MDG Achievement Fund – Environment and Climate Change thematic window

MDG Achievement Fund – Environment and Climate Change thematic window


The MDG Achievement Fund (MDG-F) was established by the Government of Spain and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to accelerate efforts to reach the Millennium Development Goals. Environment and Climate Change was one of eight thematic areas supported by the MDG-F. The objective of this part of the fund was to help reduce poverty and vulnerability in eligible countries by supporting interventions that improved environmental management and service delivery at the national and local level, increased access to new financing mechanisms and enhanced capacity to adapt to climate change. The MDG-F is no longer active.

Basic Description

Name of the Fund MDG Achievement Fund – Environment and Climate Change thematic window (MDG-F).
Official Fund Website
Date Created
Date fund proposed: December 2006.
Date fund made operational: First quarter of 2007.
Proposed Life of Fund There was no new funding reported after 2010. The fund made disbursements against already approved amounts until 2013. As of May 2019, all refunds had been received and all projects had been financially closed.
Objectives The MDG-Fund supported national efforts to achieve Millennium Development Goals. Environment and Climate Change was one of eight thematic areas supported by the MDG-F. The objective of this thematic window was to help reduce poverty and vulnerability in eligible countries by supporting interventions that improved environmental management and service delivery at the national and local level, increased access to new financing mechanisms and enhanced capacity to adapt to climate change. An assessment report of the achievements of the Fund for the Environment and Climate Change area is available here.
Financial inputs and fund size The MDG-F overall was funded with nearly USD 900 million disbursed for 130 programmes in 50 countries across eight thematic area. The Environment and Climate Change Window had a total funded amount of USD 89.5 million. Spain was the only contributing country.

Funding was ODA. All funds were additional to existing Spanish bilateral aid.

Activities Supported The Fund supported four priority areas:

  1. Mainstreaming environmental issues in national and sub-national policy, planning and investment frameworks
  2. Improving local management of environmental resources and service delivery
  3. Expanding access to environmental finance
  4. Enhancing capacity to adapt to climate change.

Administrating Organization

Secretariat or Administrative Unit The MDG Achievement Fund Secretariat represented the link between the Steering Committee and participating countries. It administered and managed funds approved by the MDG-F Steering Committee for country-level joint programmes. It also consolidated financial and narrative progress reports, guaranteed transparent processes, established criteria with the Technical Subcommittees and improved the quality of Joint Programme formulation.
Trustee The UNDP Multi-Partner Trust Fund (MPTF) was the permanent trustee.

Fund Finance and Access Modalities

Conditions and Eligibility Requirements 59 countries identified by the Spanish Master Plan for International Cooperation (2005-2008), and approved by the Government and Parliament of Spain were eligible to apply for assistance from the Fund. Country eligibility was therefore defined by the Government of Spain’s ODA policy.

Africa: Angola, Cape Verde, Democratic Republic of Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Guinea Bissau, Mauritania, Mozambique, Namibia, Sao Tome & Principe, Senegal and South Africa.

Latin America: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela

Arab States: Algeria, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Palestinian Territories, Sudan, Syria and Tunisia.

Europe: and CIS Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, Kosovo (UN administered province), Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Turkey.

Asia: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, Timor-Leste, Philippines and Vietnam.

Accessing the Fund
Access Modalities – Programmes were conceived by a minimum of two UN Agencies in collaboration with national government and non-governmental counterparts and submitted through the Resident Coordinator system of the United Nations. All proposals needed to be endorsed by a National Steering Committee consisting of, at a minimum, a representative of Spanish Cooperation, the national government and the Resident Coordinator as the leading authority of the UN at the national level.
Financial Instruments – Grants.
Accreditation process – The Application and Approval cycle for MDG-F thematic windows consisted of the following stages:

  1. “The MDG-F solicits applications through a Request for Proposals.
  2. The UN Country Team, led by UN Resident Coordinators, submits a Concept Note.
  3. The Technical Sub-Committee reviews the Concept Note and makes a technical recommendation.
  4. The Secretariat reviews the Concept Note (2) and the technical recommendation (3), and prepares the materials for the Steering Committee.
  5. The Steering Committee decides on an indicative budget and delegates the programme design to the UN Resident Coordinator.
  6. The UN Country Team prepares the Joint Programme (JP) document.
  7. The Secretariat reviews the JP (6).
  8. The Steering Committee approves the final budget.
  9. The funds are transferred to the Administrative Agent (UNEP MDTF Office).
  10. The JP is finalised and signed in the requesting country.
  11. Implementation of the programme starts as soon as first-year funding is disbursed”.

For further information, see the MDG-F Framework document.

Overview of implementing entities – The implementing entities were UN agencies, including Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), International Labor Organization (ILO), International Organization for Migration (IOM), Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP), United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), United Nation’s International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF), United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), United Nations Human Settlement Programme (UN-HABITAT), UN WOMEN, United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), World Food Programme (WFP), and World Health Organization (WHO).
Nature of recipient country involvement – All the programmes had to be aligned with national priorities and be co-developed and fully endorsed by the national government counterpart. The implementation of programmes was often done in partnership with and/or through local institutions. Furthermore, while the UN Resident Coordinator was the Fund’s primary interlocutor at the country level, the Resident Coordinator had to involve the government in the deliberation concerning the Fund-related activities. The Fund recommended to “institute a Steering Committee at the country level, with representation of the Government, the UN Country Team and the Spanish Government to oversee the development of applications to the Fund”.
Allocation criteria
Safeguards, Gender and Indigenous Peoples
Safeguards – The MDG-F did not elaborate its own environmental and social safeguards but the UNDP’s Social and Environmental Standards applied. Furthermore, the Fund operated within the framework of the Millennium Development Goals, with the aim of building a “sustainable world where environmental sustainability, social inclusion, and economic development are equally valued”.
Gender – The MDG-F had a specific thematic window dedicated to Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment. 13 joint programmes were carried out to “bolster women’s representation in decision-making processes, increase women’s capabilities, improve their access to resources and opportunities, and reduce their vulnerability to violence and conflict”. None of these projects were directly related to climate change issues. The list of programmes is available at:
Indigenous Peoples – Of the overall funding that the MDG-Fund invested in all eight of its thematic areas, some 30%, or USD 264 million in 47 joint programmes, were said to support improving life for indigenous groups and ethnic minorities. The list of these programmes is unavailable and the extent to which these programmes were related to the MDG-F’s Environment and Climate Change thematic window remains unclear.

Fund Governance

Decision Making Structure The MDG-F Governance had a structure at both the global and the national level.

Global Level
The Governance of the MDG-F was composed by a Steering Committee, a Secretariat, and Technical Subcommittees (TS) led by UN Agency Convenors.

The MDG-F Steering Committee was contributor-driven and comprised a representative of UNDP and the Government of Spain. It set the strategic direction, decided on financial allocations and, monitored delivery and progress.

The Technical Subcommittees were responsible for coordinating the review of proposals for funding submitted to the MDG-F and provided technical and policy advice to the Steering Committee. These committees were formed by 10 to 12 UN and independent appointed experts.

National Level
The governance structure at the national level consisted of the UN Resident Coordinator, the Programme Management Unit, and the National Steering Committee.

The UN Resident Coordinator was responsible for providing ongoing oversight to the joint programme(s) at the national level and facilitated the monitoring and evaluation of MDG-F activities in conformity with UN standards. The National Steering Committee (NSC) provided oversight and strategic guidance and approved Joint Programme Document(s), work plans and budgets submission to the Steering Committee. The NSC was composed of non-implementing parties to allow for independence and included a representative of the government and a representative from Government of Spain. The NSC met twice a year and made decisions by consensus. The Project Management Committee (PMC) also provided operational coordination. It was composed of representatives from implementing Participating UN Organisations and relevant government counterparts.

Accountability Mechanisms The MDG-F process of monitoring and evaluation mandated for the participating UN Organisation in receipt of MDG-F resources to provide:

  • “Narrative progress reports for each six-month period;
  • Financial reports with respect to the funds disbursed form the MDG-F every six months;
  • A final narrative report and financial report after the completion of all programme activities financed by the MDG-F; and
  • A final certified financial statement”.

The MDG-F’s monitoring and evaluation strategy was set out in the MDG Achievement Fund Monitoring and Evaluation Policy and Strategy document.

In addition, the MDG Achievement Fund Secretariat monitoring and evaluation unit was responsible for compiling and diffusing the thematic window development results. The evaluation was mainly based on the information provided by the UN country offices and programmes coordinators and was made available on the MDG-F website.

Participation of Observers and Stakeholders The joint programmes were elaborated in consultation with key non-government players that were active in the specific thematic area. Non-government entities such as NGOs, civil society coalitions, think tanks, academic institutions, and the private sector were also integral partners of programme implementation. Once the programme was under implementation, the National Steering Committee co-chairs regularly invited representatives of civil society and other observers.
Transparency and Information Disclosure The UNDP’s Information Disclosure Policy applied.

Both donor contributions and fund disbursement are reported on the MPTF Office Gateway:

Details on individual projects are available at:

Other Issues Raised