FAO Regional Office for Europe and Central Asia

GCF Country Programme lays the foundations for transformative climate finance in North Macedonia

Today North Macedonia concluded the country's second Green Climate Fund (GCF) readiness project, laying the foundation for country-driven climate action in the future. The closing event in Skopje was organized by FAO and the Cabinet of the Deputy President of the Government in charge of economic affairs, in its capacity as GCF National Designated Authority for the Green Climate Fund (GCF).

The Green Climate Fund is an important partner of North Macedonia in accessing climate financing for the achievement of climate action targets under the Paris Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals, and attaining the country's climate obligations in view of the European Union pre-accession process.

Building on the results of the first readiness project completed in 2019, the second project resulted in FAO and the government working together on further strengthening the knowledge and capacity of the National Designated Authority and relevant partners on accessing the Green Climate Fund.

FAO supported the government in the development and submission of North Macedonia's first GCF Country Work Programme, addressing key climate change priorities in priority sectors – energy, transport, water resources, agriculture, waste, biodiversity, health, forestry, and cultural heritage – and scoping potential investments that could be translated into fully funding projects that are aligned with national development and climate priorities, as well as SDGs and GCF investment criteria.

Deputy President of the Government, in charge of economic affairs Fatmir Bytyqi highlighted the benefits of the project, including the finalization of the first national GCF Country Work Programme with specific priorities and detailed project ideas in the identified priority sectors, which will be implemented “as part of North Macedonia's efforts to tackle climate change.”

He stressed the importance of the accreditation process to the Green Climate Fund, adding that the Macedonian Fund for Innovation and Technology Development will be the first accredited institution to the Green Climate Fund in the Western Balkans with direct access to the GCF.

“We are glad to have delivered a long-lasting impact beyond the project’s lifespan by leveraging the extensive expertise of FAO, as a Green Climate Fund-accredited entity, in support of North Macedonia as the country scales-up national capacity to mobilize GCF climate finance for country-driven, climate change mitigation and adaptation actions,” said Nabil Gangi, FAO Deputy Regional Representative.

Recognizing the pivotal role of the private sector in low-emission and climate-resilient development through this second readiness project, FAO and the Government put particular emphasis on unlocking the potential of local private companies in climate investments through educating them on climate change issues, climate finance, and the use of technology and innovation for climate change adaptation and mitigation. 

To support private entities learning more on the crucial terminology, concepts, experiences, and opportunities to engage with climate action and climate investment, FAO developed the first-of-its-kind, online toolkit for private sector engagement in climate action.

A major step to enhance private sector engagement in climate action and investments has been the recent decision of North Macedonia’s Government for nominating the Fund of Innovation and Technology Development of North Macedonia to be the first national entity to initiate the GCF accreditation process. By having a national direct access entity, the country can access the Green Climate Fund directly, exercising full country ownership of climate change funding and better integrating this with the country's national climate action plans.

In this context, the Deputy President of the Government in charge of economic affairs and the Director of the Fund for Innovation and Technological Development signed a Memorandum of Cooperation today to anchor the future partnership on climate action with the private sector. As a first step, they launched their first joint open call entitled “Climate Change Challenge” by inviting all interested private companies to submit project ideas proposing development or use of innovative climate-friendly, clean technologies that can contribute to climate change mitigation or adaptation in the country's priority sectors.

Festim Halili, Director of the Fund for Innovation and Technological Development, noted that this is a real example of project sustainability and immediate action. “As governments put in place targeted policies and incentives to achieve climate change and green growth ambitions, we are providing the private sector a unique opportunity to deliver the investments needed to spur innovation and drive climate action across sectors.

14 June, 2022, Skopje, North Macedonia