Adaptation Portfolio & Approach of the GCF

Synopsis & commentary:

This report presents the findings of the Independent Evaluation on how the Green Climate Fund, a young, large and ambitious multilateral climate fund, can contribute to a paradigm shift in adaptation. At the eleventh board meeting, the GCF Board reaffirmed that the RPSP may support a voluntary country-driven national adaptation planning process. One of the objectives of the updated RPSP strategy is the strengthened national adaptation planning (NAP). In particular, the RPSP provides the flexible support for countries to set priorities in the climate adaptation investments and work on the project development and technical preparation, not to mention the development of the National Adaptation Plan document. In this regard, chapter IV Adaptation planning of this study is most relevant to the Readiness and Preparatory Support Programme. The report is complemented by country case studies and project deep dives, based in the Guatemala case study.

Additional downloads


Final report

Executive summary

Country case studies


Readiness programme (Capacity for adaptation planning)

Private sector


- Among the climate funds, the GCF has the strongest private sector focus and the best ability to scale projects through its large fund size, risk appetite and flexible suite of financial instruments.

- Based on country needs, adaptation innovation in “software” (i.e. organizational, behavioral and procedural) is needed the most.

- The requirements for proposals, capacity concerns and matchmaking with adequate delivery partners are perceived hurdles in accessing RPSP for adaptation planning.

GCF Commentary

The Readiness support for adaptation planning enables countries to strengthen the role and involvement of national and local stakeholders in the design and implementation of adaptation interventions, including private sector and non-governmental organizations.

- Fully attributing GCF RPSP to concrete outcomes is challenging, as is assessing quality as no outcome or impact measurement framework is operational yet.

GCF Commentary

After the publication of this study in Feb 2021, the GCF Secretariat has developed the Readiness Results Management Framework to enhance the monitoring tools and management systems. The RRMF based on the updated RPSP strategy (GCF B.22/08) has five objectives, one of which include a total of four outcomes and twelve objectives under the objective 3 national adaptation plans and adaptation planning processes. Four outcomes for the adaptation-related Readiness objective are as below.

  • Adaptation planning governance and institutional coordination strengthened

  • Evidence produced to design adaptation solutions for maximum impact

  • Private sector engagement in adaptation catalysed

  • Adaptation finance increased.


A valuable country case study on the potential for readiness support to have transformative impacts is on Guatemala (p.21-40). As the country has little capacity to own, lead and monitor the process of adaptation, the role of the readiness programme and three readiness grants has been crucial to strengthening institutional capacity, delineating the country’s key priorities and ensuring that high quality concept notes are presented to the GCF. Challenges remain affecting the programme’s effectiveness, including a lack of continuity in governments, country ownership, and no local entity being accredited with the GCF.