The Importance of Scaling Up Locally-led Climate Adaptation

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The Importance of Scaling Up Locally-led Climate Adaptation

An article from World Resources Institute (WRI) discusses the importance of locally-led adaptation efforts and why is it crucial for communities to cope with the impacts of climate change.

Locally led climate adaptation initiatives are those that place the power on local communities to influence adaptation efforts. According to the World Resource Institute review of 374 community-based projects worldwide, only 6% are locally led and not happening at a scale.

Communities are at the frontlines for climate change impacts, so they are in the best place to identify solutions to the problem.

International and national authorities should entrust finances and delegate authority and power to local communities to use resources to protect themselves and build their resilience.

Allowing local actors to lead climate adaptation can deliver democratic, equitable, and context-specific solutions and bring multiple benefits, including recognising local knowledge, flexible solutions, and poverty alleviation.

The two WRI working papers explore how to scale up locally-led adaption, incorporate its elements into various intervention phases, and provide examples of effective climate adaptation.

These papers offer three strategies on how to turn principles on locally-led adaption into action at every phase of intervention:

  1. International and national authorities should place the design and funding in the hands of local actors. Funds should be used to answer local needs and priorities, allowing flexibility for changing or unforeseen circumstances. The cites the Urban Poor Fund International (UFTI), which provides capital to the urban poor and gives them direct control on using funds to design and co-manage their development agenda. Urban poor and vulnerable people often face institutional barriers to access funds for climate adaptation. This organization gave them leverage to negotiate with banks and governments for housing and infrastructure projects.
  2. Enhancing the community’s institutional and technical capacity. It includes providing or enhancing local resources to improve their response or adaptation to climate change. The article mentions a grant that could help local communities adapt to climate change – the Global Environment Facility (GEF) Small Grants Programme (SGP), which provides continuous technical and financial support to locals.
  3. Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning should also be locally-led and adopts a bottom-up approach and not a top-down one that lets the community gather and submit data to funders or authorities on top.  The article cites CGIAR’s climate-smart villages (CSV) as an example of a bottom-up evaluation approach that can lead to a response-based evidence on climate change effects on agriculture initiated by locals and tailored to their context.

The article says that the scaling-up of locally-led climate adaptation will need more research to understand its impacts and benefits to integrate it more in climate and development efforts and support social equity and justice.

To read more about locally-led climate adaptation, click the link below:

Source Citation:

Tye, S. & Coger, T. (2021, July 7). 50 Organizations Committed to Locally Led Adaptation. Now What? World Resources Institute. Retrieved from

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