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Best practice and lesson 6: Good relations with the GEF agency result in smoother implementation of NAPA projects
 
The process of accessing funding under the LDCF underpins the process of preparing and implementing a NAPA. Following COP guidance, the GEF responds with operational guidance on how countries can access funding via a GEF agency.

The role of the GEF agency is to assist the country in formulating a coherent project idea, based on one (or more) of the highest-ranking NAPA priorities, and convert this idea into a PIF in accordance with current LDCF templates. The country can choose freely between each of the 9 GEF agencies for the implementation of its project(s). It is also possible to implement separate projects with separate agencies, or have two or more agencies working together in one project to utilize their expertise in specific sectors. The choice of GEF agency(ies) should be based on its comparative advantage in relation to the specific issues addressed by the project implemented. Additional considerations include current projects being implemented by the agency chosen, past experiences and working relations with the agency.

There has been considerable discussion of the experience of LDC Parties in accessing funding during previous LEG meetings and in an effort to improve this process, the LEG conducted training on how to write proposals to the GEF. Each agency has its own procedures for developing projects, and although the agency will assist the country in fulfilling all the requirements for the project, this may lead to delays in processing the project and misunderstandings if the requirements are not clearly communicated.

Experience shows that countries that chose an agency with which they had had a previous positive experience in other projects had a higher level of satisfaction, mostly because better interaction also meant greater transparency in the exchange of information, a clear understanding of each other’s roles and responsibilities, a better ownership of the projects and more realistic expectations regarding the whole process.

After a lot of dialogue between the GEF and its agencies with LDC Parties, as well as the training conducted by the LEG in close collaboration with the GEF and its agencies, many of the bottlenecks have been addressed and access to funding appears to be much smoother. The time taken to obtain GEF CEO endorsement for projects has been reduced and many more GEF agencies are becoming involved in NAPA implementation.
 
Best practice: One of the challenges that some countries face is in the choice of a GEF agency. There is no clear-cut process for selecting an agency, since more than one agency can usually assist with a given project type and because the factors in the choice are varied. A good practice seems to be to choose an agency that has existing experience in a given activity, since the agency can then easily apply its expertise to the project. In any case, taking the time to assess each agency’s advantages against the country’s specific circumstances and project objectives can ensure a smoother overall process.

Lessons learned: Many countries have reported that good working relations with an agency at the country level can lead to a very positive interaction and smooth implementation of NAPA projects. Good communication is also important in addressing and resolving bottlenecks as they arise. In cases where problems arise, countries can and should contact the GEF secretariat directly for assistance. In the long run, addressing and resolving problems as they arise is far easier than cancelling a project and re-entering the GEF/LDCF pipeline with a new submission and another agency.

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