Southern Africa Climate Finance Partnership

Following the signing of the Paris Agreement by the Conference of the Parties (COP) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the integration of climate change knowledge into development planning and implementation is critical to ensure ambitious action to tackle climate change and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. The Green Climate Fund (GCF) is the largest multilateral fund with a United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change mandate.

However, the GCF is just one part of the varied and growing climate finance landscape, and it is currently constrained by a lack of impactful and fundable proposals in its pipeline, with limited cases of coordinated national portfolios that include transformative development pathways at the scale required to address the threat of climate change. Numerous actors (including GCF National Designated Authorities / Focal Points, Accredited Entities, and project developers) face challenges when sequencing and activating transformative project portfolios. The quality, scale, and coordination of pipelines should be addressed through:

  • A systematic, coordinated approach by developing countries accessing the GCF and other climate finance; and
  • Partnership, collaboration, learning, and ultimately enhanced capability to coordinate transformative investments.

Building on various international agreements and the momentum of the first GCF Structured Dialogue with Africa (October 2016), there are significant opportunities to integrate climate finance into the programming development finance in Africa. The GCF’s Strategic Plan (March 2016) necessitates coordination among African stakeholders on their approach to integrating climate finance into their development trajectories.

The Southern Africa Climate Finance Partnership (SACFP) involves the development of a regional partnership to improve country-owned climate finance portfolios. These portfolios should be able to access the GCF and other climate finance avenues, and mobilise private investment where possible. During Phase 1 (July 2016 to March 2017) support was provided to Namibia, Zambia and South Africa to engage and test the Partnership model as an approach to undertaking this sequencing exercise. The United Kingdom’s Department of International Development provided funding for Phase 1 of the SACFP administered via the Southern Africa Trust under the South African Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation. SACFP Phase 2 (October 2017 to August 2019) will establish a two-year partnership involving collaborative country programming to sequence ambitious climate finance in Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, and Zambia, again drawing on the leadership of South Africa. The Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and the UK’s Department of International Development (DFID) are providing the resources for the technical support provided by the the partnership to support ambitious climate finance access within the Southern African region.

Select Southern Africa Climate Finance Partnership outputs:

Country diagnostics:

Helpful climate finance resources for practitioners:



Climate finance

UNFCCC communications



Core readings:

Additional readings: