Reforming climate finance to support locally led adaptation: principles for moving to business unusual


This online event on November 18 discussed how finance flows must enable actors at the local level to lead the development and design of climate adaptation solutions.

Last updated 19 November 2020
Two people planting rice.

Two people planting rice in Gazipur District, Bangladesh (Photo: Fardouse Lomat Jahan Rumpa via Unsplash licence)

There is global consensus on the need for actors and institutions at the local level to lead the development and design of adaptation solutions. Changes in finance flows, policy frameworks and organisational practices are needed to bring about this vision of locally led adaptation.

Evidence suggests that if we localise the way we plan, finance and deliver climate, nature and poverty solutions, more just solutions will be delivered by virtue of being closer to those most affected and with least voice. Working on the local level can also deliver more integrated, context-specific, agile, efficient, democratic and accountable solutions to and for the poorest and most excluded people.

This interactive session organised by IIED and the World Resources Institute (WRI) at London Climate Action Week on Wednesday, 18 November, included ‘Hard talk: committing to locally led adaptation’ – a mock-interview presenting a vision and principles for locally led adaptation. We also crowdsourced ways of holding these actors accountable to commit to the promotion of locally led adaptation by enabling finance flows, policy frameworks and organisational practices.

The session:

  • Presented a vision and principles for locally led adaptation,
  • Provided examples of how these principles imply changes to existing adaptation financing approaches and help achieve 'business unusual', and
  • Explored how adaptation actors/institutions align with these and what more is needed.

About the speakers

Vel Gnanendran is director of climate change and environment at the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO). He was previously the director of finance and delivery at DFID, and the head of DFID Tanzania.

Rohini Kohli is lead technical specialist, Adaptation Planning, Climate Change Adaptation at UNDP. She has worked for over 15 years on issues related to poverty, environment, gender and climate change, with a focus on data, policy and planning.

Dr Muhammed Musa is executive director of BRAC International. He has an extensive background in leading humanitarian, social development, and public health organisations in international, cross-cultural settings.

Farayi Madziwa is coordinator of the Readiness Programme at the Adaptation Fund. 

Clare Shakya is director of IIED's Climate Change research group. She has over 25 years of experience in development, in climate, energy and natural resources.

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Larissa Setaro (, senior coordinator, IIED's Climate Change research group