The Green Climate Fund (GCF) has announced more than US$84.9 million towards United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) supported adaptation and mitigation efforts in Bhutan, Timor-Leste, the Marshall Islands and Ecuador.
The announcement makes Ecuador the second country to receive financial resources from the GCF for having successfully reduced its deforestation and corresponding greenhouse gas emissions. The funding is expected to help in reducing emissions by 20% from the forest and land-use sector by 2025.
Bhutan, the Republic of Marshall Islands (RMI) and Timor-Leste —among the Asia-Pacific region’s most vulnerable countries to climate change, with shifting rainfall patterns and extreme weather conditions driven by rising global temperatures – received grants for critical climate adaptation initiatives.
In Bhutan, with GCF finance, almost half of the rural population of the country – over 118,000 people – is expected to benefit from more sustainable land and water management, more climate-resilient agriculture, and climate-resilient roads. Under the project, over 400km of roads will be climate-proofed and 8,000 hectares of farmland will have reliable climate-resilient irrigation schemes.
In RMI, over 15,000 people living on 24 of the country’s most vulnerable outer atolls and islands will gain year-round access to safe freshwater. The benefits of the project will extend to all Marshallese – more than 55,000 people – through its national-level capacity-building and policy programme.
Timor-Leste will use GCF funds to ‘climate-proof’ key rural infrastructure – roads and bridges, water supply systems, irrigation and flood protection – and improve policies and planning for a national response to the impacts of climate change. Over 175,000 people in rural communities, or around 15% of the total population, are to directly benefit.
The approved funding for adaptation reflects the Fund’s commitment to meeting the needs of societies that are highly vulnerable to the effects of climate change – in particular Least Developed Countries (LDCs) and Small Island Developing States (SIDS) – and supporting high-impact, country-led initiatives to achieve low-emission, climate-resilient development.
Executive Coordinator and Director, Global Environmental Finance at UNDP, Pradeep Kurukulasuriya said, “There is much to celebrate in this announcement by the GCF Board. This funding will support the respective countries to realise their priorities, set out under their Sustainable Development Goals and Nationally Determined Contributions [under the global Paris Agreement], and advance towards a more climate-resilient future. In the words of the UN Secretary-General said week, when it comes to acting on climate change, we have no time to lose.”
UNDP remains the largest service provider in the UN system on climate change adaptation and mitigation. The agency was one of the first organisations accredited by the Green Climate Fund in 2015 and is one of the largest brokers of climate change grant support to developing countries.
With the approval of the four new projects, UNDP has supported a total of 23 countries to access more than $785.7 million in GCF finance for full-sized climate change projects.