North Macedonia, GCF and FAO collaborate to strengthen climate partnerships in Eastern Europe and Central Asia

From 18 to 22 March, more than 100 participants from Eastern Europe and Central Asia convened in Skopje, North Macedonia, to boost their involvement with the Green Climate Fund (GCF) and exchange experiences on addressing climate change in their countries.

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) helped organize the GCF Regional Dialogue with Eastern Europe and Central Asia and fostered peer-to-peer learning related to country experiences and best practices. In facilitating the identification and development of climate change mitigation and adaptation initiatives, FAO strengthened the GCF’s impact in the region.

Fatmir Bytyqi, Deputy President of the Government of North Macedonia in charge of Economic Affairs, Coordination of Economic Sectors, and Investments, highlighted the GCF’s significance as a global climate finance mechanism and stressed the importance of governments prioritizing GCF financial support to assist communities in mitigating and adapting to climate change, particularly in developing countries like North Macedonia.

Nonhlanhla Zindela, GCF Deputy Director and Head of Programming, emphasized the fund’s pivotal role in tackling climate-related challenges. She highlighted the GCF’s pledge of USD 1.43 billion to assist countries in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, which catalysed an additional USD 5.45 billion in co-funding. More than USD 59 million from the GCF Readiness Programme has been designated to strengthen national climate resilience efforts, Zindela said.

A series of technical and programme-related discussions and workshops with FAO experts helped support programming within the GCF’s updated strategic plan for 2024–2027.

Rachel Silbert, FAO Climate Finance Specialist, contributed to a session addressing challenges and lessons learned from the implementation of GCF readiness grants in the region. She presented FAO’s approach to integrating adaptive management principles into GCF project planning and emphasized proactive risk management, long-term planning and early engagement among designated national authorities and the GCF. Silbert also outlined FAO’s efforts to ensure that lessons from adaptive management practices are effectively communicated and incorporated into future projects, including through communication and outreach, database development and participation in learning exchanges.

Igor Slavkoski, FAO International Climate Finance Specialist, contributed to a learning session focused on sharing country experiences in delivering the GCF Readiness Programme portfolio of projects, discussing challenges, recommendations and implementation opportunities. Drawing from FAO’s experience with the successful projects in North Macedonia and the region, Slavkoski emphasized the importance of country ownership. He highlighted how the GCF fosters ownership, enabling countries to develop high-quality projects aligned with GCF principles and national climate priorities, including conducting readiness assessments and accessing funds for larger-scale projects. He stressed the significance from North Macedonia’s experience of early commitment and effective planning for success. Clear and timely communication with relevant actors and active participation in country processes are essential for promptly addressing issues during readiness implementation, he said.

Partnering for climate action

A small, landlocked country in southeastern Europe, North Macedonia is vulnerable to a range of natural hazards, including earthquakes, floods, landslides, and droughts. The GCF has invested USD 46.6 million in five projects in the country. Through the GCF Readiness Programme in North Macedonia, FAO has led three of four projects, collaborating closely with the Government of North Macedonia to enhance the country’s engagement with the GCF. This partnership aims to further reinforce the country’s ownership in planning and executing GCF-funded projects to address crucial national climate priorities.

Since 2016, the FAO–GCF partnership has been dedicated to accelerating countries’ access to climate finance for adaptation and mitigation. Currently, FAO manages a GCF portfolio of 20 funding proposals and 85 readiness grants worldwide, worth a total of USD 1.2 billion. These initiatives support countries in enhancing the efficiency, sustainability, and resilience of their agrifood systems in response to climate change. In the Eastern Europe and Central Asia region alone, the FAO–GCF portfolio amounts to USD 76 million.

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GCF Regional Dialogue with Eastern Europe and Central Asia 
Photo album: GCF Regional Dialogue with Eastern Europe and Central Asia 
FAO and the Green Climate Fund

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