Commonwealth Local Government Forum

Mobilising climate finance for cities

22 March 2024


Addressing the enormous damage caused by climate change to our cities is both urgent and costly. Through a series of online sessions, local government was given sound advice on one avenue of financial support.


CLGF through the Commonwealth Sustainable Cities Network (CSCN) was delighted to partner with the Global Covenant of Mayors, to deliver two webinars on Mobilising Climate Finance for Cities - Moving from Concept to Financing - A Dialogue with The City Climate Finance GAP Fund. The first webinar focused on Africa, and the second brought together CLGF members and partners from across the Caribbean.

Technical and capacity building support

The sessions gave insights into the workings of the Gap Fund, a multi-donor trust fund which is executed in collaboration with the World Bank and the European Investment Bank and provides technical and capacity building support to cities and local governments to plan investments in climate projects in emerging economies. Each webinar also featured a practitioner perspective with speakers from Bristol City Council, UK and Vielle Case, Dominica.


The challenge of putting together a business case and preparing a sound, costed business plan in order to secure investment has been identified by CLGF members and the CSCN as one of the key challenges that they face in responding to local needs and priorities, so the webinar was a timely way to look at practical steps that cities can take.

Important role of local government

Speakers from CLGF, the Gap Fund and the Global Covenant of Mayors referred to the important role of local government in addressing the climate emergency at a time when their resources are very limited. The Gap Fund shared more information about what they are looking to fund and how they can support local governments in turning their project ideas into fundable projects.


Participants welcomed the opportunity to learn more how they could access technical support and potentially funds. The team from the Gap fund invited anyone who felt that they had a potential to contact them directly before making any application, to receive provide targeted advice to maximise their chance of success. Key issues they stressed is that proposal must be city led and as such submitted by the appropriate city department not external actors or partners.


In the Africa session the issue of just transition was highlighted as investment into low-carbon and climate smart initiatives must also respond to the need for sustainable livelihoods for local people. There was also discussion around the size of projects being submitted, and smaller municipalities were encouraged to come together as a group to submit concepts to develop investment proposals of a size large enough to be appealing to investment funds.


In the Caribbean the role of local governments in responding to, and rebuilding, after natural disasters was highlighted as a major issue and potentially an area where the GAP Fund could play a role in securing investment funds. This is definitely an area for follow up for the organising partners. The relationship between local and central government and whether the right legislation is in place to enable local government to leverage investment was also put on the table as something to be addressed. Participants also noted that it often takes a very long time to access resources in spite of commitments and indicated that they hoped the GAP Fund would be a more responsive option.

Access to information and opportunities

In closing the partners agreed to continue to work together to open up access to information and opportunities for local government across the Commonwealth. Access to finance remains firmly on CLGF’s agenda and following the Commonwealth Local Government Conference in Kigali, work will begin in the first half of 2024 to convene the Taskforce on Finance which will map existing opportunities and highlight gaps to support financial resilience at the local level.


Supporting documents:


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