working paper

Locally Led Climate Adaptation

What Is Needed to Accelerate Action and Support?

Stefanie Tye Isabella Suarez
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Appendix B: Compilation of the Locally Led Projects and Programs Cited in This Paper

Projects were considered to be locally led if most or all of the criteria discussed in Section 4 were present at different stages of the process and when adaptive or socioeconomic benefits were recorded in the literature. The strength of these locally led characteristics differ greatly by project and stage.

Even though the literature review was as exhaustive as possible, only a small subset (22) of interventions strongly featured these locally led elements, although many of them fell toward the more locally led part of the Figure 2 spectrum with community-based solutions or participatory planning and implementation being a common feature. In many of these cases, the authors found that communities’ and/or their representatives’ control over funding allocation was often the differentiator in considering projects to be strongly locally led; some of the best documented of those projects, included as examples throughout this paper, are found below. Nevertheless, it is important to note that more examples likely exist; for example, interventions that are self-funded at the subnational or local level and have little or no documented evidence. Table B1 compiles the examples included in the body of this paper.

Table B1 | List of Locally Led Projects and Programs Cited in This Paper

Intervention or Fund Name


Brief Description

Locally Led Characteristics

Building Resilience and Adaptation to Climate Extremes and Disasters (BRACED) Anukulan project, 201517, extended 201819


A UK Aid Direct (UKAID)–funded project that facilitated public-private partnerships for the development of sustainable rural organizations around economic opportunities in climate-resilient agriculture, water resource management, and community forestry. It promoted the harmonization of disaster risk reduction planning and climate change adaptation strategies to influence climate risk management policies and institutions.a

The project ensured coordination and capacity building between and among the district, municipality, and provincial levels of stakeholders involved. Control of funds given to women forced their agency to take on leading roles in rural institutions and contributed to economic opportunities through public-private partnerships. The project was designed to scale up and integrate proven approaches to strengthen climate change resilience for people in poverty and vulnerable households and communities.b

Climate Action through Landscape Management (CALM) Program, 2019–2024


Financed by the World Bank and implemented by the Ethiopian government, CALM Program seeks to provide results-based financing to increase the adoption of sustainable land management practices and expand access to secure land tenure in rural areas. Among the program’s targets are to incentivize the establishment of Watershed Users’ Associations and implement participatory watershed management plans in up to 5,000 watersheds of the Ethiopian highlands, as well as issue up to 8 million landholding certificates.c

The initiative employs a participatory approach with strong locally led characteristics. For example, the teams involved are made up of the local chairman, an official from the local government, male and female representatives or leaders of each community representing different social groups, respected community members, religious leaders, youth representatives, and others (such as innovative farmers) proposed by the community.d

Decentralising Climate Funds (DCF), 2013–19

Senegal, Mali, Kenya, and Tanzania

Decentralising Climate Funds was an action-research project through which local governments established devolved Climate Adaptation Funds in four Global South countries. The funds were used for investing at the local level and building sustainable and climate-resilient livelihoods for communities. The work, led by the International Institute for Environment and Development, was part of a wider program to devolve climate finance to the local level.e

The process of devolving finance involved integrating flexible, local, and often customary planning with formal planning and budgeting processes to create informed and inclusive governance processes. The fund flexibly allocated 90% of each fund to public-good investments prioritized by communities and local authorities, with the remaining going toward management. In this model, local and national governments piloted local adaptation funds, where money was planned and budgeted in partnership with communities through committees.

Gran Chaco Proadapt, 2015–Present

Gran Chaco region (northern Argentina, Bolivia, and Paraguay)

Gran Chaco Proadapt is a tri-national initiative implemented by the Avina Foundation and supported by Redes Chaco, an active coalition of small-to-medium-sized social organizations (e.g., farmers’ associations, women’s groups). It is funded by the Inter-American Development Bank and the Nordic Development Fund.e The Chaco region has developed a robust and expansive network of local organizations that meets and works together to solve common challenges (e.g., low productivity, droughts, floods). The Proadapt project has become a model of public-private cooperation due to its successful and community-led development of an early warning system to anticipate floods, prevent deaths, and avoid production losses.f It has begun a second phase (Nanum Project) focused on supporting women’s entrepreneurship, improving digital literacy, and expanding internet connectivity in the region.

Due to years of trust-building and collaboration, community networks in the Gran Chaco region are well-coordinated and use consensus to decide which large-scale initiatives to engage in, and how.

The Proadapt project is based on a collaborative, bottom-up organization model with local groups and communities coordinating with local authorities at its center. For example, local leaders were trained to understand and develop flood risk maps, and rising waters are monitored and controlled through participative, real-time tracking to complement satellite data.g The agency of women is also actively promoted and supported, and women continue to gain more decision-making power over time.

Horn of Africa Risk Transfer for Adaptation (HARITA), 2009–2012


HARITA was an integrated risk management framework funded by the Rockefeller Foundation and Swiss Re and developed by Oxfam America, the Relief Society of Tigray (REST), and their local Ethiopian partners to enable poverty-stricken farmers to strengthen their food and income security through a combination of improved resource management, insurance, microcredit, and savings. It also integrated disaster risk reduction and affordable insurance that allowed farmers in poverty to pay insurance premiums with their labor through risk reduction projects in their communities. Because of the success of the project, it was succeeded by Oxfam and the United Nations World Food Programme’s R4 Rural Resilience Initiative to build on its work.h

HARITA actively and collaboratively engaged communities in designing and implementing measures to prevent soil erosion and rainfall runoff and undertake small-scale irrigation work. The model was participatory in design and focused on capacity building to ensure sustainability and scalability of the project. Farmers themselves suggested an innovative alternative to paying for insurance with cash that led to the development of an “insurance-for-work” program that was paired with an existing “food-and-cash-for-work” program, thus expanding insurance access to many more farmers. In 2012, 93% of farmers paid with labor in the villages that offered this option; by 2016, insurance had been sold to 18,000 households, and has been linked to an increased access to credit.i

Huairou Commission’s Community Resilience Fund (CRF), 2011–Present

Guatemala and Honduras

The CRF is a mechanism that channels funds (ranging from $8,000 to $40,000) to grassroots women’s groups, allowing them to identify priorities, demonstrate disaster resilience practices, and collaborate with governments to scale up and strengthen solutions. With funding from the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, United Nations Development Programme, and the World Bank Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR), the Huairou Commission provides funding, resources, and training to amplify and scale the work of existing or semiorganized coalitions at the local and community levels.j

In Guatemala and Honduras, resilience-building practices are designed and implemented by women from grassroots groups. Thanks to the success of the project, they were subsequently invited as expert practitioners to collaborate with government ministries and train other women.k

Jinotega, Nicaragua

Implemented by the Unión de Cooperativas de Mujeres Productoras Las Brumas, Nicaraguan women leveraged the funds to start new initiatives or expand and deepen existing ones to reduce the women farmers’ economic risks from floods and droughts. Women were trained to map risk and vulnerabilities in their communities, and these maps were used to identify priorities in the types of agricultural practice solutions that would be deployed.l


Grassroots women’s groups in Indonesia used the grants to set up 12 grocery stores in their villages to deal with income and food insecurity from continual climate shocks.m

The Philippines

Participating Philippine communities had already established a savings and credit practice where communities pooled their savings and provided loans to members. Members used CRF loans to improve their various sources of livelihood (e.g., farming, fishing, running sari-sari shops, raising livestock).n These community-managed funds were used in community-led negotiations with local municipalities to show that communities were optimizing the use of grants.o

Kenya’s County Climate Change Funds, 2011–2014, scaling phase: 2018–2022


The Kenya County Climate Change Fund mechanism, initially piloted as the Climate Adaptation Fund in Isiolo County and subsequently scaled out to the counties of Garissa, Kitui, Makueni, and Wajir, is a pioneering mechanism to facilitate the flow of climate finance to county governments to empower local communities.p It has involved strengthening public participation in the management and use of those funds to build their resilience to a changing climate.q

The pilot’s objective was to improve climate finance flows to newly formed county governments, while empowering local communities via public participation in the design and use of these funds. The pilot showed that, when financially and technically prepared, local governments can identify and manage investments that meet both local and adaptation priorities. The mechanism was further refined by the Ada Consortium to establish local adaptation planning committees, tools to integrate climate into county plans and legislation, and a monitoring and evaluating system that embedded community-led review of programs.r

Myanmar Alliance initiative, 2015–18


The Myanmar Alliance initiative was a £5 million grant project awarded to BRACED by the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development to strengthen community preparedness, response, and ability to adapt to climate extremes and disasters. The program implemented activities based on the immediate and urgent needs of the communities, prioritizing women and children as key drivers of community resilience and sustainable development.s It was implemented by an alliance led by Plan International Myanmar and composed of five other agencies: ActionAid, World Vision, BBC Media Action, Myanmar Environment Institute, and UN-Habitat.

The project facilitated prioritizing and selecting appropriate resilience-building measures to address urgent and immediate needs at the community level, establishing active and open spaces for vulnerable groups, like women and children, to lead on the project’s decision-making and planning. The initiative sought to shift community-level power dynamics, ensuring that women’s voices were integrated into the decision-making structures of the resilience planning processes and subnational mechanisms for multi-stakeholder resilience planning.t

Tajikistan Climate Resilience Financing Facility (CLIMADAPT), 2016–Present


CLIMADAPT is a US$10 million credit line program that involves the government of Tajikistan, the Climate Investment Funds, and the United Kingdom. It is a pilot initiative to facilitate access to climate resilience technologies improving the use of water, energy, and land resources in Tajikistan.u The credit line seeks to make the private sector more resilient and operates through Tajik banks and microfinance institutions for on-lending to small businesses, farmers, and households through local financial institutions.

Resilience-building technology and measures were vetted and listed by CLIMADAPT but it was the communities and individuals themselves who decided on a specific adaptation measure based on whether the solution was responsive and appropriate for their needs and livelihoods. These investments save in the region of 50 gigawatt-hours per year of primary energy and 13 million cubic meters of water annually, and prevent soil erosion estimated to be about 695 tons/year.v

Urban Poor Fund International (UPFI), 2008–Present

Active in 16 countries

UPFI is a subsidiary of Shack/Slum Dwellers International and provides capital to members through national urban poor funds disbursed via two streams of funding: capital for projects and technical assistance. Projects under the fund focus on community needs around water and sanitation, land and tenure security, livelihoods, housing, and other infrastructure.w

With the founding proposition that people in poverty are central actors in urban development and poverty eradication, the fund recognizes that these communities are best able to choose and co-manage their own urban improvement programs. Communities have direct control of capital to enable them to negotiate with formal bodies such as government and banks. By the end of its third year, in 2010, UPFI had funded the building of over 4,000 homes, secured tenure for 30,000 families, used $6.3 million for over 100 projects in 16 countries, and brought about policy changes in its various focus areas.x y


a. Leavy et al. 2018, b. Leavy et al. 2018, c. World Bank 2019, d. World Bank n.d, e. DCF Alliance 2019, f. Avina Foundation 2017, g. Avina Foundation 2017, h. Avina Foundation 2017, i. Madajewicz, 2013, j. Madajewicz 2013, k. Smith et al. 2014, l. Huairou Commission 2016, m. Rodriguez 2010, n. ADB 2017, o. Huairou Commission 2016, p. ADB 2017, q. Crick et al. 2019, r. Chaudhury et al. 2020, s. Crick et al. 2019, t. Leavy et al. 2018, u. Leavy et al. 2018, v. CIF 2018, w. CIF 2018, x. Schermbrucker et al. 2016, y. UPFI n.d.

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