Readiness and Preparatory Support Programme

Synopsis & commentary:

This report presents the findings of the Independent Evaluation of the Readiness and Preparatory Support Programme (RPSP) of the Green Climate Fund (GCF) as of October 2018. It assesses the extent to which RPSP processes are fulfilling the intended objectives of the RPSP as well as the objectives of country ownership. It provides findings and recommendations for the RPSP in areas including country ownership, innovativeness, and scalability.

Overall findings are spread across seven criteria, and the most relevant are summarized below:

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- The design of the RPSP strongly emphasizes a country-driven and country-owned approach for providing climate finance by aiming to help beneficiary countries (i) strengthen their NDA/FPs to lead effective intra-governmental coordination mechanisms; (ii) establish a legitimate and transparent no-objection procedure (NOP); (iii) effectively engage stakeholders (including civil society organizations [CSOs] and the private sector) in the preparation of coherent country programmes; (iv) support the accreditation/capacity-building of Direct Access Entities (DAEs); and (v) formulate National Adaptation Plans (NAPs) and/or other adaptation planning processes. - The design of the RPSP is broader and more ambitious compared to comparator funds.

This comparison shows that in its design, the RPSP has been supporting a broader and more ambitious range of readiness activities than the other comparator funds, consistent with the overall ambition of the GCF as a whole.

The RPSP is the only fund that allows unaccredited entities to serve as DPs for readiness projects.

One of few: - The GCF and the MLF are the only funds that finance institutional strengthening projects to augment the capacities of their national FPs. - The GCF and the AF are the only two funds that have open-ended windows for eligible organizations to seek accreditation to prepare, submit, and implement investment projects.


- Prior to the GCF RPSP, several other bilateral and multilateral agencies were already supporting climate finance Readiness activities for developing countries. Their prior financial and technical support has helped some countries become front-runners in terms of engaging with the GCF. - To date, the evaluation found that RPSP-supported country programming has focused primarily on countries’ engagement with the GCF.

GCF Commentary

The RPSP supports countries with development of the Country Programme and the programming exercise with the adequate stakeholder engagements. The Country Programme intends to set the cornerstones to the beginning of all GCF projects in the first stage of the GCF Project Activity Cycle, by guiding countries align their national climate priorities with the GCF’s strategic plan. A critical enabling factor for climate programming reported by countries is the presence of a strong supporting body or institutional coordination mechanism at the design stage that helps the NDAs plan adaptation and low-emission climate-resilient investments and project pipelines (GCF B.34/Inf.11/Rev.01: para 126).


- Although the RPSP has not yet strongly contributed to ensuring country ownership in target countries, the Programme holds promise. - There has been some success, although it is by no means uniform.

GCF Commentary

According to the Readiness Programme’s key results and achievements as of December 2021 in the Annual Portfolio Performance Report (GCF B.34/Inf.11/Rev.01), the preliminary analysis informs that overall, the Readiness Programme is making good progress in supporting developing countries to get ‘ready’ to develop and programme climate actions based on country driven approaches.


- The RPSP has been most effective in organizing information-sharing events that have enabled engagement with the GCF. The RPSP has been more effective in its support of consultations with stakeholders. - Structured Dialogues and the DAE workshops have been much appreciated by NDA/FPs and DAEs in creating greater awareness of GCF procedures and processes. - The RPSP has also provided valuable support to countries in identifying and nominating potential candidates for accreditation. It has been effective in moving these candidates through basic or upgraded accreditation exceptionally in SIDS.- The revised RPSP Guidebook has been well received by the large majority of NDA/FPs.

GCF Commentary

The Readiness results assessment study conducted in 2021 points to the lessons learned from the achieved results of the RPSP that DAEs require more support such as institutional capacity building and accreditation process-related support as well as developing systems and platforms for knowledge management (GCF B.34/Inf.11/Rev.01: para 125). The RPSP Guidebook and the standard operating procedure (SOP) will be shared with the stakeholders soon.

There is a widespread perception among NDA/FPs that the RPSP application process requires disproportionate efforts and costs in relation to the level of support provided for projects. - When processing times are analyzed by country groups, significant disparities remain: processing times for proposals from SIDS and LAC countries are much higher than for others.

GCF Commentary

With the aim of improving the operations of the RPSP, the Secretariat has continued to identify and implement further operational actions. These operational actions are captured in a readiness action plan that the Secretariat will focus on implementing during 2022-2023, comprised of three main operational priorities: increase efficiency, strengthen effectiveness and enhance long term, strategic alignment. Amongst others, the GCF’s efforts in improving the operations of the RPSP application process include:

  • Adopting a streamlined readiness review process based on updated standard operating procedures, which reduces the number of review and approval steps and reviewers involved, while maintaining common review standards to enhance the consistency of feedback

  • Enhancing support to NDAs and delivery partners during the development phase of Readiness Programme proposals to increase the quality of submissions at pipeline entry;

  • Adjusting the timetable for readiness submissions and approvals to provide additional development time to countries to prepare high quality proposals to utilize their annual allocations;

  • Engaging countries and delivery partners earlier in the grant agreement process, with a view to reducing lengthy times spent on post-approval legal processing, while also providing focused support and capacity building during implementation.

Source: Readiness and Preparatory Support Programme – work programme and budget 2022–2023 (GCF B,33/07)


- Capacity building needs to be customized. - Learning and planning needs to be supported with suitable tools. - The needs of the private sector must be recognized explicitly including in mitigating potential obstacles related to policy.

GCF Commentary

The updated RPSP strategy contains the Readiness Programme objectives redesigned to be mutually reinforcing, guiding outputs and activities at the country level. The objective 5 knowledge sharing and learning was newly introduced with the updated strategy to support countries, Delivery Partners and implementing partners for consolidating capture of knowledge, sharing of best practices and creation and dissemination of knowledge products to advance South-South learning and creating feedback loops to inform learning-based origination

The report concludes by suggesting that the RPSP define its vision, strategy, niche, and overall targets and expected results more clearly. It may do this through two scenarios: the first comprises of a business-as-usual plus pathway, in which the modalities of the program focus on specific areas that help ease access and decrease transaction costs; the second consists of the RPSP customizing its strategic focus to national contexts, results and works, and providing differentiated services based on country needs and types.

GCF Commentary

Enlightened by the recommendations from the IEU’s evaluation study on the RPSP and reflecting lessons learnt from programming since GCF B.22, the Secretariat has refined areas of focus in the 2022-2023 work programme.

Strategic focus on national contexts:

  • Strengthening institutional capacity: strengthening national coordination mechanisms for the engagement of relevant country stakeholders such as civil society organizations and private sector actors, to support the planning, programming and implementation of GCF-funded activities

  • Developing and implementing strategic frameworks: honing the use of country programmes and NAPs as tools to translate country priorities into concrete climate investment plans, matching climate programming ideas to the most suitable sources of public, private or blended finance including GCF resources, including for small-scale activities eligible for the simplified approval process (SAP), in line with the updated SAP policy

Focus on results:

  • Pipeline development: guiding pipeline development efforts to ensure that project ideas and concept notes for adaptation and mitigation projects and programmes developed for GCF are informed by country priorities, the Strategic Plan for the GCF 2020-2023 programming targets and stress tested against GCF investment criteria at an early stage

  • Strengthening national adaptation planning: strengthening use of climate risk, vulnerability and systemic resilience assessments developed through the first generation of adaptation planning support as a basis for more integrated, programmatic, evidence-driven design of adaptation investments

Strengthening institutional capacity:

  • Better enabling end-to-end DAE readiness for GCF programming through support for meeting fiduciary, environmental and social safeguards and gender standards, climate project development and implementation capacity

  • Supporting private sector engagement in developing countries, and country-led policy initiatives to remove barriers and strengthen investment environments for the private sector, in line with the Private Sector Strategy approved by the Board at B.32

Source: Readiness and Preparatory Support Programme – work programme and budget 2022–2023 (GCF B,33/07)