Carbon Finance-Assist (CF-Assist) | World Bank Institute (WBI)

The World Bank Institute (WBI) is a global connector of knowledge, learning and innovation for poverty reduction. We connect practitioners and institutions to help them find suitable solutions to their development challenges. With a focus on the "how" of reform, we link knowledge from around the world and scale up innovations. Read More »

Carbon Finance-Assist (CF-Assist)

(c) World Bank


The Carbon Finance-Assist (CF-Assist) program — comprising the CF-Assist multi-donor trust fund currently supported by Spain and Switzerland, and the Prototype Carbon Fund (PCF) plus program — was launched in mid-2005.  CF-Assist is hosted in the World Bank Institute Climate Change Practice (WBICC) and set up as a capacity-building and technical assistance program.

Initially, CF-Assist focused on helping developing countries and economies in transition to effectively participate in carbon markets and benefit from the flexible mechanisms under the Kyoto Protocol, specifically the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) and Joint Implementation (JI).

Since 2009, CF-Assist has expanded this original scope and set strategic priorities that are influenced by various developments, such as the ongoing negotiations for a new international climate change regime, the World Bank’s Strategic Framework on Development and Climate Change, poverty reduction and green growth agendas. 

Please click here to view a timeline of Carbon Finance-Assist from 2005-2015.

Responding to the political, economic and technological opportunities and challenges, CF-Assist’s strategic work program has further evolved over the last year and now focuses on the following three priority areas:

  • Climate Finance Readiness
  • Low Emissions Development (LED) Policy Instruments and Carbon Pricing
  • Cities and Climate Change

Climate Finance Readiness
It has become evident that carbon finance alone, particularly under the current carbon prices, will not deliver emission reductions at the scale needed, so governments under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) have encouraged each other to develop instruments of the future: LEDS and Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions (NAMAs).  These instruments will be essential to advance a country’s climate finance readiness process, and when combined with available technology and financing, it could potentially bring the world back to a more climate-friendly development path.
With this as a priority area, we are supporting countries in their climate finance readiness process through a provision of learning products and knowledge exchanges on Climate Finance, LEDS and NAMAs. 
Thus, our objective is to strengthen the capacity of stakeholders to identify and prioritize LED opportunities, enable them to use climate finance in a transformative way, and enhance climate mitigation actions through carbon pricing mechanisms.  Drawing on this overall development objective, we aim to:

  • Enhance clients’ capacities to access international climate finance and mainstream into national development investments.
  • Improve knowledge of concepts, opportunities and challenges related to NAMAs.
  • Facilitate the understanding of carbon pricing mechanisms and how they can contribute to achieving countries’ low emissions development goals.

LED Policy Instruments and Carbon Pricing
Countries are exploring innovative and cost-effective ways to scale-up emission reductions and foster private sector investment through a range of policy instruments, such as voluntary approaches, regulatory approaches, market-based instruments, and research and development (R&D) support policies.  Many of these policies do not only provide Greenhouse Gases (GHG) reduction benefits, but can lead to a range of co-benefits such as reduced air pollution, increased efficiency and productivity, reduced energy costs and green jobs.
In this preeminent area, we are aiming to strengthen the capacity of stakeholders (policymakers, energy planners and climate change development practitioners) to identify, assess and utilize diverse types of policy and market-based instruments in support of low emission development goals, and specifically aim to:

  • Raise awareness among policymakers on the rationale for supporting LEDS through voluntary, regulatory and market-based instruments;
  • Enable open access to knowledge and experience through a combination of state-of the-art e-courses, knowledge products, tools, webinars and face-to-face exchanges that will facilitate the identification, evaluation and implementation of LED policy instruments suitable to country-specific contexts; 
  • Identify innovations and promote lessons learnt and  good practice with regard to policy instruments for LED;
  • Foster knowledge exchange among clients, drawing from the experience of World Bank Operations (including the PMR and other teams), partners and client countries.

Cities and Climate Change
Almost half of the world’s population currently lives in urban areas and consumes 60 to 80% of the energy produced worldwide.  Concentration of economic activities and resultant higher standards of living make cities major sources of anthropogenic GHG emissions.  Each planning, policy and infrastructure decision of a city is likely to influence the long term trends of GHG emissions — this, together with their ability to act at times faster and more efficiently over national entities as they can be governed by local, rather than national or international, policies, make cities major players in the climate change action arena.
Therefore, we are supporting the preparation of low carbon development strategies for cities and helping them establish institutional frameworks for implementation, as well as fostering development of programmatic carbon finance programs where appropriate.
Our capacity building objective is to support the development of sustainable, climate friendly cities.  We aim to achieve this by providing knowledge services, technical capacity support and practical insights to urban sector professionals (including city government officials, NGOs, technical institutions and consultants) on how to develop and finance multi-sector, city-wide climate change programs.  City-wide programs are being designed to support cities that are undertaking strategic, cross-sectoral approach to planning, administration and financing of low carbon, climate change mitigation and adaptation projects and policies.