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Step-by-Step Guide: Becoming an Accredited Entity

The process of receiving accreditation as a Direct Access Entity consists of the following key steps:


Before initating the application process, organizations need to assess whether they meet the basic requirements to become Accredited Entities. GCF's online self-assessment tool allows organizations to do so via a series of questions. The tool can be accessed here

The online questionnaire helps organizations assess:

  • whether they are considered to have full legal capacity to undertake activities funded by the Green Climate Fund
  • what their institutional arrangements are - including their systems, policies, procedures and guidelines,
  • their track record – considering whether their systems, policies, procedures and guidelines have been implemented systematically.

The Self-Assessment Tool is meant to be a guide and does not guarantee GCF accreditation. Organizations considering applying for accreditation are not requiredto pay the accreditation application fee at this stage.

Once an organization identifies that it has the credentials to become an Accredited Entity, it can proceed to the three-stage application process.

Preparing an application

  • Organizations seeking accreditation need to be nominated by the country's NDA/Focal Point. International Access Entities can seek GCF accreditation directly without nomination by the NDA/Focal Point.
  • The NDA/Focal Point nominates potential applicants by filling out this template and sending to the GCF at the following email address: accreditation[at]gcfund[dot]org
  • All applicants need to then apply to join GCF’s Online Accreditation System (OAS) by filling out this document.
  • Once the complete form is accepted by the GCF Secretariat, applicants will receive a log-in to access GCF’s online application system.
  • Applicants are then asked to fill out this Online Accreditation Application Form within the OAS. This is the main part of applying for accreditation. The application form provides detailed guidance on how to fill it out.
  • Organizations that have already been accredited by the Global Environmental Facility (GEF), Adaptation Fund and the Directorate-General Development and Cooperation – EuropeAid of the European Commission (DG DEVCO) may be eligible to apply for fast track accreditation if three pre-requisites are fulfilled.
  • After the online accreditation application form is completed, applicants can submit their application in the OAS.
  • Application fees are paid at this point. The fee amount varies according to the fiduciary functions and the size of financing for project or programmes that the applicant is proposing to receive GCF funding for.
  • Some of the fees are waived for sub-national, national and regional organizations based in Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and Least Developed Countries (LDCs) for certain financing amounts

Stage I: Checking an application

  • Once application fees are received, the application is reviewed by the GCF Secretariat to ensure the mandate of the accreditation applicant aligns with GCF’s mandate and objectives in disbursing climate finance, and in a manner that can contribute to the country programming priorities with the GCF. GCF has identified eight strategic impact areas for delivering major mitigation and adaptation benefits. Information on impact areas can be accessed here
  • The GCF Secretariat checks whether the accreditation applicant has provided sufficient information about the applicant’s systems, policies, procedures and guidelines related to safeguarding projects against financial, environmental, social and gender risks and impacts. The GCF Secretariat also check whether information on the applicant’s track record of applying the systems, policies, procedures and guidelines have been provided.
  • The GCF Secretariat may reach out to the applicants with follow-up questions regarding their accreditation application to ensure a complete application. This often involves considerable back and forth correspondence between the applicant and the GCF Secretariat.

Stage II: Reviewing and recommending to GCF Board

  • Once the GCF Secretariat is satisfied that application completeness requirements are met, the submitted documents are passed on to the Accreditation Panel. The panel comprises of six accreditation experts who provides an independent appraisal of the application, focusing on whether the accreditation applicant meets the GCF standards it is applying for.
  • The Accreditation Panel may ask applicants to provide clarifications, while liaising with the GCF Secretariat.
  • The GCF Secretariat and the Accreditation Panel then send their recommendations to the GCF Board. This recommendation will include the GCF Secretariat’s assessment from the Stage I check, and the recommendation by the Accreditation Panel regarding accreditation and the accreditation criteria. Upon identifying shortcomings and gaps in the accreditation application meeting the GCF standards applied for, the Accreditation Panel may also recommend conditions of accreditation.
  • If the application is complete and does not require follow up questions, the duration of the review process by both the GCF Secretariat and the Accreditation Panel generally takes a minimum of six months, or three months for fast-track applications.
  • The GCF Board, which generally meets three times a year, then makes the final decision about whether to accredit the entity.
  • The applicant entity is then informed by The GCF Secretariat informs the regarding the result of the GCF Board Decision.

Stage III: Legal Arrangements

  • The approved Accredited Entity is then required to sign an Accreditation Master Agreement (AMA) with GCF. Templates for AMA can be accessed here.
  • AMAs are legal agreements that set out the terms and conditions for an entity’s use of GCF resources. They formalise the Accredited Entity’s accountability in carrying out GCF-approved projects appropriately. For individual GCF-funded activities approved by the Board, the Accredited Entity enters into a Funded Activity Agreement (FAA) for each approved project, which contains project-specific terms.
  • Accredited Entities are required to carry out a yearly self-assessment of their operations to assess whether they continue to meet the accreditation standards they have applied for.
  • Accredited Entities are also required to submit yearly progress reports about their management of GCF-approved climate finance projects or programmes.
  • Accredited Entities will need to re-apply to retain their status every five years. The procedures to guide the re-accreditation process is currently under development by the GCF .
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