Country ownership echoes from the aid effectiveness agenda in climate finance, becoming a means to ensure that (1) projects are aligned with national climate policies and strategies, (2) national systems are used to increase recipients’ accountability in the use of resources, and (3) national public and private stakeholders are engaged in the process. The concept is a key objective of the Green Climate Fund (GCF), considered in light of the GCF’s goal of promoting the paradigm shift towards low emission and climate-resilient development. In the interplay between international commitments and the progress of its in-country activities, the GCF relies on the agency of National Designated Authorities (NDAs). Based on documental sources, GCF data, and a survey, this article first analyzes whether the GCF’s institutional design creates appropriate responsibilities so NDAs can effectively enhance country ownership. As a second level of effectiveness, the article analyzes whether such an institutional design is currently capable of promoting the desired paradigm shift. In the context of the GCF being a young fund, we found that NDAs have the potential to enhance country ownership, but need more tailored capacity building to ensure that in-country activities are effectively equipped to deliver the paradigm shift.
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