In an effort to leverage new technology and reach more of its implementing partners around the world, the Adaptation Fund is launching a new webinar series to connect National Implementing Entities (NIEs) and prospective NIEs to share lessons and experience.

The Fund already conducts regional workshops directly in the developing countries that it supports, in order to strengthen capacity of national organisations to manage climate finance and develop adaptation projects. It has held almost 10, globally and in Washington, D.C., since last year when the Readiness Program for Climate Finance 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, localised adaptation and resilience projects.”

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 consultations 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), and Angie 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.”

Sylvia Wicander, Climate Change and Biodiversity Program Officer for World Conservation Monitoring Centre, presented a 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 message from the webinar was that in the development and implementation of adaptation projects, it is important to appreciate that communities are not homogenous. Community engagement and consultation should therefore be inclusive accommodating all community groups including women, the elderly and all interested and/or affected stakeholders. Another take home message was that it is important to inspire others and to build trust with targeted communities.

Wangare Kirumba, of the National Environment Management Authority, Kenya’s NIE, 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, such as about the Climate Vulnerability and Capacity Analysis (CVCA) tool, 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.”

For more information about the Adaptation Fund, including future webinars, please see here.


Image credit: Dam under construction in Sri Lanka. Lakshman Nadaraja/World Bank