The Green Climate Fund and Civil Society Engagement and Participation, a case of Uganda

Authored by: Okot Agiro Gabriel, and Susan Nanduddu


The authors appreciate and recognize the input and contribution to this article by:

Mr. Andrew Masaba – Senior Economist and Desk Officer for Climate Change Financing, Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development;

Dr. Joshua Zaake, Executive Director for Environment Alert, also a member of the Project Board (Building Resilient Communities, Wetland Ecosystems and Associated Catchments in Uganda), and host to the Environment and Natural Resources CSO Network; and

Mr Anthony Wolimbwa–Technical Advisor and Capacity Building Manager at CAN Uganda, and member of the NDA.

Okot Agiro Gabriel, Project Manager at CARE International in Uganda. He is an Agriculturalist by Profession, and currently Pursuing a Masters of Science in Climate Change and Disaster Management at Busitema University (2018/2020) in Uganda.

Susan Nanduddu, Executive Director, African Centre for Trade and Development.


The Green Climate Fund (GCF) is a unique global fund created to support the efforts of developing countries to respond to the challenge of climate change. GCF helps developing countries limit or reduce their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and adapt to climate change. It seeks to promote a paradigm shift to low-emission and climate-resilient development, taking into account the needs of nations that are particularly vulnerable to climate change impacts. The fund reiterates, that responding to the climate challenge requires collective action from all countries, including active participation by and engagement of both public and private sectors. Among these concerted efforts, advanced economies have agreed to jointly mobilize significant financial resources. Coming from a variety of sources, these resources address the pressing mitigation and adaptation needs of developing countries.

Green Climate Fund in Uganda.

In Uganda, like in other African countries, the National Designated Authority (NDA) is mandated to support GCF processes such as projects’ assessment and approvals, issuance of a no-objection certificate/letter, and/or application for accreditation, among other roles and responsibilities. The NDA meet as and when there is GCF business to discuss and complete. The NDA regularly shares information about the fund through a mailing list where these CSOs are included. The expectation is that the same would be shared with the wider constituencies.

The GCF has so far approved some projects (such as Building Resilient Communities, Wetland Ecosystems and Associated Catchments, and Acumen Resilient Agriculture Fund) that will be implemented in Uganda under the administrative umbrella of Accredited Entities (AEs) such as United Nations Develop Programme (UNDP), and ACUMEN Fund Inc. These projects and those in the pipeline will be directly implemented by executing entities.

The NDA has engaged proactively with various national entities in Uganda in determining their suitability to become accredited to the GCF as NIEs for the Fund’s projects. To date, the Ministry of Water and Environment (MoWE) and the Kampala City Council Authority (KCCA) have been nominated by the NDA and are both engaged in the process of becoming accredited to the GCF.

Engagement of CSOs and Private Sector Entities in the GCF Readiness Process.

A wide array of stakeholders are important in the GCF readiness and accreditation process, notably the Civil Society Organizations (CSOs). The Uganda GCF programme document (Final Draft 2016), articulates the need to conduct a Comprehensive Climate Change Actor Landscape including stakeholders in climate financing. However, it also appreciates that a wider stakeholder base was reached during the development of the Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC).

The loud success of the GCF is in the common interest of governments and civil society, and not at the least the intended beneficiaries, in developing countries, but also of the global community as a whole. The common agenda provides an important basis for identifying strategies and approaches for working together effectively, constructive where possible and critical where necessary. The NDA in Uganda has a committee with two representatives coming from the CSOs.

CSOs have different priorities and thus strengths. Their hands-on and on-ground experience in implementation of climate-relevant activities, both mitigation and adaptation, can be harnessed for designing, submitting and implementing effective GCF programmes. Expertise and capacity in the functioning of the GCF, both globally and at national level, is not only important for CSOs to be appreciated as critical dialogue partners with government representatives, GCF structures (like NDAs) or implementing entities, but also to contribute to the capacity development of these structures and other relevant stakeholders, including the beneficiaries of projects. Policy engagement and advocacy experience can play a role highlighting and promoting solutions to issues identified as critical or problematic.

It is thus imperative for CSOs to take responsibility to be informed and stay on top of the GCF debates, participate in identification of joint priorities when engaging with government institutions; support awareness raising, learning and monitoring of projects; and foster interests in accountability and transparency with regards to actions and activities undertaken.

However, CSOs can only effectively participate in the GCF country process if there is deliberate need to increase their capacity in obtaining and processing the multiple information that is available (e.g. on the GCF website) and address limited access to relevant information in certain areas (such as the NDA calendar and or current GCF readiness activities in-country). Other challenges include limited capacities and financial resources to invest time into understanding and engaging with the GCF in-country (and globally) and for designing impactful proposals and accessing resources from the GCF.

Otherwise there is need to enhance the effectiveness of CSO engagement in relation to the GCF, both national and regional level. This could be through use and dissemination of existing tools more proactively, such as GCF fact sheets; sharing agendas and learnings from national workshops and frameworks for state-of-play assessments etc.; actively sharing proceedings and outcomes of the workshop with CSO constituencies in their home countries; starting to develop national CSO strategies towards GCF engagement; proactively strengthening relationships with NDAs, implementing entities with a defined common agenda and agreed terms of engagement etc., continuous dissemination of information about the GCF in the general public; and using other meeting and workshop opportunities to capacitate CSOs on the GCF readiness.


Overall strengthening the engagement of civil society actors and organisations from Uganda and across Africa in the GCF processes is an important step to scale-up existing CSOs capacities to advocate for ambitious and bankable proposals, bring on-the-ground expertise to the round-table and ensure accountability of GCF-funded activities by national authorities.
Uganda GCF Country Programme—Final Draft, 2016

For More Information, contact the Authors:
Okot Agiro Gabriel on or
Susan Nanduddu on or