Least Developed Countries Fund (LDCF)

The Least Developed Countries Fund (LDCF) was founded in 2001 during the seventh climate summit in Marrakech and is under the authority of the Global Environment Facility (GEF). It has been funding projects since 2009.


The fund serves the individual needs of the 48 least developed countries (LDCs), which are particularly vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change, in particular to help them in coping with the costs related to adapting to climate change. It also aims to support the LDCs in drawing up national adaptation programs of action (NAPAs). These illustrate the most urgent and immediate needs of the countries in terms of adapting to climate change. To a limited extent the LDCF has also funded the implementation of projects coming out of the NAPAs. Meanwhile, the LDCF also funds adaptation-related projects from Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs). In addition, three work streams have been defined for the 2018-2022 period:

  • Promotion of the interconnection with the other Rio Conventions, e.g. on biodiversity (CBD) or desertification mitigation (UNCCD),
  • coordination and alignment with other climate funds, particularly the GCF and Adaptation Fund, and
  • increased collaboration with the private sector.

The current fund strategy (2022-2026) defines its thematic priorities as agriculture, food security, health, water, climate information systems and nature-based solutions. The LDCD should disburse $1-1.3 billion for projects during this period.

For implementation, the LDCF works with 18 implementing agencies, divided among three groups: Development Banks (Asian Development Bank (ADB), the African Development Bank (AFDB), and World Bank), international organizations (FAO, IFAD, UNDP, UNEP, UNIDO), and international non-governmental organizations (Conservation International, IUCN, and WWF-USA).

In 2020, a program evaluation of the LDCF was published to review progress since the previous evaluation from 2016. This found, among other things, that the LDCF has made progress in mainstreaming gender in its projects, but that there are still knowledge gaps in implementation, and that delays in approving projects have occurred due to lack of funding.

Funding volume and Germany’s contribution

Until 2022 the LDCF has funded 365 projects with a volume of $1.7 billion coming from donor countries. By 2021 Germany pledged €415 million to the LDCF. In absolute terms, Germany is the largest contributor, followed by the UK and Sweden. During COP 27 in Egypt Germany announced annother 9 mio Euro for the fund. Germany also has a seat in the LDCF Board which decides upon project applications and fund regulations. (as of December 2022).