The Least Developed Countries Fund (LDCF)

Method of Support
Eligible Countries
All Least Developed Countries
Funds Pledged
USD 1,188.6 million
Funds Received
USD 1,008.46 million
Funds Approved
USD 1,041.5 million
Funds Disbursed
USD 679.3 million
Source: The Global Environment Facility. “Progress Report on the Least Developed Countries Fund and the Special Climate Change Fund.” (As of Oct 2016)
TIPS by USAID Adapt Asia-Pacific

The distinction between climate change adaptation projects and ‘business-as-usual’ development projects are not always clear. Generally, projects contributing to sustainable development get endorsement. Many projects are also focused on rural sectors, with few urban projects being funded under the LDCF. Among the various implementing agencies, UNDP seems to have had the greatest success in accessing LDCF funds. Project proposal templates can be found on the GEF website.


The Global Environment Facility (GEF) is a partnership for international cooperation where 183 countries work together with international institutions, civil society organizations, and the private sector to address global environmental issues. The Least Developed Countries Fund (LDCF) is a multilateral fund under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change administered by the GEF. The fund was established in 2001 and became operational in 2002. The LDCF is particularly focused on the needs of the 49 Least Developed Country Parties (LDCs) who are especially vulnerable to climate change. To do this, the fund supports LDCs to prepare a national adaptation programme of action (NAPA) and to implement the urgent and immediate climate change adaptation needs identified within the NAPA.
Target area
Any sector identified as a priority area under the NAPA is relevant for the LDCF. The main sectors that have been addressed through LDCF funding to date are: agriculture (30%); natural resources management (18%); coastal zone management (14%); water resources management (13%); climate information services (11%); disaster risk management (8%); and other infrastructure (5%). 
How to access the fund
With a letter of endorsement from the country’s appointed GEF Focal Point or government representative, project proponents, usually line agencies, develop a concept for a project and submit it to the GEF Secretariat through one of its 14 Implementing Agencies: United Nations Development Programme (UNDP); United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP); World Bank; African Development Bank (AfDB); Asian Development Bank (ADB); European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD); Inter-American Development Bank (IAD); International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD); United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO); United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO); World Wildlife Fund, Inc. (WWF-US); Conservation International (CI); International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN); and Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA).
Approval process

Medium-sized Projects (MSP), which are those under USD 2 million, enjoy a streamlined application process, as compared to Full-sized Projects (FSP), which are over USD 2 million.

For FSPs, the process begins with a Project Identification Form (PIF) or project concept, which once approved is followed by a CEO Endorsement Form that includes the development of a full sized project document. MSPs may start directly with the CEO Endorsement Form and project document. Once the GEF CEO endorses the project, the funding is released to the Implementing Agency.