In an effort to leverage new technology and reach more of its implementing partners around the world in one place, the Adaptation Fund has expanded its Climate Finance Readiness Program to include a new webinar series.
The Fund already conducts regional workshops directly in developing countries that it supports to strengthen capacity of national organizations to manage climate finance and develop adaptation projects, holding nearly 10 globally and in Washington, D.C. just since last year when the Readiness Program was launched.
The webinars allow accredited National Implementing Entities (NIEs) – which can access funds and design projects directly through the Fund’s pioneering Direct Access modality – to come together and share lessons and best practices while bridging distances.
Held last month, the first webinar focused on “Community Engagement and Stakeholder Consultation in Climate Adaptation Projects”, and included presentations from the Readiness Program and NGOs followed by an open online discussion.
“I was very pleased to see we had many participants in our very first Climate Finance Readiness Webinar, with at least 11 of our 20 accredited NIEs attending from around the world – from Africa to Asia to Latin America,” said Marcia Levaggi, Manager of the Adaptation Fund. “This was one of our hopes in launching the webinars – to bring together NIEs and prospective NIEs to share lessons and successes so that we can reach more vulnerable communities with concrete effective, localized adaptation and resilience projects.”
Going forward, the Adaptation Fund will endeavor to alternate times of the webinars to reach different time zones.
The first webinar addressed a key topic. Consulting with communities, government, local leaders, business and civil society is pivotal throughout the project development process and will lead to projects that are more effective and sustainable in the long run. “It’s highly recommended that consultation include key stakeholders early on in the development of the project concept,” said Farayi Madziwa, the Adaptation Fund’s Climate Finance Readiness Coordinator who moderated the webinar. “The consultation process should involve all stakeholders within the most vulnerable communities, including women which is critical, all the way through project development.”
Anne Hammill, Director for Resilience at the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD), andAngie Daze, also of IISD, presented on the importance of including both consultation – which seeks stakeholders’ views on issues at the beginning of a project – and engagement – an ongoing collaborative process that aims to empower stakeholders throughout the project and beyond. “Engagement can help to identify climate risks affecting the community, highlight impacts on livelihoods and ecosystems or the economy, identify drivers of vulnerability and appropriate adaptation options,” said Hammill. “It can [also] really strengthen the capacity of communities to engage in adaptation and the decision-making process.”
Daze discussed the benefits of using assessment tools such as Climate Vulnerability and Capacity Analysis, developed by CARE and designed to better understand a community’s vulnerability to climate change and adaptive capacity, as well as identify solutions. For example, CVCA was used in the Peruvian village of Sullucuyoc in the Andes which is prone to landslides, temperature increases and severe rainfall impacting agriculture, homes, roads and water systems. Through the tool, they learned there are strong community organizations in place but issues such as gender inequality, so they designed disaster risk reduction community action plans around local groups.
Sylvia Wicander, Climate Change and Biodiversity Program Officer for World Conservation Monitoring Centre, presented another step-by-step community planning tool that conducts social vulnerability assessments to climate change and develops adaptation action plans through 3-4 day workshops held directly in vulnerable communities. The workshops bring local stakeholders together to frame climate risks, effects and capabilities and adaptation options for building capacity through solutions such as ecosystem restoration, clean stoves, better land-use planning, and climate-resilient crops. “It’s really engaging communities and empowering them,” she said.
A key question that followed the presentations was how to ensure all vulnerable stakeholders are included in the consultation process. Daze said it’s important to work through credible, local organizations that are already active and familiar with the communities. Wicander said they work with reliable local partners, map out stakeholders in advance, including village elders and government leaders, and become familiar with local customs before approaching the community.
Wangare Kirumba, of Kenya’s NIE the National Environment Management Authority who attended the webinar, suggested adding an authoritative expert to provide further insight beyond case studies in future webinars, but said she learned a lot. “It had some very useful tips, like the CVCA, to communicate and engage from a successful case,” she said. “It’s something they did and we are learning by doing, so we don’t have to reinvent the wheel.”
In addition to the webinars and in-country workshops, the Adaptation Fund hosted two side events during COP21 in Paris bringing together several NIEs to share experiences with Direct Access, the accreditation and project development processes, successes and tips.