Six ways the Green Climate Fund is investing in adaptation

Sponsored content: Senegal, Pakistan, Gambia, Maldives and Bangladesh are among countries where the GCF is working to build climate resilience

Sunset over the Atlantic off Senegal, where the GCF is investing in flood prevention and desalination schemes (Pic: Pixabay)

By Climate Home

The $10 billion Green Climate Fund is one of the key funding mechanisms for the Paris climate agreement, charged with helping developing countries tackle a warming world.

Since coming online in late 2015, the board has allocated $1.2 billion for 27 projects across Asia, Africa, Latin America, Eastern Europe and the Pacific.

It’s the start of what green finance experts hope will mark a radical shift in climate investment flows, with poorer nations empowered to access fast and effective funding.

And while the GCF’s first foray has been small compared to global climate finance flows – $367 billion in 2014 according to the Climate Policy Initiative – it is significant.

That’s because this is a fund set up specifically for poor countries, and one that in time should allow governments across the Global South realise their ambitious climate goals.

Below we detail six of the GCF’s first projects exclusively targeted at climate resilience and adaptation, which the fund hopes to see delivered through 2017.

1 – Wetlands protection and restoration in Peru

Tonnes of carbon dioxide (Co2e) avoided: 2.6 million
Investments: $9.1m, $6.2m from the GCF
Project manager: Peruvian Trust Fund for National Parks and Protected Areas

The swamps of Datem del Marañón hold a total carbon stock estimated at around 3.78 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2 eq.). The project will avoid deforestation of an estimated 4,861 hectares of palm swamp and terra firma forests over a 10-year period and enhance resilience and conservation of 343,000 ha of peatlands and forest.

The project will facilitate better land-use planning and management of the region’s wetlands, while strengthening sustainable, commercial bio-businesses of non-timber forest products. It will entrust indigenous communities with the management of resources, improve their livelihoods, and empower women in the decision-making processes.

2 – Climate resilience infrastructure in Bangladesh 

People impacted: 10.5 million
Investments: $80 million, $40m from the GCF
Project manager: Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau (KfW)

Providing cyclone shelters and safeguarding critical road access to protect lives in a rural coastal region of Bangladesh. Developing urban infrastructure and safeguarding vulnerable city-dwellers from climate risk. Establishing a national centre of excellence for climate resilience infrastructure, to inform and guide future infrastructure development throughout the country.

The project establishes a national centre of excellence to gather, develop, and share climate resilience infrastructure knowledge. Rural infrastructure development will be supported by constructing 45 new cyclone shelters and renovating 20 existing shelters.

The shelters built under this project will be used as primary schools in normal times, providing 45 additional schools and helping educate 18,590 children. The improvement of 80 km of critical access roads to the rural shelters will also be undertaken, to safeguard access during extreme weather and enhance the adaptive capacities of local communities.

3 – Climate resilience and water management in Maldives 

People impacted: 295,000
Investments: $28.2 million, $23.6m from the GCF
Project Manager: UN Development Programme (UNDP)

The project will scale up an integrated water supply system based on rainwater, groundwater, and desalinated water into a low-cost delivery system for vulnerable households. This will provide uninterrupted supply to 49 islands that currently rely on emergency water deliveries for three months of each year. Decentralised and cost-effective dry season water supply systems will also be introduced.

Water desalination production plants will be built on four larger islands that will contribute to this improved dry season water distribution network to outer atolls and local supply systems. Increased capacity of local and central government authorities will strengthen the management and efficiency of these systems.

Groundwater quality will be improved for long-term resilience. Groundwater recharge systems and improved water resource management capacity will contribute to improved groundwater quality.

4 – Forest restoration in the Gambia 

People impacted: 57,800
Investments: $25.5 million, $20.5m from the GCF
Project manager: UN Environment Programme (UNEP)

Restoring degraded forests and agricultural landscapes in The Gambia with climate-resilient plants, establishing natural resource-based businesses, and strengthening capacity and policies to implement eco-based adaptation systems.

Implementing Ecosystem-based Adaptation (EbA) is a significant part of this strategy, and its implementation will be enabled through the GCF investment. EbA will both protect the environment and facilitate the development of the sustainable, natural resource-based economy to the benefit of local communities.

EbA will be integrated into planning at national, district and village levels. Agricultural landscapes and degraded ecosystems including forests, mangroves and savannahs will be restored using climate-resilient tree and shrub species across an area of at least 10,000 hectares. This will be complemented by the establishment of natural resource-based businesses managed by local communities.

5 – Glacial lake reinforcement in Pakistan 

People impacted: 29.2 million
Investments: $37.5 million, $37m from GCF
Project Manager: UN Development Programme (UNDP)

Rising temperatures have melted glaciers, creating glacial lakes in Northern Pakistan. These carry the risk of outburst flooding events, threatening over 7 million people. Early warning systems, engineering structures and disaster management policies will reduce risk, protecting local communities and providing early warning of devastating flood events.

The melting of the Hindu Kush, Karakoram, and Himalayan glaciers in Northern Pakistan due to rising temperatures have created 3,044 glacial lakes in the federally-administered territory of Gilgit-Baltistan (GB) and the province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP).

It is estimated that 33 of these glacial lakes are hazardous and likely to result in glacial lake outburst floods. Such flooding releases millions of cubic metres of water and debris in just a few hours, resulting in the loss of lives, destruction of property and infrastructure, and severe damage to livelihoods in some of the most remote areas of Pakistan.

The project will build 250 engineering structures including damns, ponds, spill ways, tree plantation and drainage to reduce risk. At the same time, the development of disaster management policies and the introduction of weather monitoring stations, flood gauges, hydrological modelling and early warning systems will increase the ability to respond rapidly to flood scenarios.

6 – Urban flood management in Senegal

People impacted: 2 million
Investments: $79.2 million, $16.7m from GCF
Project manager: Agence Française de Developpement (AFD)

Senegal has a rapidly urbanising population which is at increasing risk from flood disaster events. The capital city, Dakar, hosts 25% of the country’s population in an area representing less than 1% of the country’s territory. Climate change is expected to lead to more frequent intense rainfalls, risking heavy damages to the most vulnerable areas and population.

Dakar and other cities have experienced frequent flooding in recent years, with major social and economic consequences. Flood management is a major part of the Senegalese government’s Disaster Risk Reduction framework, and building resistance to flooding is a top priority within the country’s INDC submission.

GCF financing will focus on soft measures. Flood risk mapping will also be undertaken, and assessments carried out on how to increase the resilience of urban areas. Future risk will be reduced through hazard monitoring, and protocols developed for managing extreme rain events.

These actions will be complemented by AFD financing towards hard investments in drainage and sanitation infrastructure in one of the most vulnerable areas of the capital city (Pikine Irrégulier Sud). This approach of strengthening infrastructure and governance will put Senegal at the cutting edge of flood-management policy in West Africa.

This content is sponsored by the Green Climate Fund