Least Developed Countries Fund (LDCF)

The Least Developed Countries Fund (LDCF) was established in 2001 to support the LDC work programme under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), including the preparation and implementation of national adaptation programmes of action (NAPAs). It is operated by the Global Environment Facility (GEF). As of October 31, 2019, 51 countries (LDCs and former LDCs) had accessed a total of $1.4 billion for the preparation and implementation of NAPAs, the NAP process and elements of the LDC work programme.

In 2018, each LDC is eligible to access up to $50 million cumulatively from the LDCF. Since 2018, there is also an access cap, under which each LDC can draw up to $10 million in LDCF resources toward the $50 million cumulative ceiling during the GEF-7 period. This is to “ensure more timely access to resources by as many LDCs as possible, while also maintaining the practice of equitable access” (see the Progress Report on the LDCF and the SCCF, November 2019).

Practice regarding graduating countries has been as follows: (a) If a country is classified as an LDC at the time of the approval of the Project Identification Form (PIF) by the LDCF/SCCF Council following technical clearance by the GEF Secretariat, the project is eligible to receive LDCF support; (b) Projects already approved by the LDCF/SCCF Council prior to a country’s graduation continue to be supported with agreed LDCF resources until completion (updated December 2019).  See here for more on GEF project and program cycles.

Graduated LDCs have access, for the elaboration and implementation of their NAPs, to the Special Climate Change Fund (SCCF) and to the Green Climate Fund (GCF). The governing instrument of the GCF, approved by the COP in 2011, determines that, in the allocation of resources for adaptation, it takes into consideration the “urgent and immediate needs of developing countries that are particularly vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change, including LDCs, SIDS and African States using minimum allocation floors”. The fund aims for a floor of 50 per cent of adaptation funds to be allocated to these countries.


Sources and further information:

  1. The Least Developed Country Fund (Global Environment Facility – GEF)
  2. UNFCCC Least Developed Country Portal
  3. Updated Information Note on Least Developed Countries Fund Support for Graduating Least Developed Countries (GEF, GEF/LDCF.SCCF.27/Inf.05, November 27, 2019)
  4. Progress Report on the Least Developed Countries Fund and the Special Climate Change Fund (GEF, GEF/LDCF.SCCF.27/03, December 10, 2019)