why did the EIF choose this particular project for submission?

To be implemented in the Kunene Region of Namibia, the project targets an area that is highly susceptible to drought, particularly since 2011. It is also a region where a large section of the population depends on livestock farming for their sustenance. The project is therefore expected to change the lives of the smallholder farmers that have been rendered vulnerable to climate change. More specifically it will promote cost-effective investments in early warning systems that determine climate-driven vulnerabilities and effective adaptation options; reduce climate-driven risks in target ecosystem and land through supporting innovative drought adaptation actions, and create knowledge and information support mechanisms. The project will benefit approximately 30,366 people - particularly women and female-headed households.

The news about the approval of this project, during the 19th meeting of the GCF in Songdo; was received with great happiness at the EIF as it brought the portfolio of GCF-financed projects by EIF to two and in the process making the institution the first accredited entity to have its proposal approved through the SAP modality. Furthermore, the approval of the project was met with relief by the EIF team that worked on the proposal as it was the easiest and fastest way of approval.

The approval also demonstrated that EIF had strengthened its capacity in areas such as gender analysis and Environmental Social Safeguards (ESS) and has familiarized itself with the GCF policy frameworks and guidance.

So, who worked on this proposal?

Benedict Libanda is the Chief Executive Officer of EIF. He is also a Global Expert on Climate Change Adaptation and climate financing. During the SAP proposal development, he was responsible for project design and overall coordination.

Karl Aribeb is the Director of Operations at EIF, with over thirty years of Community-Based Natural Resource Management (CBNRM) experience in Namibia. During the proposal development, he spearheaded project design and research coordination.

Aina-Maria Iteta is the Monitoring and Evaluation Specialist at EIF. She has over ten years’ experience in a variety of fields such as Natural Resource Management, National Early Warning systems on Food Security, Planning & Economics, Agricultural Production and Extension, Monitoring and Evaluation, Project Financing and development statistics. During the SAP proposal, she was responsible for ESS & Gender aspects.  

Lazarus Nafidi is the Head of Communications at EIF and comes with over ten years experience in coordinating stakeholder engagement and targeted communication for sustainable development in Namibia. He has developed knowledge management and communication tools in the areas of climate change, tourism management, CBNRM and conservation in Namibia. He developed the SAP proposal’s stakeholder engagement strategy.

In the end, what does it take to develop a successful SAP proposal?

From EIF’s experience it looks like it takes: 

- A keen eye for what the immediate climate response needs of the country are;

- A dedicated and passionate team of subject matter specialists;

- Two (2) months of blood, sweat, and tears.