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Designing for the fund? An analysis of adaptation project proposals funded by the Green Climate Fund

Authors: Laura Kuhl*, Northeastern University
Topics: Global Change, Development, Hazards and Vulnerability
Keywords: climate adaptation, finance, development aid, transformation
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/8/2020
Start / End Time: 11:10 AM / 12:25 PM
Room: Virtual Track 3
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Because of the limited climate finance available, it is important to consider the incentives embedded within climate finance mechanisms. While there is widespread agreement that adaptation priorities should be country-driven, the reality is that the funding preferences and investment criteria of these funds influence the adaptation priorities in developing countries because of the high dependence of many countries on these funds and the strong competition for limited funds, which incentive project designers to “design for the fund.” Several important questions arise regarding the incentives in the funds. One is whether the funds are supporting a full range of adaptation options. Another is how certain investment criteria influence project design. This study considers two key criteria: 1) arguments for additionality or the climate rationale of the project and 2) the transformation potential, or the paradigm-shift potential, of the project. Through an analysis of project proposals funded by the Green Climate Fund (GCF), the largest source of dedicated climate finance, this study addresses the following questions: 1) What approaches to adaptation have been most commonly implemented in projects financed through the GCF? and 2) How do project narratives reflect incentives of the GCF? A content analysis of project proposal documents was conducted and approaches to adaptation were mapped using a typology developed by Biagini et al. 2014. Narrative content was thematically coded to identify trends in the approaches used and arguments for project funding. Implications for the design of projects and potential biases are drawn from the analysis.

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