Global Climate Change Alliance

Global Climate Change Alliance


The Global Climate Change Alliance (GCCA) is an initiative of the European Union. Its overall objective is to build a new alliance on climate change between the European Union and the poor developing countries that are most affected and that have the least capacity to deal with climate change. The GCCA works through the European Commission’s established channels for political dialogue and cooperation at national and international level. In 2015, GCCA entereda new phase by becoming the flagship initiative Global Climate Change Alliance Plus (GCCA+). New features and a strategic orientation towards supporting the 2015 Paris Agreement on Climate Change and the 2030 Agenda forSustainable Development and its Sustainable Development Goals characterise this new phase.

Basic Description

Name of the Fund The Global Climate Change Alliance (GCCA), now called the Global Climate Change Alliance Plus (GCCA+)
Official Fund Website
Date Created
Date fund proposed: 2007
Date fund made operational: 2008
Proposed Life of Fund GCCA – 2008-2015

GCCA+ – 2015-undetermined (as of December 2020, GCCA+ is still operational and expanding).

Objectives The Global Climate Change Alliance (GCCA) was launched in 2007 by the European Commission to strengthen dialogue and cooperation on climate change between the European Union (EU) and developing countries most vulnerable to climate change, in particular Least Developed Countries (LDCs) and Small Island Developing States (SIDS), which are hardest hit by the adverse effects of climate change.

Following the Paris Agreement on Climate Change in 2015, the now GCCA+ initiative has expanded to include middle-income countries and supporting the implementation of Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs). Originally focused on adaptation and resilience building, since 2017 the mandate of GCCA+ has been extended to include mitigation activities.

The GCCA/GCCA+ acts as a platform for dialogue and exchange of experience between the EU and developing countries on climate policy and on practical approaches to integrate climate change into development policies and budgets with discussions taking place at global, regional and national levels.

The GCCA/GCCA+ also provides technical and financial support to partner countries to integrate climate change into their development policies and budgets, and to implement projects that address climate change on the ground, promoting climate-resilient, low-emission development. Technical and financial cooperation, in turn, inform political dialogue and exchange of experience at regional and global levels.

The ten GCCA/GCCA+ priority areas are:

  1. Mainstreaming climate change into poverty reduction and development strategies
  2. Adaptation, building on the National Adaptation Programmes of Action (NAPAs) and other national plans
  3. Disaster risk reduction (DRR)
  4. Reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD)
  5. Enhancing participation in the Global Carbon Market and Clean Development Mechanism (CDM)
  6. Increasing resilience to climate-related stresses and shocks
  7. Mainstreaming climate considerations in budgetary systems
  8. Mainstreaming climate considerations in policies, strategies, and planning processes
  9. Mainstreaming climate considerations in monitoring systems
  10. Sector-based climate change adaptation and mitigation strategies.

The eight sectors in which GCCA/GCCA+ operates are:

  • Agriculture and food security (including fisheries)
  • Economic development and tourism
  • Education and research
  • Environment and natural resources (including forestry)
  • Water and sanitation
  • Disaster risk reduction DRR
  • Energy
  • Infrastructure, transport, waste management, and information and communication technology (ICT).
Financial inputs and fund size The GCCA/GCCA+ budget amounts to EUR 750 million for the period 2007 – 2020. This includes contributions by the EU of EUR 737.5 million (with EUR 317.5 million contributed by the EU in the first phase (2007-14) and EUR 420 million contributed by the EU in the second phase (2015-20)).

The following actors contributed to the first phase: the Development Cooperation Instrument (EUR 242.5 mio), five EU member states (Ireland, Sweden, Estonia, Cyprus and the Czech Republic – EUR 37.5 mio) and the 10th European Development Fund (EUR 37.5 mio).

The contributors to the second phase are: the Development Cooperation Instrument (EUR 350 mio), and the 11th European Development Fund (EUR 70 mio).

The Fund targets least developed and developing countries, as well as middle-income countries (many of them SIDS) that are recipients of aid in line with the official OECD Development Assistance Committee List of Official Development Assistance Recipients and the United Nations list of SIDS.

Activities Supported The GCCA was started as a global alliance, involving a wide range of partners across the world with a focus on helping the most vulnerable developing countries to more effectively address the challenges associated with climate change. From its onset, the GCCA supported activities with an emphasis on dialogue and cooperation.

Now operating as GCCA+, its main activities are:

  • Supporting the development and implementation of climate change policies, such as the NDCs
  • Providing support for climate change mainstreaming of legislation
  • Disaster Risk Reduction through protective infrastructure; restoration of protective forests (mangroves, riverine and mountain forests); development of social protection systems and Early Warning Systems (for flooding, cyclones, storm surges)
  • Promoting renewable energy, clean cooking and energy efficiency
  • Capacity building and institutional strengthening of central government agencies and training activities
  • Knowledge building and awareness
  • Creation of carbon sinks through reforestation, afforestation, rehabilitation of vegetation
  • Setting up monitoring and evaluation and MRV systems for mitigation action and greenhouse gas (GHG) inventories

At the regional level, GCCA+ supports multi-country programmes either to complement existing country interventions or when the small size of a state makes it ill-equipped to deal with such challenges alone.

The GCCA+ offers its partner countries technical assistance through two support facilities.

The EU GCCA+ Support Facility (SF) assists the European Commission in identifying, formulating, managing and monitoring EU GCCA+ programmes, as well as providing technical assistance for capacity building, knowledge management and communications services. The facility offers a variety of technical support services to EU GCCA programmes and beneficiaries.

The Intra-ACP EU GGCA+ Climate Support Facility offers direct technical assistance to participants in the Intra-ACP GCCA+ Programme (separately funded with EUR 70 million), which supports member states of the EU-funded initiative of the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States (ACP) to tackle climate change as a challenge to their development.

GCCA/GCCA+ technical support is provided in five priority areas:

  • Mainstreaming climate change into poverty reduction and development efforts: The GCCA/GGCA+ supports the systematic integration of climate change considerations into national development planning, from policymaking and budgeting to implementation and monitoring. This priority area, which focuses on institutional strengthening, is often combined with another priority, in particular adaptation.
  • Adaptation: The GCCA/GCCA+ aims to help improve knowledge about the effects of climate change and the design and implementation of appropriate adaptation actions, in particular in the water and agriculture sectors, that reduce the vulnerability of the population to the impacts of climate change. The GCCA/GCCA+ builds on National Adaptation Programmes of Action (NAPAs) and other national plans.
  • Reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD): The GCCA/GCAA+ supports solutions to reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from deforestation and create incentives for forest protection, while preserving livelihoods and ecosystems depending on forests.
  • Enhancing participation in the global carbon market: The GCCA/GCCA+ aims to promote a more equitable geographic distribution of financing opportunities linked to the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) by building the capacities of partner countries to access this source of funding, particularly in the field of energy.

The GCCA/GCCA+ financial support can be disaggregated as follows (with many programmes supporting multiple areas): 81% of funding supports adaptation, 57% of funding supports mainstreaming activities, 25% of funding supports REDD, 19% of funding provides support for disaster risk reduction and 10% supports activities under the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM).

Administrating Organization

Secretariat or Administrative Unit The European Commission’s Directorate General for International Cooperation and Development (EuropeAid) manages the overall implementation of the GCCA+ initiative. It works through the Delegations of the European Union to third countries around the world. These Delegations support the preparation, approval and monitoring of GCCA+ funded programmes.

The organigram of the Directorate-General for International Cooperation and Development can be found at:

The Intra-ACP GCCA+ Programme is coordinated and governed separately by the ACP Secretariat located in Brussels, Belgium.

Trustee The European Union acts as the permanent trustee.

Fund Finance and Access Modalities

Conditions and Eligibility Requirements The GCCA/GCCA+ provides support to poor developing countries most vulnerable to climate change, particularly the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) and Small Island Development States (SIDS), as well as for middle-income countries and supports them in the implementation of their NDCs.

Expressions of interest for EU GCCA+ funding must meet certain eligibility criteria, which are taken into account during the EuropeAid screening of proposals submitted by EU Delegations, such as, among others:

  • The quality of the request made and endorsements by the relevant country authorities and/or the EU Delegation for an EU GCCA+ funded action
  • The status of the dialogue on climate change between the country and the EU (e.g. quality of related actions, joint declarations)
  • Political factors such as strategic and/or enforced cooperation with certain countries
  • The role the country plays in the UNFCCC negotiations and commitment to its processes, and efforts in the implementation of related commitments

There is also the possibility of supporting a regional approach, when deemed more appropriate than a country approach (e.g. due to the small size of the countries) and if the absorptive capacities of the regional organisations allow it. Funding levels are then decided on case by case based on needs, absorptive capacities and availability of resources.

In addition, training and technical assistance services related to climate change are available.

Accessing the Fund
Access Modalities – The Delegations of the European Union to the third countries around the world act as gate keepers. Expressions of interest for GCCA+ funding must be submitted to them.

The funding proposal and approval process comprises the following steps:

  1. Expression of interest via submission of concept notes before August every year (Year n-1).
  2. A tentative list of Annual Action Programmes (AAP are “financing decisions adopted by the European Commission to reserve funds for regional and country based external cooperation programmes and for the implementation of thematic programmes”) is compiled and scrutinised by the Sustainable Energy and Climate Change Unit.
  3. By September/October (n-1), an informal consultation process is launched on the AAP.
  4. After a final formal consultation and the official preparation of the AAP, selected countries are informed by November/December (n-1).
  5. Screening of Action Documents takes place (January and June every year).
  6. After adoption of the AAP the necessary contracting for implementation of the projects can be done at country level (n+1).

Should no funding be available, countries may be put on a ‘waiting list’ until new funding becomes available.

The cycle of GCCA+ operations follows the “European Commission Project Cycle Management principles for effective implementation of EU external assistance”.

Financial Instruments – The GCCA/GCCA+ primarily works through financing agreements with partner countries, including via budget support and grants.
Accreditation process – As funding is only be accessible via direct contact with EU Delegations and through financing agreements with partner countries, there is no accreditation process.
Overview of implementing entities – Government ministries (e.g. the Haitian Ministry of Environment), International and regional organisations (e.g. UNDP, UN Habitat, Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States) and Civil Society organisations are the implementing entities for the GCCA and GCCA+ investments.

The list of actual implementing entities is not available.

Nature of recipient country involvement – The interventions at country level are designed in close collaboration between EU Delegations and local development partners and national governments.

The governments of developing countries get involved in the GCCA/GCCA+ by participating in the policy dialogue on climate change with the European Union, at the national level or in the context of regional and global initiatives. This dialogue can take various forms, for instance, the identification of areas for closer collaboration, joint participation in work forums linked to the negotiations on the future international climate regime, or the preparation of a joint declaration such as the joint statement issued by the EU, Least Developed Countries and the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS).

With regard to the second pillar of GCCA/GCCA+, i.e. technical and financial cooperation, there are two ways in which a partner country government contributes to a programme funded by the GCCA/GCCA+: by taking an active role in programme preparation and implementation, and by co-financing the GCCA/GCCA+ programme.

Relevant ministries, government agencies and other public institutions are therefore involved in all countries in which a programme funded by GCCA/GCCA+ has been approved – from the stage of identification and formulation to the stage of implementation, monitoring and evaluation. For example, partners in the implementation of Tanzania’s initial GCCA programme include the Ministry of Finance, the Vice-President’s Office, the Institute of Rural Development Planning, the Sokoine University of Agriculture – and, at the local level, Community Forests Pemba (the latter being an NGO).

In addition, many governments co-finance GCCA/GCCA+ programmes, usually in kind, and sometimes also by explicitly allocating resources from their budget. This is the case, for instance, in Belize, Jamaica, Mali or Mozambique.

Allocation criteria – There are no specific allocation criteria. The potential maximum allocation of EU GCCA+ funds by country depends on the available annual budget under the programme, the type/size of proposed intervention, the country population size and the number of country requests in the given year, geographic balance in the allocation of funds in the previous years, as well as other strategic priorities that might be considered.
Safeguards, Gender and Indigenous Peoples
Safeguards – Even though GCCA+ does not have a formal environmental and social safeguards policy, it operates in line with the Thematic Programme on Global Public Goods and Challenges which aims to “contribute to poverty eradication, social cohesion and sustainable development acting on the solution of global problems through global development outcomes that are inclusive and sustainable”.
In December 2015, GCCA+ adopted a vulnerability index made up of 34 country-specific indicators covering social, economic and environmental aspects critical for climate-resilient development. This index is primarily used to support decision on country selection and on funding allocation.
Gender – Many GCCA+ actions incorporate participative and community-based solutions with a gender focus. Women are “recognised as key actors in agricultural value chains, in securing water, collecting cooking fuel, food and managing other household resources”. In total GCCA+ has 33 gender related actions such as training of women in the energy sector, gender mainstreaming in climate, capacity building and micro-finance. In addition, the evaluations of GCCA+ programmes include a G-marker (Gender Equality Policy Marker) which is an accountability tool used to “track resource allocations of donors for promoting gender equality”.
Indigenous Peoples – To our knowledge, GCCA+ does not have a formal policy for Indigenous Peoples. In April 2020, the OACPS and the Intra-ACP GCCA+ organised a webinar in which they emphasised the role of local and indigenous knowledge in tackling climate change in ACP countries.

Fund Governance

Decision Making Structure European Commission – The European Commission’s Directorate-General for International Cooperation and Development (EuropeAid) drives and oversees the overall implementation of the GCCA+ initiative. It works closely with the Delegations of the European Union to third countries around the world and the Directorate-General for Climate Action (DG-CLIMA).

Within EuropeAid, the unit in charge of the management of the EU GCCA+ flagship programme is the Unit C6 “Sustainable Energy and Climate Change”. This unit consults European Union Delegations and geographic units (i.e., climate focal persons and geo-coordinators) to decide on the final list of programmes funded each year.

Accountability Mechanisms Within the fund, the GCCA+ Results Framework and the GCCA+ M&E strategy provide information needed to “guide decision making and resources management, and to keep track of quantifiable results pursued through a GCCA+ project in partner countries and regions”. The evaluation of GCCA+ actions allows to: (a) measure GCCA+ contribution to DEVCO actions in relation to the Sustainable Development Goals, (b) provide an overview of GCCA+ achievements at country level and across GCCA+ targeted countries, and (c) collect and provide select information on the overall performance of the EU GCCA+ flagship initiative.

The last independent evaluation, then assessing GCCA, was presented in 2014 by the Euronet Consortium. Among the main conclusions of the report are:

  1. “GCCA has met with success in striving to assist ACP Member States in their efforts to build climate change capacities with most gains made in relation to adaptation”.
  2. “A differentiated approach to regional programming should be established that recognises that not all regional partners have the same capacity and that challenges faced by each region are significantly different”.
  3. “Greater focus should be placed on promoting initiatives that have clear regional implications, in terms of addressing the potential needs of multiple countries”.
Participation of Observers and Stakeholders EU Member States
EU Member State development agencies are involved as partners in GCCA/GCCA+ national programmes.

Partner countries
Partner countries government participate in the policy dialogue on climate change with the EU. In addition, partner countries’ ministries, government agencies and other public institutions play a major role in the identification, formulation, implementation and monitoring of EU funded GCCA/GCCA+ programmes. Some governments co-finance these interventions.

Regional organisations
Regional organisations play an active role in the identification, formulation and implementation of GCCA/GCCA+ regional programmes.

International organisations
International organisations are involved in the implementation of some GCCA/GCCA+ programmes.

Civil Society organisations
A third of GCCA-funded programmes includes a component aimed at financing activities put forward by civil society organisations (including NGOs, community-based organisations, private sector organisations, etc.). In such cases, organisations are invited to submit project proposals – which are first screened against eligibility criteria, then evaluated on the basis of pre-determined quality criteria. Depending on the objectives and planned activities of a given programme, other opportunities to get involved may also include participation in consultative processes (e.g. on policy aspects, on options for a national REDD strategy), involvement in capacity building activities (e.g. on sustainable forest management, on climate-compatible agricultural practices), or implementation of activities targeted at enhancing public awareness of climate-related issues and responses.

To find out about opportunities interested parties can check whether there is a GCCA-funded intervention in their country from the section on technical and financial support of the GCCA/GCCA+ website and if interested can get in touch with the organisation in charge of implementing the programme or the EU Delegation.

Transparency and Information Disclosure The financial status of the GCCA/GCCA+ is in part available on the GCCA+ website.

GCCA+ Collaborative Platform is a repository of all the programmes documents. It is managed by the GCCA+ Support Facility. Registration is required to access the platform. However, an overview and some information about individual GCCA/GCCA+ programmes, including funding amounts is available on the GCCA+ website.

To our knowledge, GCCA/GCCA+ does not have a formal policy on information disclosure.

Other Issues Raised