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Call for projects: 2nd round of Challenge Program for Adaptation Innovation ($10m)

Challenge Program for Adaptation Innovation - cleanbuild

Call for projects: 2nd round of Challenge Program for Adaptation Innovation ($10m)

The Global Environment Facility (GEF) has launched the second round of the Challenge Program for Adaptation Innovation with a total value of US$10 million.

Hence, innovators of climate change solutions and adaptation in the private sector are invited to submit their project concepts requesting not more than US$2 million, of which Agency Fees and Project Preparation Grant (PPG) are inclusive.

About GEF

An international organization comprising 183 countries, international institutions, civil society organizations, and the private sector, the GEF supports climate adaptation efforts mainly through the Least Developed Countries Fund (LDCF) and the Special Climate Change Fund (SCCF).

Having begun operation in 2001, the GEF has disbursed almost US$2.0 billion in grant financing and mobilized more than US$13 billion from other sources for 386 adaptation projects in 130 countries, including all least developed countries (LDCs) and 33 small island developing states (SIDS).

In 2019, the GEF launched the Challenge Program for Adaptation Innovation in alignment with its Programming Strategy on Adaptation to Climate Change for the Least Developing Fund (LDCF) and the Special Climate Change Fund (SCCF).

The Challenge Program for Adaptation Innovation aims to catalyze innovation to harness the power of private sector actors for achieving adaptation results. It is designed to test, validate and highlight scalable investment approaches, business models, partnerships, and technologies.

Through the program high-impact projects that have the potential for replication and upscaling in cooperation with investors and other sources of climate adaptation finance, will be selected. Thus, all climate change adaptation sectors and themes are eligible under the Challenge Program for Adaptation Innovation.

Based on the guidance, insight, recommendation from the LDCF/SCCF Council, the Scientific and Technical Advisory Panel (STAP), the Independent Evaluation Office of the GEF, and previous experience from the first round of the Challenge Program, the strong potential exists to catalyze innovation and private sector investment in adaptation through a range of the following strategies:

(a) Commercialization and scaling up of Nature-based solutions for climate change adaptation and resilience, including through local community action.

(b) Testing and modeling innovations in climate adaptation financial products and services, including blue and green bonds for climate adaptation; investment funds; financing facilities, payments for ecosystem services; and insurance.

(c) Developing lines of credit, lending products, and methodologies to produce inclusive finance products with microfinance partners for localized climate adaptation action by micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs).

(d) Commercializing and scaling up the use of first-of-a-kind and disruptive technologies for climate adaptation and resilience.

(e) Strengthening climate risk disclosure and management policies, regulations, and practice to motivate investment in climate adaptation action.

(f) Enhancing ownership and active participation of female stakeholders in climate change adaptation business development.

(g) Private sector (including MSMEs) engagement for climate change adaptation with local livelihood benefits in conflict-sensitive contexts and with youth.

(h) Incorporation of private sector engagement for climate adaptation and resilience in recovery strategies from the COVID-19 pandemic.

(i) Policy interventions to enable innovation and localized climate change adaptation action.

Eligibility criteria

Submission of project concepts is open to any proponent and is not limited to GEF Agencies.

  • All developing countries are eligible to benefit from SCCF funding under the Challenge Program.
  • Concepts must take place in, and/or address the needs of the LDCs
  • Concept notes can seek grant finance, investment in the form of non-grant instruments, or a combination. Note, however, that concepts that seek resources from the LDCF are to be grant-based.
Evaluation process

During the pre-selection process, projects submitted through the GEF formal project cycle will be identified and prioritized.

To ensure there’s diversity and balanced distribution among eligible countries and regions, concepts will be rated based on these criteria:

  • Potential for addressing climate hazards and their impacts;
  • Potential to address key barriers including the reduction of risk for motivating private sector investment in climate change adaptation and resilience;
  • Degree of innovation, including the potential to contribute to recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic; and
  • Potential to catalyze private sector investment in climate change adaptation at scale.

Emphasis will be placed on concepts that promote innovation and risk-taking for climate adaptation impact, including through system transformation and non-traditional partnership for the GEF.

How to submit

Concepts are to be submitted to the GEF Secretariat by email at <[email protected]>. Any questions about the call for proposals should be directed to this e-mail. For further information about the Challenge Program for Adaptation Innovation, click here.


Submission of projects ends on Monday, August 23, 2021.

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