More than 40 government officials and civil society representatives in Belize have completed the first segment of a three-part climate change proposal ‘writeshop’.
The writeshop series aims to build the skills they need to unlock millions in international climate finance, by writing stronger, more successful funding proposals for climate projects.
The initiative is funded by the United Nations Development Program ‘Climate Promise’ initiative and implemented by the National Climate Change Office (NCCO) of Belize with the support of the Commonwealth Climate Finance Access Hub.
It contributes to the Government’s national climate finance strategy to close the US$1.65 billion gap in funding required to deliver Belize’s updated climate plans and commitments under the Paris Agreement (also known as its Nationally Determined Contribution or NDC).
Key challenges for small states
The Commonwealth National Climate Finance Adviser deployed in Belize as part of the Commonwealth Climate Finance Access Hub, Ranga Pallawala, is supporting the NCCO to deliver the writeshop.
He said: “Key challenges remain for many of the world’s small states such as Belize, who struggle with limited capacity. This is partly linked to the complicated processes and requirements from donor agencies and financing facilities for financing proposals.
“Not only is there limited expertise and knowledge within the country to navigate these onerous requirements, but also limited human resources to cope with the workload required.”
For example, a larger country with well-resourced government departments may have several teams of people working on a single funding application, whereas a small island nation can often have one officer or a very small team serving multiple functions.
The writeshop helps tackle these challenges by building the capacity of national actors to better understand the financing instruments currently available, write robust proposals for viable, bankable projects, and manage the application process efficiently.
‘Climate proofing’ funding proposals
The first part of the series, which ran from 29-30 September in the capital city Belmopan, reviewed the international climate finance landscape as well as Belize’s national climate finance strategy.
Participants learned how different climate finance sources and instruments worked, such as the Green Climate Fund and the Adaptation Fund. They brainstormed project ideas and examined the key elements of a strong climate change project proposal, hearing directly from the experiences of funders and other experts in the field.
Chief Climate Change Officer of Belize, Dr Lennox Gladden said: “Some of our stakeholders may be used to writing more conventional project proposals. However, unless they ‘climate proof’ these proposals, there is a high chance that it will take a lot of feedback and follow up queries from funders, including time-consuming revisions and rewrites, before the proposal is accepted.
“Additionally, to be truly comprehensive or a bankable, a project proposal must go beyond just the environmental factor. It must include aspects such as the impact on communities, the feasibility of investing, and how the project aligns with national strategies.”
Mr Pallawala added that elements such as a clear climate-related rationale for the project, as well as scientific data and hard evidence to back up the proposal were also important.
The second and third part of the series, to take place over the next several weeks, will go into detail on how to develop an impactful concept note and full project proposal. The writeshop series is not a mere capacity building initiative as it will result in several bankable climate proposals.
By the end of the three-part session, participants are expected to be competent and confident in climate change project proposal formulation.
To find out more about the Commonwealth Climate Finance Access Hub, visit Commonwealth Climate Finance Access Hub.
- Josephine Latu-Sanft Senior Communications Officer, Communications Division, Commonwealth Secretariat
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