Local climate finance mechanism helping to fund community-prioritised adaptation

County and local governments in the drylands of Kenya, Mali, Senegal and Tanzania have established  local-level climate adaptation funds with technical support from IIED and government and non-government organisations. These funds improve their readiness to access and disburse national and global climate finance, supporting community-prioritised investments to build climate resilience.

Began 2011
Florence Crick

Senior researcher, IIED's Climate Change group

Mobilising money to where it matters
A programme of work helping to initiate a positive shift in the quantity and quality of climate finance reaching the local level to support locally-led solutions that address climate change, poverty and biodiversity loss
Divisional Adaptation Planning Committees (DAPCs) act as community focal points (Photo: Sam Greene/IIED)

Divisional Adaptation Planning Committees (DAPCs) act as community focal points (Photo: Sam Greene, IIED)

Communities in many contexts have developed their own adaptation strategies, uniquely suited to their environment, to manage climate variability and uncertainty. Over time, they have developed sophisticated, often customary, institutions that control and share resources.

Women and girls are often more vulnerable to climate extremes, however, because they don't have the same access to common resources as men. This seriously affects their income and food security in times of crisis or shortage. They are rarely involved in planning and decision making at community level and their needs often remain unmet.

But there are limits to how well communities can continue to practise adaptive livelihoods in the context of a changing climate. They need the support of an enabling environment created by government-planned adaptation.

Much sub-national and national government development planning fails to serve communities adequately where their livelihoods are based on unpredictability and variability. Planning approaches, assuming constant conditions and rigid yearly budgeting cycles, coupled with limited financial resources and autonomy, undermine local government ability to respond effectively to climate shocks, or support the highly flexible and opportunistic nature of dryland adaptive strategies.

International funding for climate adaptation, including a potential US $1billion through the Green Climate Fund, has begun to flow from developed countries to developing countries, but progress is slow.

Little of this funding is being channelled through sub-national governments to support community-prioritised adaptation projects. Specific mechanisms are needed to ensure a fairer distribution of these funds to the local level to support more vulnerable communities to adapt to climate change.

What is IIED doing?

IIED is part of a community of practice in East and West Africa testing and refining a devolved climate finance and planning mechanism, anchored in the architecture of government decentralisation and through which climate funds are reaching local communities.

The community of practice – an alliance of government and nongovernment organisations in KenyaTanzaniaMali and Senegal – is underpinned by shared principles and a common approach to channelling finance through county and local government to the local level. Below is a representation of the devolved climate finance model, and this can also be viewed on IIED's Flickr site.

a diagram of the devolved climate finance model

In Kenya, National Drought Management Authority of Kenya is driving the scale out of the devolved climate finance approach to sub-national governments nationwide, with support from the World Bank and the Swedish International Development Agency .

In Tanzania, an initial pilot supported by FCDO demonstrated the value of the approach in establishing climate-resilient planning institutions and making strategic, resilience building investment choices. IIED and the United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) are now seeking funds to continue build on successful experiences in the north of the country and expand the approach to new regions. They will work in 15 pilot districts with the President's Office – Regional and Local Government (PO-RALG), the Ministry of Finance, the Institute for Rural Development and Planning, and the Local Government Training Institute in mainland Tanzania. 

There will also be pilots in three districts in Zanzibar, focusing on the private sector through three women's cooperatives: Juhudizetu Cooperative Society (limes), Shaurimoja Cooperative Society (honey) and Shirikani Cooperative Society (seaweed).

In Senegal and Mali, a consortium led by the Near East Foundation, including Innovations, Environment and Development-Africa (IED-Afrique) and IIED, the National Agency for Territorial Collective Investments (ANICT) (French language site) in Mali and the National Programme of Local Development (PNDL) (French language site) in Senegal, has also piloted the approach and demonstrated the ability of countries to modify the approach to suit their own contexts. 

ANICT in Mali and PO-RALG in Tanzania are both seeking accreditation to become a Direct Access Entity of the Green Climate Fund so that they can take the approach to scale, recognising it’s potential for greater value and improved resilience outcomes for the most vulnerable citizens.  

Country-wide community support

Direct experience and learning from across the four countries is helping to establish the core principles of an effective devolved climate finance mechanism, developed from the bottom up. It supports communities to identify and oversee resilience-building investments, using bespoke planning tools. The mechanism's tools incorporate valuable local knowledge and recognise the different ways climate change affects women, men and marginalised groups. 

The mechanism draws upon climate information services to enhance planning, with monitoring and evaluation methods such as the Tracking Adaptation and Measuring Development (TAMD) framework to promote learning along the way. It also reinforces decentralisation infrastructure, enabling more context-relevant approaches to strengthen climate resilience.

Communities from the four countries have prioritised a total of 240 investments using the devolved climate finance mechanism. Investments support livelihood systems by rehabilitating and expanding water facilities for livestock and domestic use, expanding access to livestock health facilities, investing in weather stations, food storage, fish farming and solar energy.

A video produced by IIED and partners in late 2016 explains the approach in detail. This can be viewed below or on IIED's YouTube channel. It is also available in French/en francais.

It's now time to consolidate lessons learnt from piloting the devolved climate finance mechanism, ready to scale up and take the approach to new places.

Additional resources

Video presentation: Water development in the drylands (June 2021)

Blog: How can we incorporate local knowledge into climate planning and policy? …Maps!, by Sam Greene (2020)

Climate finance in Kenya, Peter Odhengo, Joanes Atela, Paul Steele, Victor Orindi, Fiona Imbali (2019), Ada Consortium briefing paper

Climate finance in Kenya: review and future outlook, Peter Odhengo, Joanes Atela, Paul Steele, Victor Orindi, Fiona Imbali (2019), Ada Consortium report

Isiolo County Adaptation Fund: activities, costs, impacts after the First Investment Round, Kenya National Drought Management Authority (NDMA) (2014), NDMA, Kenya

Kenya's new climate fund listens to community ideas for building resilience, blog by Jane Kiiru (2014)

Blog: Maps that build bridges, by Ced Hesse (2020)


Adaptation Consortium

President’s Office Regional Administration and Local Government – Decentralised Climate Finance Project

IED Afrique (French language site)

Near East Foundation