As the largest pot of climate funding available to developing countries, the Green Climate Fund (GCF) holds huge promise. As it enters into operation, national institutions, including government, can apply to access GCF’s resources ‘directly’. But the rigorous accreditation process appears a barrier to many, which coupled with unclear benefits is likely to undermine the zeal for direct access in developing countries. But experiences from another key climate fund, the Adaptation Fund, show that preparing for direct access has inherent co-benefits beyond accessing finance. The trials of accreditation may involve vital growing pains that also strengthen national institutions, and even improve country systems. Though cumbersome, the GCF direct access accreditation process presents an opportunity to improve a nation’s future bargaining capacity to access climate finance ‘at scale’, creating a positive cycle of funding success.
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