What is accreditation?
Accreditation is designed to assess whether potential Accredited Entities are capable of strong financial management and of safeguarding funded projects and programmes against any unforeseen environmental or social harm.
Purpose of accreditation
In deploying its resources, the Green Climate Fund will work through a wide range of institutions to finance projects and programmes. To access funding, these institutions will go through a process of accreditation. Accredited Entities (AEs) carry out a range of activities that may include developing and submitting funding proposals for, and overseeing the management and implementation of, projects and programmes; deploying a range of financial instruments within their respective capacities (grants, loans, equity, and guarantees); and mobilizing private sector capital.
Who can become an accredited entity?
All entities, including international, regional, national and subnational organisations from both the public and private sector, provided they successfully receive accreditation.
How long does it take to get accredited with the GCF?
Becoming accredited to the GCF is a rigorous process. It can take as long as 1-2 years to become accredited, whilst on average, it takes 6-9 months to complete depending on scope, size and risk level of accreditation. If a prospective AE meets the fast-track requirements, the accreditation panel aims to make a decision within 3 months. The fast-track is for organisations that have already been accredited by the Global Environmental Facility (GEF), Adaptation Fund (AF) and the Directorate-General Development and Cooperation – EuropeAid of the European Commission (DG DEVCO). If organisations also apply for support through the GCF Readiness Programme, this process may take longer.
The Process of accreditation
The accreditation process is structured around three main stages as shown below.
Stage 1. Pre-accreditation and completeness check:
The prospective AE to collect the relevant information and documents to apply for accreditation. This will be completed in 5 steps:
- The prospective entity will open an account on the OAS via the GCF Secretariat. The OAS will enable the entity to communicate directly with the GCF Secretariat, including on readiness support (if the entity makes a request to seek readiness support);
- The entity will request and/or receive a letter of nomination for accreditation from the country's NDA;
- After having obtained a letter of nomination from the NDA, the entity can submit the completed application for accreditation through the OAS, including the required accompanying institutional policy document and evidence of implementation;
- The entity will execute payment of the relevant accreditation fees; and,
- The GCF Secretariat will undertake an institutional assessment and completeness check of the documented material provided by the entity regarding the entity's policies, standards and guidelines relevant to the GCF's accreditation requirements.
The institutional assessment and completeness check is finalised once the entity has provided all the necessary documented material, and the accreditation application will move onto Stage 2 – accreditation review and Board decision. If the information is unclear, incomplete or missing, the GCF will request additional evidence.
Accreditation fees will vary depending on the accreditation scale and scope applied for. Entities in LDCs or SIDS are not required to pay any fees for basic accreditation covering micro and small-sized projects; entities from any other developing country are required to pay a minimum of USD 1,000. Fees for basic accreditation vary, from USD 1,000 for accrediting micro sized funding to USD 25,000 to large scale funding. Additional fees, which also rise with the scale of funding accredited for, are required for each specialised fiduciary standard the entity wishes to gain accreditation for. The full fees are outlined in Table 3. These fees are required before the accreditation application is approved by the Board, and other fees may apply, for instance if the GCF Secretariat or Accreditation Panel are required to review the application more than twice.
Stage 2. Accreditation review and GCF Board decision:
The GCF's independent Accreditation Panel will review the submitted accreditation application and the supporting documents. Based on the recommendation of the Independent Accreditation Panel and of each Board member's own evaluation, the Board will make a final decision. This process includes two main steps:
- Accreditation Panel application review: The application will be reviewed by the Accreditation Panel to assess whether it meets the GCF's basic fiduciary standards, specialised fiduciary standards, environmental and social safeguards, and gender policy. Through the fit for purpose approach, the Accreditation Plan will compare the applicant's demonstrated capacities versus the intended activity with the GCF, as well as the entity's past track record. Finally, the Panel will provide a recommendation to the Board specifying whether the entity should be accredited or not and for which type and scale of accreditation. The Panel may also decide to recommend to the Board the applicant is accredited for smaller and/or less risky financial, environmental and social activities than originally applied for.
- Board decision on accreditation application: Following the recommendation from the Accreditation Panel, the GCF Board will make a final decision on the accreditation application. There are four potential outcomes: 1. Unconditional approval for accreditation; 2. Conditional approval, with a range of conditions to be met by the entity to be eligible for accreditation; 3. Referral back to Stage 1 of the accreditation process, providing further readiness support to build the applicant's capacities based on the gaps identified. In such cases, the application will be reconsidered at a later date, following further review by the Accreditation Panel; 4. Complete rejection.
The GCF Board will consider applications for accreditation recommended by the Secretariat and the Accreditation Panel at the Board meetings. As such, applications should be submitted at the earliest point possible and at minimum of one month in advance of the relevant Board meeting. Once the GCF Board approved the accreditation, the applicant will move onto Stage 3– post-accreditation review and legal arrangements.
Stage 3. Post-accreditation review and legal arrangements:
Following accreditation approval by the Board, the prospective entity will complete the legal arrangements with the Fund. This includes:
- The AE's fee payment will be validated and registered; and,
- The AE will finalise the legal arrangements and sign the Accreditation Master Agreement (AMA) with the GCF. The legal arrangements and the contract for accreditation are outlined in the AMA which describes the role, terms and conditions of the AE. This agreement reflects the fit-for-purpose accreditation approach, by making a distinction between various types of entities and their type of accreditation, rather than following a one-size-fits-all legal format.
The AMA includes:
- The conditions that the AE must meet prior to the disbursement of funds from the GCF;
- Clauses related to the AE's performance against the GCF's policies and standards which may lead to termination of the AMA; and,
- Specification of the environmental and social risk category and financial size of projects/programmes that the AE may undertake using the GCF funding.
AEs can upgrade their accreditation status at any time, once they have generated sufficient policies and experience to demonstrate their compliance. Upgrading entities will go straight to Stage 2 of the accreditation process, where the additional capacities will be analysed by the GCF Accreditation Panel, unless the entity wishes to commence at Stage 1, in order to undergo a readiness support assessment for the newly proposed accreditation standards. AEs will need to re-apply to retain their status every five years.
Below you can download required forms for getting accredited with the GCF.
- Request for a Green Climate Fund Online Accreditation System Account (English);
- Green Climate Fund Accreditation Application Form (English).