Developing Concept Notes for the GCF Simplified Approval Process

August 2022

This course has been carefully designed to provide guidance on the fundamental components of project development following the principles of learning-by-doing. After completing the course, you will gain the ability to develop a high-quality concept note for the Green Climate Fund’s Simplified Approval Process (GCF SAP), ensuring alignment with the requirements and criteria of the GCF.

Course materials focus on climate change adaptation and draw on examples and experiences by climate change adaptation experts. The self-paced course modules include video insights from the GCF Secretariat and a climate change adaptation expert, self-guided Presentations, quizzes, exercise tool guides, discussion boards, references, and other features.

Course Modules

Module 1 - Problem Identification Part 1: Strategic Linkages and Climate Change Evidence Base

Setting the context and baseline for a project or programme idea for a GCF SAP concept notes includes outlining linkages to the national context to ensure country ownership, and ensuring a strong evidence base about the climate change problem being addressed.

Module 2 - Problem Identification Part 2: Non-Climate Drivers of Vulnerability, Gaps, and Barriers

A concept note for the GCF SAP is required to describe the main root causes and barriers for climate resilience and low emission development that your project or programme seeks to address, including non-climate drivers.

Module 3 - Gender Equality, Disability, and Social Inclusion (GEDSI)

All GCF funded projects or programmes are required to mainstream considerations on Gender Equality and Social Inclusion.

Module 4 - Formulating a Theory of Change for your SAP concept note

Concept notes for the GCF should describe the expected set of components and activities addressing the identified barriers and leading to the expected outcomes of the proposed project or programme.

Module 5 - Environmental and Social Safeguards and Project Sustainability

The GCF SAP only funds project or programme ideas that have minimal to no negative environmental and social risks and impacts. Concept Notes are also expected to explain how the project or programme will ensure sustainability in the long run.

Module 6 - Mainstreaming GCF’s Investment Criteria and Financing Considerations

Justifying GCF financing includes a strong assessment of concept notes against the Fund’s investment criteria.

Module 7 - Logical Framework and Monitoring & Evaluation for SAP Concept Notes

Concept notes for SAP should briefly explain how the project or programme will be monitored in achieving the expected outcomes.

Who is this course for?

The course is intended for individuals and teams that wish to design concept notes for the GCF, with a focus on climate change adaptation and the SAP funding modality. The course assumes that participants have a basic understanding of the GCF and the requirements of the SAP modality. However, the course will be useful to a wide range of users, as the material and techniques presented can be applied to almost any project preparation task, from small grants to large, multicomponent projects. Most of the material covered are fundamental to project design regardless of the financier.


This course has been designed by the Asian Institute of Technology’s Regional Resource Centre for Asia and the Pacific (AIT-RRC.AP) as a contribution to the Asia-Pacific Adaptation Information Platform (AP-PLAT), thanks to the support of the Ministry of Environment of Japan, and in collaboration with the Green Climate Fund’s SAP Team.