In the News | Jun 02 2017

Dominica is steadily progressing towards integrating and mainstreaming climate resilience into national planning and development.

Haoua Abdoulaye poses for a photo with his village's warrantage stock in Tillabery, Niger, on April 18, 2017. Thomson Reuters Foundation/Kieran Guilbert
In the News | May 17 2017

Lack of storage forces farmers to sell their harvest at low prices - but changing that can help them get ahead.

Feature Story | May 06 2017

“Tomorrow brings many things,” an old Zambian proverb tells us.  But because of climate change, many Zambian communities need help today to prepare for a tomorrow where shifting temperatures and more frequent extreme weather events are the new normal. 

The Pilot Program for Climate Resilience, a funding window of the Climate Investment Funds, recently travelled to Zambia to meet the change-makers taking charge of climate adaptation efforts in their communities and to visit some adaptation projects.

The everyday can sometimes remind you of the existential.  So it was in the Kazungula district of Zambia when, because of increased flooding which is now becoming more frequent, the minibus taking us to Mungoni Livelihood project sputtered and stalled in the mud.  It was only a minor setback – we soon dug the bus out and continued on our way - but it crystallized how climate change has short-term impacts as well as long-term implications.

It also highlighted the importance of adaptability to new circumstances.  And that’s exactly what the PPCR is aiming to do in conjunction with the Zambian government and the World Bank and African Development Bank.  These projects are needed because climate change is affecting every aspect of life in Zambia, as Auxillia B. Ponga, the Permanent Secretary within the Ministry of National Development and Planning, describes: 

“In some parts of the country we have flooding.  That means people can’t grow their food.  It also goes to impacts on health because if there is flooding, the sanitation aspect is affected.  People will have challenges from moving from one place to the other.  And they can’t grow their usual crops during the rainy season”

Traditionally, communities in this area have reared cattle but because of prolonged droughts they have lost these animals.  But chickens need less water than cattle and are easier to feed.  So the PPCR is funding an agriculture-oriented program which does a number of things across 46 projects.

Firstly, it provides the chickens.  Chickens require less pasture and local-made feed is easier to come by than for other animals.  Secondly, a Livestock Officer provides regular training so the communities are well-equipped and have the knowledge and skills to manage the chickens.  Finally, the local authority runs workshops in business management and project management so people develop the skills they need to foster innovation and entrepreneurship.  Local changemaker Mavis Sibes explains the community’s plans:

“We have reared these chickens and at some point, they will start laying eggs.  We will get these eggs and incubate them in (nearby city) Livingstone. When we make our first sales, with the money we are going to realize, we are going to open an account.  (For the second batch) we will buy our own solar incubators.  When we sell for the third time, we are going to put 50% in the account and share the other 50% so we can help our children and take them to school – because we have a lot of vulnerable people who don’t go to school in our community.”

We then drove to another PPCR project, which is providing villagers with goats.  Like chickens, goats are low-maintenance and can thrive even in drought conditions.  This is certainly needed in Kazungula district.  Local villager Arori Simasi told us how climate change was hurting them: “In the past years, we were suffering because there was no rain.  So there was lots of drought and people didn’t have anything.”

With training from the same Livestock Officer, the community rotate shifts to feed the goats, take them to graze and are already looking to expand the enterprise – there was much talk of selling goats at market once household needs were met and trading them for other types of livestock when the time was right. 

They also spoke of how the money their animals generated was helping pay for their children to go to school so they can escape poverty and expand their opportunities. 

The PPCR is supporting this too.  Nearby, a school located in Sesheke district has a CIF PPCR-funded solar borehole, which dispenses water for pupils and teachers as well as being useful for watering the school-owned and tended vegetable patch.  Nathan Akatama, the acting Head Teacher, explains the ripple effects this water supply is having:

“Having the water here has really helped the children – they have water available for sanitation and for growing food.  The children love it and we’ve shown them how to turn it on and – importantly – how to turn it off!  They use it to water the vegetables too and grow eggplant, okra and tomatoes. We’ve noticed a real difference in enrollment and attendance.  Since it was installed, we’ve gone from 126 pupils to 255.  This is something that has changed everybody’s lives around here.”

While clearing canals and digging ditches may not immediately seem as obviously impactful as early years schooling, for communities living near the Barotse sub-basin of the Zambezi River, it is incredibly important.That’s because an unclogged canal helps drain out fields during and after intense rains, regulating the amount of water which would be optimal for growing crops.   Pomolo Akowondo, who leads the small team responsible for manually clearing the canals, is clear about the benefits for agriculture:

“It helps farmers in many ways.  One, it makes the land dry so they can easily cultivate their fields.  Second, when canals are cleared it becomes easy for the farmers to transport their produce from the place of production to the markets. I have personally seen the benefits of this exercise because before people used to have very low yields.  After the clearing of the canals was done, people have actually increased their yields.  So it has helped them a lot.”

“It has helped women a lot in the sense that in our communities we may have more women than men so these are the people responsible for taking care of children, taking them to school and so forth.  It has helped women to have enough food to feed their families.” 

But not all canals can be dug and cleared by hand.  Some of them are so large that heavy machinery is used.   Just a few miles away, we spoke to Caesar Zakala, a water engineer for the Senanga district, who told us how a PPCR-funded large-scale canal clearing is driving heavyweight progress:

“The immediate impact is we have areas which were flooded throughout the rainy season that are now dry.  Then, navigation. Because the canals have increased in size (width and depth) people can easily navigate.  Then, of course, there’s the fishing aspect – we’re expecting a lot of fish this year because of this canal.”

Agriculture, education, infrastructure – climate change is impacting all of these.  This requires action and there is no time to waste.  In Zambia, we have a shining example of the benefits of communities taking action on adaptation and climate resilience.

In the News | Apr 27 2017

As of 2016, 105,000 beneficiaries in 14 districts, where more than 90% of the population live off farming, are seeing benefits of resilience efforts supported by the PPCR.

Hellshire Beach, Jamaica (Photo: Thomson Reuters Foundation)
In the News | Mar 28 2017

Pollution and warmer temperatures have killed reefs off the shore of Hellshire Beach, allowing waves to pound it and wash away the sand.

Bhutan signs PPCR Project Preparation Grant (Photo: World Bank)
| Mar 07 2017

The project is supported by a preparatory grant provided by the Climate Investment Fund through the Pilot Program for Climate Resilience Program (PPCR). 

Feature Story | Jan 25 2017

For the past decade, annual temperature records have been broken with disturbing regularity. Climate change is expected to adversely impact economies around the world, especially those in developing countries, and risks pushing 100 million people into extreme poverty by 2030. Making climate-vulnerable sectors such as agriculture, health, and infrastructure more resilient is critical to reducing the negative economic and social impacts of climate change. But the costs to make this happen are expected to run billions of dollars a year, of which public funds will only be able to cover a small fraction.

The private sector - ranging from individual farmers to small and medium enterprises to large companies across a variety of sectors – will likely shoulder the vast majority of these costs. But with these costs also comes unique opportunities. Companies with the foresight to properly assess and address their climate risks can protect future revenue streams and potentially create a competitive advantage.

A new report 'Private Sector Investment in Climate Adaptation in Developing Countries', published by the Climate Investment Funds (CIF) examines how development finance institutions can play an important role in helping companies overcome the barriers to making their assets and operations more climate resilient and to help close the financing gap. The report looks at what Multilateral Development Banks (MDBs), in particular, are doing in the climate adaptation space, with a goal to help provide practitioners and private companies with a deeper understanding of how they can better support climate resilience projects in the future.


Credit: Sofie Tesson / Taimani Films / World Bank

Here are four key takeaways from the report:

1. Addressing Knowledge Gaps in the Private Sector Matters

Tools such as feasibility studies, business risk assessments, technical assistance and market studies can help address private sector knowledge gaps. In other words, most companies are not fully aware of the risks that they may face due to a changing climate, as well as the technological and investment opportunities available to address those risks. This is particularly true for sectors such as agriculture, infrastructure, and water management. Often, making the link between climate impacts and business risk can help drive companies to consider measures to make their operations more climate resilient.

For instance, an IFC project in Mozambique conducted a feasibility study to demonstrate the technical and financial viability of irrigating agricultural blocks for field crops, vegetables, and tree crops to help smallholder farmers overcome barriers to investment in irrigation technologies. And an EBRD project in Bosnia and Herzegovina conducted a business risk assessment for a pulp and paper company to stress test local water availability under future climate scenarios. These tools can help businesses properly assess the climate risks that could affect their operations, helping decision makers apply the necessary resources to mitigate those risks.

2. Concessional Financing When Returns are Uncertain is Important
Concessional finance is an important financing tool where returns are long and/ or uncertain. Concessional finance – funds provided at below market rates and/or with longer repayment periods - can be critical to reducing the real and perceived risks facing these investments. They can also help align incentives to push projects over the finish line that wouldn’t otherwise be feasible. 

MDBs have reported on the effectiveness of using concessional financing to minimize first mover costs when piloting innovative projects. The Inter-American Development Bank, for example, offered a $5.75 million loan on concessional terms from the Pilot Program for Climate Resilience (PPCR) to the Jamaica National Building Society in order to on-lend funds to housing developers and construction firms for water efficient products. This concessional loan was necessary to move the project forward as it came at a time when dedicated lending for water efficient technologies was non-existent in the market.

3. Intermediated Financing Can be Effective for Engaging Small Businesses 
Bringing in smaller, local financial institutions can be a necessary step to effectively engage micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in climate adaptation. Intermediated Financing can be an effective way to engage MSMEs in climate adaptation activities. MSMEs often face challenges with regards to lack of capacity to address climate risks to their business. And they face an additional hurdle as these companies are often too small to be directly engaged with development finance institutions (DFIs).

DFIs can overcome this barrier by providing local financial institutions with on-lending/credit line products or credit enhancement (e.g. first loss provisions or guarantees for default risk). These local banks can then engage with their MSME clients to help finance climate resilience products. For example, EBRD’s CLIMADAPT financing facility offers credit to local banks to provide financing to small businesses in Tajikistan for sustainable technologies. The local banks are able to leverage their client relationships and expertise in order to effectively identify and support climate resilience investments for SMEs.

4. Scaling Investments through Collaboration Can Help Mitigate Project Risk
Intensive collaboration with other stakeholders can help mitigate project risk and scale investments. Even though many DFIs have gained some experience in the market, the challenge for private sector adaptation investments can prove difficult for one organization to implement on their own.

Long term and patient collaboration with clients and partner DFIs can often be necessary to move private sector adaptation investments forward. For instance, IFC and IDB have worked with Ecom Agroindustrial Corporation (ECOM), one of the world’s biggest coffee traders, on a combined six investments worth close to $200 million. These existing relationships helped build the trust necessary to undertake the first in a series of climate resilience projects benefitting small holder farmers in Latin America. This project combines concessional finance, guarantees, and company contributions along with private sector commitments to buy the crops, helping ensure that the project makes financial and business sense for all stakeholders.

This report will be discussed further at an upcoming BBL event, happening Thursday, January 26th from 12:30 – 2:00 pm at the World Bank headquarters in Washington, DC. For additional information, including how to register for the event, via  this link.

Download the Report  here.

Press Release | Jan 13 2017

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The African Development Bank (AfDB), with support from the Climate Investment Funds (CIF), has awarded a contract to Swedish consulting firm CPMA International to help develop a global Adaptation Benefit Mechanism (ABM).

 Costs of natural disasters for small states can be more than four times that for larger countries. (Photo: IISD)
Feature Story | Dec 19 2016

Sometimes, small isn’t necessarily beautiful.  A new policy paper by the International Monetary Fund highlights the big consequences small states can suffer from natural disasters. 

The paper shows that on average, the economic costs of natural disasters for small states can be more than four times that for larger countries. Small states can also suffer damage amounting to between 15 and 30% of GDP – these levels of devastation are almost never experienced by larger states. 

As the report explains: “Climate change is projected to affect small states disproportionately, partly by exacerbating natural disasters and partly through more gradual effects such as rising sea level. Small states will thus face much larger economic costs from climate change than larger peers. The impact on important economic sectors (agriculture, tourism, fishing) and pressures on ecosystems could exacerbate poverty and emigration.”

Climate change is projected to affect small states disproportionately
(Photo: Soufriere, St Lucia/Tim Welch)

Small Island Developing States (SIDS) are particularly vulnerable.  That’s why the $1.2 billion Pilot Program for Climate Resilience, a funding window of the $8.3 billion Climate Investment Funds, is assisting national governments in integrating climate resilience into development planning and providing additional funding to put these plans into action and pilot innovative measures to tackle pressing climate-related risks.

The PPCR is helping SIDS increase their understanding of climate change and its impacts, improve their capacity to adapt and develop high priority investments on adaptation.

For example, in Jamaica, a $6.5 million project aims to improve climate data and information management. The ambition is to make this more accurate, timely, wider in coverage and easier to access and use by coastal communities, particularly farmers and fishermen. PPCR funding contributes to Early Warning Systems, improved equipment and observations – all of which lead to better forecasting.  The project will contribute to Jamaica’s effort to integrate climate change into decision-making processes and adapt to its effects.

Combining finance for adaptation with strategic planning for development reduces risks and PPCR’s Financing Water Adaptation in the New Urban Housing Sector project, with funding approved by the PPCR’s governing body, will aim to do just that.  By introducing adaptation measures into new private sector housing development and increasing awareness of the practical and competitive advantages of building climate-resilient housing, it will help Jamaican communities and businesses.

 Costs of natural disasters for small states can be more than four times that for larger countries (Photo: Climate Tracker)

In Samoa, 70 percent of the population lives within a kilometer of the coast. Approximately four-fifths of the country’s 400 km coastline is at risk from erosion, flooding or landslides. A PPCR grant of $14.6 million administered by the World Bank supports a program assisting 45,000 Samoans in coastal communities in adapting to climate change and variability; protects coastal infrastructure; and increases awareness about climate change impacts and adaptation activities among communities, civil society and government.

The project provides training and support in targeted communities to update and implement local coastal infrastructure plans, and for activities that increase the resilience of coastlines, near-shore areas and coral reefs. It offers community grants for village-level projects that target coastal resilience like planting activities, mangrove rehabilitation, improved water storage or the relocation of small infrastructure.

St Lucia is also under threat from climate change, as Farzana Yusuf-Leon of St Lucia’s Water Resource Management Agency explains: “The climate change impacts of increased incidences of floods, reduced availability of water – these are not simply expected impacts, they are actually current.  Because of the recognition that these impacts are devastating to Saint Lucia.  We recognized the need for improvements in our climate services and climate data.

“Through PPCR, a national geonode was established and developed and is currently being used.  It’s called SLING – St Lucia Integrated National Geonode.  It’s a web-based application – a repository of geospatial information. A number of agencies collect geospatial data but there’s very little collaboration.  SLING gathers all this data, keeps it in a central repository for easier accessibility so this information can now be used towards more informed planning and decision making.” 

And at the regional level, all programs in the Caribbean and the Pacific are increasing learning-by-doing and sharing the lessons with one another. 

By investing in SIDS’ resilience, the PPCR is helping these countries and others not just survive but thrive.

Feature Story | Dec 15 2016

Ranked 187th out of 187 countries on the Human Development Index, Niger is the world’s poorest country.  It is almost four times the size of the UK or slightly more than twice the size of California. The high variability in the country’s rainfall patterns make the population, 80% of whose livelihoods depend on agriculture and livestock-based activities, extremely vulnerable to climate-related hazards. Droughts and floods and soil erosion and degradation drive persistent economic and food insecurity and endemic poverty.

To tackle these challenges, Niger’s strategy for climate resilient growth and poverty reduction targets investments at the intersection of climate-related risks, food security, and sustainable land and water management.  And the Pilot Program for Climate Resilience (PPCR) – a $1.2 billion funding window of the Climate Investment Funds – is playing its part.

Photo: Stephan Gladieu / World Bank

Niger has been part of the PPCR family since its inception in 2008. Niger has received total funding of $110 million to support its climate resilience efforts. PPCR’s work in the country is strongly aligned with the government’s aims of integrating climate resilience into national and local government planning and budgeting mechanisms. By implementing climate resilient land and water management programs, Niger can reduce the rural population’s vulnerability to climate change and improve the quality and accessibility of weather and climate information.

In November 2016, at the UN Climate Conference (COP22) in Morocco, the government of Niger convened a panel discussion to highlight the results and lessons of the country’s PPCR work. Officials from the Ministry of Environment and the Inter-State Committee for Drought Control in the Sahel, explained the step-by-step process to implement an effective partnership and climate-resilient strategic investment program.

A highlight in the presentation was the Community Action Program for Climate Resilience (CAPCR), which is targeting food security. The program helps communities by providing water pumps to boost vegetable production. There’s also cash for food schemes for the most vulnerable people, mostly widows and young children. It’s also drawing on locally-based indigenous techniques to counter the area of drylands with ‘demi-lunes,’ a half-moon shaped area on the ground that helps to restore ecosystems through systematically trapping moisture.  The community-based efforts underpinning the CAPCR underpin the government’s flagship program ‘Nigeriens Nourish Nigeriens’ – an ambitious effort to secure much needed food security in the country.

Working with the African Development Bank, the PPCR is supporting the Water Resources Mobilization and Development Project. This helps improve the resilience of rural communities dependent on rain-fed farming through sustainable water resources, soil management and the adoption of resilient techniques and technologies. The project has so far improved the lives of more than 700,000 people, half of them women. To date, up to 1,000 farmers have been trained in climate resilient agricultural technologies and practices. Up to 250 have accessed credit.

Photo: World Bank

The CIF and AfDB-funded climate resilience program is supporting rural communities to improve the quality and accessibility of climate and weather information.  It will directly benefit 150,000 producers across Niger’s 235 districts; and 1,500 producers will receive agro-meteorological support.  This will enable smallholder farmers to make informed decisions, better manage risk and adapt to climate change. 

There is an old Nigerien proverb which says “before starting to sing, the young bird will listen to the song of the old.  As one of the earliest members of the PPCR, Niger had valuable lessons to share with a standing-room-only audience at COP22.

Highlighting its results, the government made a call for continued support for its adaptation efforts. “Many investments will be in made in Niger’s climate resilience in the coming years – all in all about $9 billion,” said Yahaya Nazoumo, focal point for PPCR in Niger. “Most of the funding will come from domestic resources. But more financing is necessary and we are calling upon our international partners to continue to support us in our fight against climate change.”