A user-friendly one-stop Data Portal for project developers through GCF 2nd Readiness Project – Sri Lanka

A workshop titled “Project Development Stakeholder Engagement, and pilot-level User Experience Survey on Data and Information Portal developed under 1st Readiness Project” was held from 23 to 24 May 2023 at Hotel Jie Jie Beach, Panadura, Sri Lanka.

This workshop was a follow-up to the earlier workshop conducted in February 2023 - “Training for Key Climate Finance Programming Stakeholders on GCF Project Development in Sri Lanka” organised by the GCF 2nd Readiness Project Management Team with the collaboration of the Climate Change Secretariat (CCS) of the Ministry of Environment, Sri Lanka and GWP SAS. The same participants who attended the initial workshop were invited to the workshop representing the National Designated Authority (NDA), Accredited Entities (AEs), Implementing Entities (IEs), Ministries and agencies who are involved in climate change adaptation and mitigation in Sri Lanka, Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) and the aspired Direct Access Entities (DAEs) mainly the Private Local Banks. 

The two full-day workshop was organised with the aim of giving comprehensive knowledge about the GCF project development process - from no objection letter from NDA to submission of a full project proposal to the GCF Secretariat. Further to introduce the Project Development Working Group (PDWG) for Sri Lanka and its vitality to access GCF funds strategically and to encourage the stakeholders to nominate suitable members to the working group. One of the key outputs of the 1st Readiness Project was to develop a data and information portal on climate data and the workshop aimed at raising awareness on the portal and conducting a user experience survey with the focus of refining the data portal in terms of its, usability, and sustainability.

Sessions in brief:

The output of the earlier workshop was five climate change mitigation project ideas that can be developed into concept notes. These ideas need to be improved with more detailed pre-feasibility studies and should align with the Sri Lanka Country Programme prior to presenting them to GCF and adding them to Sri Lanka’s GCF project pipeline. Upon participants’ request, Dakshini Perera, Assistant Director, CCS elaborated on the GCF project development process, key actors, and their roles and responsibilities to the participants at the workshop. This presentation and the discussion were followed by the formal dialogue on the prioritisation of project ideas and development of GCF Project Concept Notes conducted by Vishaka Hidellage, Consultant, UNDP. She shared her experience with the participants on GCF proposal development under UNDP where UNDP is an AE of GCF.

The establishment of a Project Development Working Group (PDWG) is another deliverable of the 2nd GCF Readiness Project. PDWG is supposed to be operationalised well beyond the project and should meet periodically regular or in an ad-hoc manner when necessary and should engage with potential project proponents and executing entities for ideation and development of potential GCF projects. The PDWG would be coordinated by the CCS. The afternoon session of the Day 2 was dedicated to introducing the proposed project PDWG and its functions to the participants conducted by Anura Sathurusinghe, National Project Coordinator, 2nd NDA Readiness Project, Sri Lanka. He informed that PDWG should consist of members representing the Sri Lanka’s existing National Expert Committee on Climate Change Adaptation (NECCCA), National Expert Committee on Climate Change Mitigation (NECCCM) and sector experts who advise the country’s Climate Change Secretariat including NDA.

The first session of Day 2 was assigned to raise awareness of the Data and Information Portal developed under the 1st Readiness Project. The introduction and familiarisation exercise to the portal was conducted by Prabhath Gunathilaka, the Designer of the Portal supported by Mario Lamban, Technical Specialist, GWPO. Thereafter, a user experience survey was conducted both online and in groups by the presenters with the view of enhancing its content, outlook, roles and responsibilities of the database managers and its sustainability. There were discussions related to quality assurance of data, its scope and operationalisation, similarities with other platforms and potential for collaboration, user training, improvements to the homepage and methods to promote the portal once it is being finalised.      

Way forward:

The two full days workshop motivated the stakeholders to continue their discussions on the GCF concept note development and both NDA and the Project Management Team ensured their support to develop them further. It is expected to develop three GCF concept notes as a final deliverable, out of the five project ideas after careful selection and refinement. The participants will alert the respective Directors of stakeholder institutes on the suggested PDWG to bring their nominations accordingly. Information gathered using the stakeholder survey on Data and Information Portal will be used to further improve the platform.