Funding for global environmental benefits was conceived in early 1990s with the establishment of the Global Environment Facility (GEF) in October 1991 in the World Bank (WB). This US$ 1 billion pilot programme assists developing countries in protecting environment and promoting sustainable development with new and additional grants and concessional funding. GEF has funded number of programmes and projects to implement three Rio Conventions (climate change, biodiversity and desertification) and reduce human pressure on environmental resources.
During the last one and half-decade, Special Climate Change Fund (SCCF), LDC Fund, Adaptation Fund (AF) and Green climate Fund (GCF) have been established by Parties to the UNFCCC to finance climate change activities such as adaptation, mitigation, technology development and capacity building.
Nepal as a Party to the UNFCCC accessed fund to prepare initial national communication (INC) in late 1990s through UNEP. Nepal prepared and shared its INC with Parties in mid-2004. In 2004, Nepal received support for technology needs assessment (TNA). The then Ministry of Population and Environment was dissolved in 2005. The Ministry of Science and Technology was renamed as the Ministry of Environment, Science and Technology with the inclusion of mandate on environment. Poor documentation and/or information sharing took 4 years in locating this TNA Project (in 2009). From 2008, Nepal accessed climate change fund (bilateral and multilateral sources) to prepare NAPA to address most urgent and immediate adaptation needs of the country, and for Second National Communication (SNC). NAPA preparation was supported from LDCF with additional support from DFID and Danish Embassy. Most of the LDCs prepared their NAPA with US$ 200 thousand LDCF support while Nepal spent nearly US$ 1.3 million for NAPA preparation. Nepal has utilising funds accessed from LDCF and SCCF but has yet to expedite process to utilise accessed fund from AF and GCF.
In 2009, Nepal accessed multi-million US$ from WB-administered Climate Investment Fund for Pilot Programme for Climate Resilience (PPCR) and Scaling-up Renewable Energy Programme (SREP). Initially, so-called climate change 'activists' levelled this PPCR as 'loan project' while the Government understood it as the 'concessional resource'. Nepal accessed funding from hundred thousand to multi-million $ till 2010.
Nepal preparation opened windows of opportunities to access bilateral and multilateral funding. The Nepal Climate Change Support Programme (NCCSP) is the first NAPA-prioritised adaptation programme, implemented in most climate vulnerable 14 districts of mid-west and far west Nepal with support from DFID and EU. Nepal accessed funding for GLOF and flood and ecosystem-based adaptation programmes from LDCF. LDCF has equal access opportunity to all LDCs and all US$ 30 million allocated to each LDC has been accessed. All project funding accessed during 2008 and 2012 are at implementation stage. Climate change community will recall leadership of two secretaries (Dr. Ganesh Raj Joshi, and Mr. Krishna Gyawali) in accessing bilateral and multilateral funds and in facilitating approval of NAPA, climate change policy and LAPA framework. This leadership proved instrumental in heightening implementation of climate change activities in Nepal.
Occasional efforts in the last 5 years have supported to access at least 'allocated funds' for Nepal. Except bilateral support, Nepal has accessed climate change funding through GEF implementing agency or accredited delivery partners. Direct access is not applicable to all funds and Nepal has yet to show its capacity to access 'direct access-provisioned fund'. In fact, UNFCCC focal point has to double or quadruple its efforts in accessing fund and/or respond timely in bringing accessed fund such as for implementation of climate change adaptation or formulation of National Adaptation Plan (NAP) or other projects. 'Non-response' syndrome has been detrimental in bringing accessed fund to Nepal.
Receiving support for climate change activities is not an easy task. Accessing fund through a good proposal along with series of questions and response is a difficult task. Approval of a financial proposal from multilateral fund leads to additional 4 steps: (i) preparation of agreed project documents; (ii) agreement in working modality, and roles and responsibilities of executing and implementing agencies; (iii) signing on project document; and (iv) channelling/transferring agreed amount to start the project. All steps (fund access to bringing to Capital) are difficult and country should follow each step and backup implementing or delivery partner.
There are many countries like Nepal requiring or accessing such fund. Nobody provides 'free lunch'. MoPE in its capacity as the UNFCCC focal point should make all efforts to expedite accessing and brining fund. Recalling the present situation, Nepal is making efforts in accessing fund and still much to do to 'real money' to Nepal. For this, strong leadership counts a lot and it has yet to understand or expedite the process. Nepal although recognised as 'leader in climate change adaptation' has yet to prove its effort in bringing approved climate change budget in the capital.
In fact, country itself should take the lead in accessing and bringing fund to the earliest possible. Accessing and mobilising fund and expenditure process differ from project to project and source of funding and 'supporting agencies'. For example, fund access, agreement and expenditure process for bilateral support differs with that of multilateral sources.
International competition exists in accessing fund for climate change activities. Sometimes, 'delaying tactics' create obstacles in agreeing working modality, transferring and spending funds. Expedited national efforts are urgently required to cross them and get the support timely. At present, UNFCCC focal point should change 'working gear' from 'neutral' to 'second/third' as Nepal proved it in 2007-2012 periods.