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Step-by-Step Guide: Submitting a Funding Proposal

There are a number of steps associated with the submission and appraisal of funding proposals. Note that these steps may change over time as GCF refines its approval processes.

1. Submitting a concept note (optional)

Accredited Entities can choose to submit a concept note outlining basic information about a project or programme using the Concept Note template. The objective is to receive preliminary feedback from the GCF Secretariat on whether their proposal aligns with the Fund's objectives and mandate. The Concept Note User's Guide provides guidance on how to develop a concept note. Concept notes for some small-scale projects that meet eligibility criteria may also be considered for the Simplified Approval Process (SAP) and can be submitted using the SAP Concept Note template.

The Accredited Entity must inform the NDA or focal point about its submission of a concept note to GCF. GCF Secretariat feedback about submitted concept notes does not warrant provision of financial resources to support the project.

2. Submitting a proposal to the GCF Secretariat

Generally, Accredited Entities submit funding proposals to GCF in consultation with the NDA or focal point of a country. The Funding Proposal Template provides details on what information is required as well as guidance on how to develop the proposal.

Funding proposals that are submitted to GCF undergo a rigorous review process and a decision is made by the GCF board whether or not to support the project.

Funding proposals must include an Impact Assessment to ensure the project meets the Environmental and Social Standards (ESS), including gender, of the GCF. This requires extensive consultation with those who would be affected by the project, and must be published 120 days before the Board decision for category A (high risk) projects and 30 days for category B (medium risk) projects.

To ensure country ownership, the Accredited Entity is required to submit a no objection letter issued and signed by the NDA of the relevant country associated with the funding proposal. The no objection letter should be submitted within 30 days of the proposal itself, but can be separate from the proposal.

Upon submission, the GCF Secretariat carries out a receipt and completeness check by assessing the submitted funding proposal and the technical specifications alongside the documents that need to accompany it. At this stage, the GCF Secretariat may reach out to the Accredited Entity for additional information and provide guidance on how to strengthen the application for a more detailed review.

3. Assessment of the funding proposal by GCF

Following the initial completeness check, the GCF Secretariat undertakes a more detailed assessment of the project proposal, including assessing how the project aligns with the six GCF Investment Criteria. The Secretariat also assesses compliance with GCF policies, including, but not limited to:

  • Fiduciary standards
  • Risk management
  • Environment and Social Standards (ESS)
  • Monitoring and Evaluation criteria
  • Gender policy
  • Legal standards

Once the proposal has passed the initial review stage, the GCF Secretariat forwards its assessment, along with the submitted proposal and supporting documents, to the Independent Technical Advisory Panel (ITAP).

The Independent Technical Advisory Panel (ITAP), composed of six international experts: three from developing countries and three from developed countries, assesses the funding proposals against the six GCF investment criteria. ITAP may provide conditions and recommendations to the funding proposal at its discretion. At this point, Accredited Entities may be requested by the ITAP to provide clarifications, while liaising with the GCF Secretariat.

4. GCF Board Decision

Following review and assessment by the GCF Secretariat and the ITAP, the funding proposal package is submitted to the GCF Board. The package consists of the funding proposal, supporting documents, a no objection letter signed by the NDA, and summary of assessments made by the GCF Secretariat and ITAP.

Based on the GCF Secretariat and ITAP assessments, Accredited Entities may be requested to provide additional clarification about their funding proposal. The GCF Board – generally meeting three times a year - considers the proposal, with a unanimous decision required.

The GCF Board can choose one of three possible decisions:

  • Approve funding
  • Approve funding with the conditions and recommendations that modifications are made to the funding proposal
  • Reject the funding proposal

5. Legal arrangements

Once a funding proposal is approved by the GCF Board the GCF Secretariat negotiates with the Accredited Entity in order to sign a Funded Activity Agreement (FAA) which lays the groundwork for the implementation phase of the project or programme.

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