The Fiji Development Bank [FDB] is the first development bank in the region, and putting Fiji at the forefront, to be accredited for Direct Access to the Green Climate Fund [GCF] at a national level.
The historic announcement was made at the 18th Meeting of the GCF Board on 2 October 2017 in Cairo, Egypt, a month before the Fijian presidency-led 23rd Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), starting in November in Bonn, Germany.
The accreditation strengthens Fiji’s capacity in taking ownership of its climate financial needs to assist in addressing and respond to the impacts of climate change.
General Manager Business Risk Services and the key liaison personnel with the Green Climate Fund Secretariat for the Bank, Mr. Nafitalai Cakacaka, said that the accreditation journey began two years ago in 2015 when the Government nominated FDB to become a National Accredited Entity in response to the national strategy to climate-proof infrastructure developments and boost the resilience of the economy.
“While the accreditation takes Fiji’s response to climate change a step further with direct access to the GCF, the journey itself of obtaining accreditation has also been a significant leap in institutional strengthening for the Bank in understanding the climate action framework,” he said.
“The extensive process of accreditation assessed whether FDB is capable of strong financial management, especially the ability to manage GCF’s resources in line with the GCF’s fiduciary standards for the scale and type of funding sought, as well as the ability to manage environmental and social risks that may arise at the project level as well as being assessed against the GCF’s Gender Policy,” said Mr. Cakacaka.
He said the journey compelled the Bank to go through a thorough and detailed assessment of its existing capability in terms of processes, systems, standards and practices. Documentary evidence was the substantive requirement and took a lot of time to collate, and institutional experience played a critical role in effectively managing the expectation of the accreditation outcome.
“The accreditation application process was as challenging as exciting it was for FDB to be pursuing for accreditation,” he said.
“Strengthening institutional capacity, understanding the accreditation process and the requirements relating to the GCF Fiduciary standards, Environmental and Social Safeguards and Gender Policy had been our priority for the past two years before we actually submitted our application for accreditation this year,” he said.
“For instance, we have reviewed our Environment Management Plan and mainstreaming of gender policy within the Bank’s lending and operating manuals,” he said.
With the Direct Access, FDB will be able to blend Green Climate funds up to USD10M per project with other financing instruments to provide the best affordable financing package while continuing to deliver on its primary mandate of contributing to the development of the economy’s core focus areas.
The Bank was assisted by the UN Environment [UNEP] through the Green Climate Fund Readiness Programme in Fiji, a partnership programme between UNEP, UNDP, WRI, led by the Fijian government.
“UNEP engaged a consultant who assisted the Bank in drawing up a roadmap which identified gaps in our proposal and action items that needed to be addressed before the application was submitted,” said Mr. Cakacaka.
“We are grateful to the Un Environment/UNDP/WRI GCF Readiness Programme and we are closely liaising with them to put in place policies on environmental and social safeguards and gender inclusion required by the GCF for all climate investments,” said Mr. Cakacaka.
“FDB has been invited to attend and present at numerous climate change action, finance and response workshops and conferences and we have been strategizing our internal policies, procedures and proposal writing skill sets to complement our expanded mandate in the area of climate financing,” he said.
“The journey has certainly placed FDB in a position to elevate its performance to international standards and practices. This is being further strengthened to incorporate international objectives and principles in our operations and lending policies, a direction we are heading in,” he said.
“We will continue to work together with all our partners and the National Designated Authority, the Climate Change Unit of the Ministry of Economy, and the Department of Environment as a Direct Access Entity to support Green Banking concepts and principles and set exemplary standards for our neighboring Pacific Small Island Developing States to head in the same direction,” said Mr. Cakacaka.
Date: 3 November 2017
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