Green Climate Fund grants $257m for climate-related projects

The UN-backed Green Climate Fund has announced the first projects it will fund this year and a timetable for hiring a new executive director.

The United Nations-backed Green Climate Fund (GCF) has approved nine projects for 2016 that will provide $256.6 million for climate-related projects around the world.

The board agreed to make chief financial officer Javier Manzanares its interim executive director when Hela Cheikhrouhou steps down in September. The board said it expects to have a permanent replacement by the end of the year. Cheikhrouhou was the first holder of the position and helped establish the fund’s structure and mobilise funds from 45 contributors around the world.

GCF, which was established in 2011 as part of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change to provide funding for projects in developing countries to help avoid climate change, has approved nine projects this year. The projects range from energy efficiency upgrades to aiding farmers in drought areas, and the recipient countries include South America, Eastern Europe, Africa and Central and Southeast Asia.

El Salvador received $21.7 million and Armenia, $20 million, to invest in energy efficiency. GCF awarded Chile $49 million for solar development.

Gambia and Mali were awarded $20.5 million and $22.8 million respectively to “strengthen climate resilience” and adaption.

In Asia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan received $19 million to support a World Bank Group climate mitigation programme in the Aral Sea basin. To help small farmers cope with climate variability and extreme weather events, Sri Lanka was granted $38.1 million. GCF gave Vietnam $29.5 million and Tuvalu, an island in the Pacific Ocean, $36 million to aid local communities impacted by climate change.

The climate fund also launched a $200 million initiative to “bolster countries’ decision-making authority over resources to support climate change projects and programmes”.

GCF, which had received more than $10 billion in pledges by December 2014, is seeking more proposals this year to meet its $2.5 billion goal for approvals.