Direct access to climate funds can help to ensure harmonization with national priorities, speed up delivery and cut transaction costs by 'domesticating' core activities. This was some of the reasons why the Civil Society Network for Climate Change (CISONECC) at its 2nd quarterly meeting for 2013 decided to lobby the Government of Malawi to
1: establish a National Implementing Entity (NIE) to enable Malawi to access funds directly from international climate funding mechanisms without going through multilateral agencies
2: develop a National Adaptation Plan (NAP) to define a medium to long term framework for addressing national adaptation needs.
National Adaptation Plans
The United Nations Framework Convention to on Climate Change (UNFCCC) recently adopted guidelines for the development of NAPs. Compared with the urgent adaption priorities in National Adaptation Programmes of Action, NAPs are meant to address medium to long term adaptation needs.
In Malawi government has initiated discussions about the development of a NAP but progress has largely stalled. For this reason, civil society organisations will advocate more intensely for the development of a NAP. They argue that critical issues affecting vulnerable communities will have to be included in NAP to ensure responsiveness to the needs and priories of communities.
From planning to action
Lessons from the National Adaptation Programmes of Action have showed that planning frameworks have limited consequence if they are not complemented with financing mechanisms for planned priorities. A National Implementing Entity (NIE) is a mechanism that could help to increase the national capacity to implement prioritised actions once the NAP has been developed.
Direct access as a model
The Adaptation Fund was established by UNFCCC to finance concrete adaptation projects and programmes in developing countries. They access these funds by going through multilateral agencies such as the World Bank, United Nations Development Programme and the African Development Bank referred to as Multilateral Implementing Entities (MIEs).
To ensure enhanced access to adaptation funds, the developing countries can also access these funds through a nationally owned and managed institution. This provision is gaining increased attention among developing countries as it is considered to be an innovative element of the Fund's governance structure that seeks to ensure a country's ownership of efforts to address impacts of climate change. In addition, if countries can manage to have direct access, it will serve as a model for future funding, including the ongoing establishment of a 'Green Climate Fund'.
Going beyond the rhetoric
CISONECC recognizes the flux of terminologies in climate change some of which have distant connection to immediate needs and realities on the ground. Accordingly, CISONECC will work towards ensuring that development of a National Adaptation Plan and a National Implementing Entity do not become ends in themselves but provide means towards enhancing adaptive capacities of communities to the impacts of climate change.