Adaptation Fund Board greenlights record 13 project submissions including projects for FSM

Adaption Fund press release
March 21, 2017
Bonn, Germany—The Adaptation Fund Board meeting concluded in Bonn on March 17 with the approvals and endorsements of 13 project submissions, further enhancing the Fund's response to assist a rising number of vulnerable communities in developing countries with urgent adaptation needs build resilience to climate change.
The Adaptation Fund is an international fund that finances projects and programs aimed at helping developing countries to adapt to the harmful effects of climate change. It is set up under the Kyoto Protocol of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
The meeting set a record in funding approvals for a total amount of US$ 60.3 million. The funding approvals included a US$ 9 million project to enhance resilience of several vulnerable island communities to drought and flooding in the Federated States of Micronesia, which will be implemented by the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Program, a Regional Implementing Entity


A proposal by the National Implementing Entity, Micronesia Conservation Trust to pursue practical solutions for reducing community vulnerability to climate change in the Federated States of Micronesia, in the amount of US $30,000 for a project formulation grant (PFG) was also approved.
The Fund assumed new leadership, as Michael Kracht of Germany became the Board's new Chair and Victor Viñas of the Dominican Republic was elected Vice- Chair. The Board additionally selected and approved the selection of Mikko Ollikainen as new Manager of the Adaptation Fund Board Secretariat. Ollikainen had been serving as Interim Manager since last October, when longtime manager Marcia Levaggi left the Fund to become Argentina's Director General of Environmental Affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Among other decisions, the Board expanded funding of the Fund's popular Pilot Program for Regional Projects and Programs by US$ 30 million for FY 2018; appointed an Independent Review Panel of Experts to oversee the overall evaluation of the Fund; approved a Resource Mobilization Action Plan; integrated the Fund's Readiness Program into all operations; and requested recommendations on approaches for dealing with investment income generated by implementing entities through some projects. The Board additionally decided to pursue drafting a medium-term strategy for the Fund, after considering a comprehensive preliminary background analysis on possible options. The analysis suggested a strategy that fosters three pillars of the Fund: Action, Innovation, and Learning. The Board also agreed to explore concrete steps to enhance complementarity and coherence between the Adaptation Fund and Green Climate Fund through bilateral meetings, an annual dialogue, and an assessment of potential practical linkages.
"We had a very productive and successful meeting," said Kracht, who oversaw his first meeting as Chair. "We had a record number of project funding approvals, which will help us reach more vulnerable communities with urgent adaptation solutions. We selected a new manager in Mikko Ollikainen, who is well-qualified and experienced with the Fund's work and will help bring continuity and a smooth leadership transition for the Fund. The Board very much looks forward to working with him. The meeting results were an excellent start to the Fund's 10th anniversary year, which will be commemorated later in 2017."
Ollikainen has been with the Fund since 2009 and has worked in various capacities, most notably as a Senior Climate Change Specialist and the Interim Manager. "I am very excited and honored to be selected," he said. "The Fund's innovative features like Direct Access are some of the aspects that really motivate me to work here. I would like to recognize Marcia Levaggi for her hard work and dedication in building the Fund, and the secretariat staff as a highly motivated, competent group that works together in an efficient, effective manner. I am pleased to see such great results and high quality projects approved from this meeting, and look forward to working with the Board to help continue to move the Fund forward."
The Board meeting also featured an appearance from Naoko Ishii, CEO and Chair of the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and Head of the Adaptation Fund Board Secretariat. Ishii said the Fund's success at COP22, where it surpassed its resource mobilization goal and advanced further toward serving the Paris Agreement, was a clear sign from contributors in recognizing the importance of the Fund's role and mission in providing concrete, localized adaptation projects to climate-vulnerable countries. She said she hopes the Fund and GEF continue to work together on themes such as gender and other areas. She encouraged the Fund to continue to build on its niche so that it can make the most impact in addressing climate change.