The origins of GCCA: remembering how the alliance was born

Walter Kennes, one of the pioneers of GCCA, remembers how the Alliance was born, giving way to a decade of support to climate change adaptation in the most vulnerable countries.

In September 2007, the European Union launched the Global Climate Change Alliance (GCCA) to address climate change in poor developing countries most vulnerable to climate change. At the European Development Days in Lisbon, Portugal, in November 2007, climate change was the main theme, providing a timely occasion to present the GCCA to a wider audience.  


Initially, the reluctance of EU Member States (with a few exceptions) to top up the GCCA resources as well as the rejection of a proposal for innovative funding were seen as major setbacks. However, at the same time, there was broad-based and strong support for the GCCA’s overall approach, especially for its focus on the adaptation needs of the most climate-vulnerable developing countries. Towards the end of 2011, most of the target group of least developed countries (LDCs) and small island developing states (SIDS) were involved in some GCCA activity.

Leading by example

During the early years of the GCCA, there was a fear that climate discussions and pledges for climate funding in developing countries would lead to a new financial channel in parallel with the official development assistance (ODA). Such a channel implied a risk of inefficiency because the lessons learned for ODA would have to be learnt again. The GCCA demonstrated that ODA can and should be used to assist developing countries with climate change. The Alliance also ensured that the experience embodied in the aid-effectiveness principles would be applied to climate change projects.

During discussions on the EU’s 2014-2020 multiannual financial framework, because of its initial success, the GCCA was upgraded to become an EU flagship initiative: GCCA+. 

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