At a glance

Duration
to
Status
Active programmes
Region
Africa
Country
Africa
Benin
Ghana
Mali
Mozambique
Niger
Asia
Bangladesh
Bhutan
Cambodia
Nepal
Oceania
Solomon Islands
Partners
United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF)
Total budget
-
Sector(s)
GCCA priority area(s)
Effects of climate change on the region

Resilience and adaptation to climate change is a major issue for least developed countries (LDCs), as climate change threatens to slow down their growth and hamper their poverty reduction efforts.

One way of rapidly addressing climate change and building resilient communities and economies is to engage the local level more meaningfully, as this is where responsibility for small- to medium-sized adaptation investments typically lies, and local authorities are in the best position to identify the adaptation responses that best meet local needs and fit local circumstances. Yet most local authorities in LDCs are not in a position to contribute effectively to climate change adaptation and resilience building as they lack appropriate budgetary allocations from the national level to do so, are unable to support the incremental costs of climate change adaptation with their own resources, and at best can only access climate finance through national programmes with specific financial arrangements rather than through mechanisms aligned with their own established decision making processes and public expenditure management cycles.

GCCA's action programme
Geographical scope
Country groups
Specific objectives

Increase local authorities’ access to climate finance to implement climate change adaptation activities in target countries.

The programme will achieve these objectives by providing performance-based climate-resilient grants (PBCRGs) and accompanying technical and capacity building support to local authorities in selected LDCs. Within selected countries, it will target primarily rural local authorities of the lowest or second-lowest tier in the government structure, as well as small towns of under 600 000 people.

Key achievements
  • Following the initial work of LoCAL in Cambodia and Bhutan, LoCAL started rolling out the programme to more local governments and more countries across Africa, Asia and the Pacific. 

  • LoCAL Cambodia was initiated thanks to a grant from the Cambodia Climate Change Alliance in 2012. Phase I was completed and in 2013 the country expanded to eight local government (as Phase II, with the support from the Swedish International Development Agency). In Cambodia, the LoCAL approach is included in the 3-year Implementation Plan of the National Programme for Sub-National Democratic Development.

  • Phase I and II LoCAL programmes were designed and adopted (i.e. a memorandum of understanding was signed) in 10 countries – Bangladesh, Benin, Bhutan, Cambodia, Ghana, Lao PDR, Mali, Mozambique, Nepal and Niger. Grants totalling USD 3.47 million were delivered to these countries.

  • Scoping and design was undertaken for an 11th country – Tuvalu – the first LoCAL participating country in the Pacific. Transfer of its grant will be processed in the first semester of 2016.

  • Fifty-seven local governments – representing 4.5 million people – are engaged in the PBCRG system.

  • In 2014 and 2015, 204 climate-resilient investments were selected and/or implemented in Bangladesh, Benin, Bhutan, Cambodia, Ghana, Lao PDR, Mali, Mozambique, Nepal and Niger.

  • More than a dozen high-level awareness-raising and advocacy initiatives were conducted around the world in 2014 and 2015. The visibility gained at these venues was invaluable in promoting both the role of sub-national governments in increasing resilience to climate change effects and the use of PBCRGs.

  • Cambodia nominated the Secretariat of the National Committee for Democratic Development as its first national implementing agency to access Green Climate Fund resources in order to scale up LoCAL in the country.

Main activities per result

Climate change adaptation is mainstreamed into government (particularly local government) planning and budgeting systems.

As a starting point, climate information and vulnerability and adaptation assessments are reviewed or undertaken to inform the next steps of the Action. Afterwards, the local funding mechanism is designed, ensuring that LoCAL grants are channelled through established systems, rather than parallel or ad hoc structures. As a third step,  “investment menus” appropriate for local authorities’ intervention are defined; identifying areas of action within their remit that can promote climate resilience and against which resilience can be measured. The appropriate size of grants are then  determined (to ensure that they are large enough to have an impact but small enough to be manageable at the local level and fiscally sustainable and scalable), and the funded operations are assessed on the basis of outputs and outcomes.

Grants are then disbursed to support the implementation of LoCAL investments in the context of local authorities’ annual planning and budgeting cycles. Their performance is appraised in terms of the degree to which additional resources have been used to build resilience and promote adaptation to climate change.

Capacity building activities are undertaken at all stages according to identified needs; they target the policy, institutional and individual levels.

Increased awareness of the role of and response to climate change at the local level

The impact of the LoCAL project portfolio is monitored and evaluated to determine whether and how they lead to verifiable and meaningful increases in resilience to climate change. On this basis, meaningful lessons and impacts from the programme are consolidated and reported. To support this work, a database of LoCAL-supported actions has been developed.

Technical assistance and knowledge resources are provided to participating countries and to a wider audience to explain and illustrate the role of local authorities in supporting effective and efficient adaptation. Lessons learned, effective approaches to local adaptation and good practices emerging from the programme’s experience are then compiled and disseminated.

Increased amount of climate change adaptation finance available to local governments and local economies.

Donors, national governments and local authorities are continuously engaged on resource mobilisation. This involves supporting national partners to identify potential sources of climate finance (including from an improved distribution of domestic fiscal resources), as well as working with the international community and their representatives in the countries where LoCAL is implemented,to increase the allocation of climate funding available and accessible to local authorities.

For more information, visit the LoCAL webpage on the UNCDF’s website.

Challenges and lessons learned (selected)
  • Performance-based grants provide local authorities with increased opportunities to deal with their development challenges through their own planning and budgeting systems.

  • Adaptation measures financed by performance-based grants are more sustainable than investments made through parallel systems, as ownership by local governments is greater and the financing of the related operations and maintenance costs is thus better prioritised.

  • The PBCRG approach facilitates the mainstreaming of climate change adaptation into local development plans. There is also evidence that it strengthens local authorities’ capacity to identify, prioritise and co-finance climate change adaptation investments.

  • At the national level, it is important to mainstream the performance-based grant approach into policies and laws relating to decentralisation and the transfer of resources to local authorities – and also to have transparent and clear criteria for the selection of local authorities invited to participate in such grant programmes.

Way forward (selected)

Consolidating and expanding the portfolio.

  • As a result of LoCAL’s Lessons Learned workshop held in 2015, LoCAL will consolidate and continue to roll out its portfolio initiative to more local governments in the 11 participating countries. 

  • In 2016, Bangladesh, Benin and Mozambique will begin scaling up to phase II, while Ghana, Mali, Mozambique, Niger and Tuvalu will continue the implementation of phase I. Bhutan, Cambodia and Nepal will start preparing to scale up to phase III to more than 100 local governments, which will be implement from 2017.

Strengthening Partnerships
  • Based on the experiences from Bangladesh, Bhutan, Mali and Nepal, in 2016 LoCAL and UNDP-UNEP Poverty-Environment Initiative will jointly develop and deliver capacity building workshops in some of the local countries where both programmes operate. As part of the partnership with the Korean Environment Institute and the World Resources Institute, LoCAL is in the process to strengthen its climate change scientific base and and monitoring framework for LoCAL participating countries.

  • To support the roll out of the LoCAL initiative in the Pacific region, LoCAL will strengthen the partnership with regional institutions such Commonwealth Local Government Forum, Pacific Risk Resilience Progamme (PRRP) and SPREP. 

  • In 2016, LoCAL will continue to work closely with the UNFCCC LDC group to support LDCs to implement the Paris Agreement, especially to build the capacity and advocacy for the role of sub-national government in increasing resilience.

Creating a standard country-based mechanism.
  • LoCAL will continue to work with countries to develop a standard and internationally recognised country-based mechanism to channel climate adaptation finance and increase resilience at the local level. Thanks to this standard and internationally recognised country-based mechanism, local government in LDCs should be able to access in the future global climate financing from sources like the Green Climate Fund as well as the resources from their own national government.