GCCA's action programme
Initial GCCA/GCCA+ contribution
The specific objectives (outcomes) are to:
- Increase local authorities' access to climate finance to implement climate change adaptation investments in target countries
- Establish a standard and internationally recognized country-based mechanism to channel climate adaptation finance and increase local resilience through performance-based climate-resilience grants (PBCRGs).
The expected results (outputs) are the following:
- Result 1: Awareness and capacities to respond to climate change adaptation are increased in targeted local government areas and communities in participating countries
- Result 2: Climate change adaptation is integrated into targeted local authorities' plans and budgets and climate change adaptation interventions and investments are implemented in line with the PBCRG system.
- Result 3: The PBCRG system is effectively piloted (phase I) and/or established (phase II/III) in participating countries and integrate gender, participation and environmental sustainability
- Result 4: The role of local authorities in addressing climate change is increasingly recognised at global level and the mechanism becomes a standard internationally recognised country-based mechanism, through outreach and quality assurance
In each country, the mechanism operates in three distinct phases.
- Phase I: Piloting, consists of initial scoping, followed by testing in two to four local governments. Phase I countries are Ghana, Lao PDR, Lesotho, Mali, Mozambique, Niger, Tanzania and Tuvalu. Ghana, Mali, Mozambique and Niger are ready for phase II. Lao PDR, Lesotho, Tanzania and Tuvalu are expected to be ready for phase II half way through the action. Uganda was scoped and will start phase I as resources become available.
- Phase II: Consolidating, takes place in minimum 5â€“10 local governments in a country. It involves integrating lessons learned in the mechanism and demonstrating the mechanism's effectiveness at a larger scale, through a gradual geographical expansion across different regions of the participating country. Bangladesh, Benin, Cambodia and Nepal are currently in Phase II.
- Phase III: Scaling-up, is full national roll-out of LoCAL based on the results of the previous phases. LoCAL is gradually extended to all local authorities, with domestic or international climate finance, and becomes the national system for channeling adaptation finance to the local level. Budget support from the European Union (EU) will be used by the Government of Bhutan to gradually expand the mechanism, and Cambodia has begun its Phase III preparations.
As countries move from phase I to phase II new local authorities join the mechanism, all the former ones remain engaged. Where there is already funding for phase II or III like Bhutan, Cambodia, Bangladesh, the action will focus on providing technical assistance and quality assurance in line with Result 4.
The main activities for each expected result are listed below. They are adjusted on a country-by-country basis. In each country, the programme operates in three distinct phases (see above).
Result 1: Awareness and capacities to respond to climate change adaptation are increased in targeted local government areas and communities in participating countries
- Awareness and sensitization activities at local and national level on climate change and the role of local authorities in addressing climate change, in particular through LoCAL (ex. communication material, radio and TV programmes, video, stories, and workshops).
- Assessment of needs and capacity gaps in relation to key elements of the approach (ex. CRVA; adaptation planning and mainstreaming; multi-criteria analysis for priorisation and selection of adaptation interventions; gender; accountability and transparency; environmental safeguards).
- Review or undertaking of localized climate risk and vulnerability and adaptation assessments (CRVA) to inform the adaptation planning, mainstreaming and selection of adaptation interventions and investments at local level, and establishment of a system to update the CRVA.
- Capacity building activities (ex. on-the-job learning; trainings; technical assistance; coaching) according to needs and capacity gaps identified.
Result 2: Climate change adaptation is integrated into targeted local authorities' plans and budgets and climate change adaptation interventions and investments are implemented in line with the PBCRG system
- Review of CRVA findings and integration of climate change adaptation in local development planning and budgeting in a participatory and gender-sensitive manner
- Costing, selection and priorisation of adaptation interventions and investments to be financed through the PBCRGs, in a participatory and gender sensitive manner, using multiple criteria
- Disbursement of PBRCGs to support the implementation of adaptation interventions and investments in the context of local authorities' annual planning and budgeting cycles
- Implementation of selected adaptation interventions and investments with the involvement of local communities (i.e. community contracting), deconcentrated services and through procurement local SMEs.
Result 3: The PBCRG system is effectively piloted (phase I) and/or established (phase II/III) in participating countries and integrate gender, participation and environmental sustainability
- Design of the PBRCG system including size of grants, flow of funds, institutional set up, roles and responsibilities, minimum conditions, performance measures, menu of eligible investments , ensuring that grants are channelled through established systems (rather than parallel or ad hoc structures).
- Annual performance assessments (APA) of the participating local authorities including compliance to minimum conditions for the subsequent year, appraisal against the performance measures and compliance with the menu of eligible investments.
- Definition of the PBCRG allocations for the subsequent year and priority capacity building interventions designed to address weaker performance areas identified under the APA.
- Lesson learning and institutionalization of the mechanism, through outreach, policy advice and institutional strengthening of central entities in charge of local authorities and climate change (ex. manuals, guidelines, regulatory environment)
- Support to national partners to mobilize technical and financial support, from in-country partners (phase II) and international climate finance in particular through accreditation to the GCF for the national roll out (phase III).
Results 1 to 3 are country level and apply to both phase I and phase II countries under the action. The activities will however be adapted depending on whether local authorities are joining the mechanism (phase I or new participating local authorities under phase II) or are more experienced, i.e. participated in several cycles of investments and annual performance assessments. For example, as local authorities gain experience, it is expected the work on CRVA will become more elaborated, as well as the approaches and methodologies used to select and prioritise adaptation interventions and investments.
Under result 3, the design of the mechanism is assessed and reviewed as countries move from phase I to phase II and from phase II to phase III. The institutionalization of the mechanism takes places mostly during phase II, as countries prepare for a national roll out.
Result 4: The role of local authorities in addressing climate change is increasingly recognised at global level and the mechanism becomes a standard internationally recognised country-based mechanism, through outreach, learning and quality assurance
- Learning, sharing of good practices emerging from the action's experience (within and across countries) and quality assurance in support of the standardization of the mechanism (e.g. design of PBCRGS, APA, CRVA, gender analysis)
- Technical assistance and knowledge resources to support to participating countries to communicate and advocate for an increased role of local authorities to effectively address climate change and for the mechanism to become a standard and internationally recognized country-based mechanism
- South south cooperation and peer review through the annual Programme Board and Forum.
- Knowledge sharing and communication through publications, the website and social media
- Development of a geo-referenced database of supported interventions and investments across the portfolio to enable monitoring and reporting by country, type of investment, ecosystem, sector, etc.
Result 4 is global and reinforces result 1 to 3 though outreach, learning and quality assurance that benefit all the participating countries.
Achievements to date
Challenges and lessons learned
- As of end 2019, LoCAL was deployed in 14 countries across Africa, Asia and the Pacific, with a potential population reach of over 10 million. Another six countries â€“ Burkina Faso, Côte d'Ivoire, Liberia, Malawi, SÃ£o Tomé and PrÃncipe and Uganda â€“ submitted official requests to deploy LoCAL.
- In 2019, LoCAL expanded to 157 new local governments, thereby reaching a total of 280 local governments. This represents an almost 10-fold increase over 2014, when LoCAL reached 29 local governments in seven countries.
- LoCAL mobilized $23.9 million in 2019 in direct and parallel funding. Of this, LoCAL delivered $10.9 million to participating countries and local governments in the form of grants, capacity building and operational support at the national and subnational levels. Since its inception, LoCAL has mobilized a total of $84.3 million.
- In 2019, 322 climate change adaptation interventions were financed across six countries â€“ Bangladesh, Benin, Bhutan, Ghana, The Gambia and Mozambique â€“ using LoCAL grants. This brings the number of climate change adaptation interventions financed by LoCAL since 2014 to 959. In terms of beneficiary outreach, 439,506 direct beneficiaries â€“ including 236,477 women â€“ benefited from LoCAL investments in 2019.
- Countries continued to successfully transition through the LoCAL phased approach. In 2019, Cambodia joined Bhutan in beginning Phase III, reaching 50 districts across the country. Ghana secured financial support to transition from Phaseâ€¯I to Phaseâ€¯II.
- In April 2019, the LoCAL publication Financing Local Adaptation to Climate Change: Experience with Performance-Based Climate Resilience Grants was endorsed by the Least Developed Countries Expert Group to the UNFCCC as supplementary material to its National Adaptation Plan Technical Guidelines. This publication will help LDCs and developing countries create intentional and strategic linkages between country national adaptation plans and nationally determined contributions at the subnational level in a coordinated and standard manner â€“ bringing a financing dimension to the vertical integration of the NAP and NDC processes.
- Following this milestone, LoCAL stepped up its engagement with the UNFCCC. Notably, LoCAL became a full member of the LDC Expert Group/NAP Technical Working Group and of the NDC Partnership â€“ a coalition of governments and international institutions supporting countries in achieving their climate and sustainable development targets.
- In 2019, LoCAL initiated the process of ISO certification to ensure the consistent, standardized and quality assured use and application of the LoCAL mechanism across local governments and countries.
- LoCAL and its participating countries advocated for better recognition of the role of local governments in addressing climate change through presentations at and participation in several high-level events, including NAP Expo 2019, meetings of the UNFCCC Standing Committee on Finance and the LDC Expert Group, and UNFCCC Conference of the Parties (COP) 25.
- Two government agencies engaged in LoCAL were accredited with the Green Climate Fund (GCF) in 2019 with LoCAL support â€“ the National Fund for Environment and Climate (FNEC, Fonds National pour l'Environnement et le Climat) in Benin and the Secretariat for the National Committee for Subnational Democratic Development (NCDD-S) in Cambodia. These entities are now able to directly access GCF funds, using LoCAL as a mechanism to channel finance to the subnational level for local climate action. LoCAL continued to support GCF accreditation efforts in other countries, in particular with the Bhutan Trust Fund for Environmental Conservation.
- LoCAL established a partnership with the West African Development Bank (BOAD, Banque Ouest Africaine de Développement) for co-development of a regional GCF proposal covering Burkina Faso, Côte d'Ivoire, Niger and Mali. This effort, along with a similar proposal LoCAL is co-developing with Benin's FNEC, represents a LoCAL-GCF pipeline of approximately $60 million, with more to follow.
- The 2019 first call for proposals to identify and select private sector commercially viable pro-youth and gender-responsive investment projects in The Gambia resulted in a pipeline of six investment projects. This milestone marked the piloting of a new methodology for private sector participation in adaptation investments under LoCAL â€“ with potential scale-up in other LoCAL countries and to similar initiatives seeking to increase the participation of the private sector in adaptation action, while providing clear and objective criteria and metrics to measure adaptation outcomes.
- LoCAL secured a number of new financial partners in 2019 and has continued its efforts to mobilize resources for participating and prospective countries both internationally and in-country. For example, the European Union (EU), via the Global Climate Change Alliance Plus (GCCA+), approved replenishment of its financial support for an additional cycle of LoCAL globally (2019â€“2022). In Cambodia, the Ministry of the Environment the Republic of Korea and K-Water, the Republic of Korea water company, approved an additional grant of $1.2 million for water-related investments under LoCAL. In Ghana, LoCAL was embedded in the Boosting Green Employment and Enterprise Opportunities in Ghana (GrEEn) Programme, supported by the EU Emergency Trust Fund for Africa, enabling LoCAL-Ghana to enter Phaseâ€¯II. The United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) Peacebuilding Fund approved resources for a bridging phase as LoCAL-Mali prepares to enter its Phaseâ€¯II.
- LoCAL participated in training workshops delivered by the joint United Nations Development Programmeâ€“United Nations Environment Programme NAP Global Support Programme, highlighting how the LoCAL mechanism contributes to vertical integration of both NAP and NDC processes. It also collaborated with the NAP Global Network to raise awareness, via participation in sessions and panels, on the importance of incorporating a vertical integration dimension in NAPs. As a partner of the OECD/Global Centre of Excellence for Climate Adaptation, LoCAL was invited to share insights and experiences in financing adaptation through local governments globally. LoCAL also became a full member of the Making Cities Resilient Campaign of the United Nations Office of Disaster Risk Reduction.
- LoCAL's partnership with the Korea Environment Institute resulted in preparation of Ghana's first national climate risk assessment for subnational adaptation report. The report, which will be published in 2020, features a country-based, tailored methodology with a strong scientific foundation, which incorporates both the local dimension and indicators to support climate riskâ€“informed local planning and associated investments. LoCAL will apply the same methodology in other countries going forward, including Cambodia and Niger.
Common themes emerge from LoCAL's implementation experience.
- Increased demand from countries and exponential growth in local governments in countries transitioning between phases require increased capacity on LoCAL's part, in terms of both human resources and financial capacity.
- LoCAL standards must be applied consistently across all countries implementing the mechanism. The ISO certification LoCAL is presently pursuing and the training programme it is developing in partnership with the UN Institute for Training and Research will go a long way towards ensuring consistency.
- Access to reliable climate information for risk-informed decision-making can be challenging at the subnational level. To answer this need, LoCAL is supporting countries in developing a climate risk assessment methodology that incorporates the local dimension, as well as in establishing LISA.
- Lack of political buy-in at high levels of the government can compromise the institutionalization of the LoCAL mechanism as a de facto public programme â€“ and therefore its sustainability over the medium to long term. LoCAL is developing political anchorage across ministries dealing with local governments, finance and climate change/environment, including countries' GCF national designated authorities.
- Countries transitioning between phases often face difficulties in accessing regular and predictable climate finance. This is particularly relevant after the LoCAL pilot phase and its UNCDF seed capital grants. Significant levels of financing are required to leverage and take the mechanism to scale. It is also a challenge for new candidate countries, as global resources are allocated to earlier pilots. The LoCAL Facility is working to have LoCAL recognized by various national and international climate funds and towards joint reporting.
- A lack or low capacities of local government staff is observed across all LoCAL countries, albeit with variation. This deficiency has implications for the effectiveness and promotion of resilience in communities and local economies. Increasing the funds dedicated to capacity-building support and technical assistance is critical but challenging to implement in a context of limited resources where investments are emphasized over 'soft' programmatic components.
- LoCAL was designed to cover the incremental cost of making local public investments climate resilient, i.e. as a top-up of regular grant allocations for resilient, climate-smart local public goods and services. However, the decrease in delivery of block grants in many LoCAL countries has in some instances presumed LoCAL to be a stand-alone grant scheme. This has implications in terms of the amount of finance required to achieve on-the-ground results and sustain the mechanism.
The LoCAL Final Report on the First Period of Global Expansion: 2014â€“2018 compiles a comprehensive list of lessons learned by LoCAL and its member countries; the following presents lessons learned during LoCAL implementation in 2019.
- Effective involvement of communities can create short-term job opportunities. For example, jobs were created in Nepal and Niger to construct local infrastructure and rehabilitate ecosystems through cash-for-work initiatives which prioritized investments in youth, women and other vulnerable groups. Combined with skills development support and access to finance, LoCAL can be a vehicle to stimulate green local economies and job creation, as is being done in The Gambia where eight cash-for-work intervention sites have been started. To date, about 410 jobs have been created in two regions, and 63â€¯perâ€¯cent of those jobs taken by women and youths. Participants are acquiring skills while becoming increasingly involved in intra-household and community decision-making processes.
- To increase country ownership and government support, LoCAL needs strong political anchorage. This includes enhanced coordination at the national level between the GCF national designated authorities, UNFCCC national focal points, the ministry of finance and planning, and ministries/agencies dealing with local governments and climate change issues. Anchoring LoCAL in this way ensures its institutionalization, and thus its sustainability.
- Climate risk and vulnerability assessments should incorporate local-level indicators. This is an important component in ensuring effective subnational adaptation via climate riskâ€“informed planning and budgeting at the local level. Similarly, the development and establishment of a tailor-made LISA affords an important local platform to link local levels with the NDCs and NAP goals consistently, as well as providing a local platform for climate change adaptation accountability.
- The design phase is crucial to ensuring the sustainability of the LoCAL phased approach. The design phase provides an important opportunity to plan at programme outset for phase transitions from piloting to scale-up â€“ particularly to ensure that predictable funding is secured so the LoCAL programme can move smoothly and uninterruptedly from pilot to consolidation to national roll-out.
Implementing the phased approach
LoCAL experience during its first period of global expansion shed light on the importance of subnational adaptation and of bridging national with subnational adaptation efforts; it also highlighted the contribution of the local level to national climate change plans and goals such as the NDCs and NAPs. Since its inception, LoCAL has demonstrated strengthened local government capacity to identify, prioritize and co-finance investments for climate change adaptation and the growing interest and attention of national governments in scaling up subnational adaptation financing. In Bhutan and Cambodia, for instance, government satisfaction with LoCAL programme results resulted in roll-out to additional local governments with additional funding.
Going forward, LoCAL will continue supporting:
- Bhutan in implementing its Phaseâ€¯III in more than 100 local governments with EU budget support; and Bhutan and Cambodia in accessing GCF funding to expand PBCRGs, as they progress through LoCAL Phaseâ€¯III
- Benin in securing additional finance to roll out LoCAL to 30 communes
- Burkina Faso, Côte d'Ivoire, Mali and Niger in accessing GCF and other sources of finance to roll out to 100 communes, working closely with BOAD
- Bangladesh, The Gambia, Ghana and Mozambique as they expand through Phaseâ€¯II
- Lesotho and Tanzania in successfully implementing their first PBCRG cycles
- Tuvalu in supporting a bridging phase, while mobilizing partners for Phaseâ€¯II; and Nepal and Lao PDR in taking stock of and consolidating their work while mobilizing partners for Phaseâ€¯II
LoCAL will also support candidate countries that have officially expressed interest in deploying the mechanism: Burkina Faso, Côte d'Ivoire, Liberia, Malawi, SÃ£o Tomé and PrÃncipe and Uganda; their engagement will bring the total number of LoCAL countries to 20, potentially reaching some 500 million people.
In addition, partnerships for targeted country expansion will be explored and fostered through the LoCAL process, along with innovative public-private partnerships and private finance (e.g. municipal eco-bonds) for local resilience and adaptation initiatives.
Institutionalization of the LoCAL/PBCRG mechanism
The LoCAL Facility has spearheaded a series of actions to support achievement of the LoCAL vision as a standard, internationally recognized country-based mechanism for the delivery of subnational and local climate action, and as a proven avenue for the vertical integration of the NAP and NDC processes.
The global pandemic and its repercussions mean that increased efforts and enhanced ambition will be needed to support developing countries and LDCs achieve their climate targets and accelerate sustainable development, with a special focus on the local level, where climate action is most needed. The LoCAL Facility will continue to work towards enhancing and building new partnerships, as well in achieving increased recognition and institutionalization of the mechanism in several forums, highlighting LoCAL's potential role as an innovative delivery mechanism to strengthen the climate finance architecture and ensure support reaches the local level. Activities in this regard include the following:
- Synergizing with other initiatives such as the LDC 2050 Vision and the LDC Initiative for Effective Adaptation and Resilience, which are aimed at all LDCs to deliver climate-resilient development pathways by 2030 and net zero emissions by 2050 to ensure societies, economies and ecosystems thrive.
- Supporting and promoting intentional and strategic linkages between international, national and subnational financing, planning, implementation, and monitoring and evaluation of climate action, bringing a financial perspective to the vertical integration of NDC and NAP processes. This work will be performed in close partnership with the LDC Expert Group, the NAP Technical Working Group, the NDC Partnership, the NAP Global Network and the NAP Global Support Programme.
- Issuing a call for financing instruments, in particular the GCF, to enhance direct access modalities for local governments, including through central governments and/or national implementing entities and systemic country-led approaches such as LoCAL, rather than relying primarily on international intermediaries.
Supporting direct access
LoCAL is working with countries to support their direct access to the GCF and other climate finance entities and mechanisms to transfer resources to local governments through national systems for building verifiable climate change adaptation and resilience. Local government achievements in implementing climate change adaptation activities through the PBCRG mechanism have increased national government trust in both local governments and the decentralization process. In five LoCAL countries â€“ Benin, Bhutan, Cambodia, Mali and Tanzania â€“ a national body in charge of, or involved in, decentralization was nominated by its government as that country's first national implementing entity to be accredited for access to GCF resources.
Going forward, LoCAL will continue to support countries in their accreditation efforts and submission of proposals to the GCF's Enhanced Direct Access programme. Several meetings have taken place between the GCF and LoCAL teams with a view to increasing knowledge on the potential contribution of the LoCAL mechanism in promoting resilience of communities and local economies through the PBCRG system, as well as to increase alignment and synergies with GCF objectives and requirements.
Against this background, LoCAL will commission in 2020 an assessment to identify entry points for collaboration between UNCDF/LoCAL and the GCF, under the Readiness Support programme â€“ for instance, for capacity building, access to climate finance, mainstreaming and programming, building investment pipelines, development of concept notes, private sector engagement, NAPs and other possible areas. The assessment will also map technical, institutional and financial needs and gaps of target developing countries with regard to advancing their NAP process and potential support from the GCF that can be delivered by LoCAL as a delivery partner.
Burkina Faso, Côte d'Ivoire, Liberia, Malawi, SÃ£o Tomé and PrÃncipe, Senegal, Solomon Islands and Uganda have officially expressed interest in deploying the LoCAL mechanism; this indicates that LoCAL is increasingly perceived as a sound vehicle to channel climate finance to the local level, while promoting vertical integration of NAP and NDC processes. LoCAL is working with these countries to assess the necessary conditions for deployment; identifying key stakeholders, including national and subnational government institutions, and development partners; as well as collecting and validating the information and data necessary for the design of LoCAL Phaseâ€¯I. LoCAL is also supporting prospective countries with resource mobilization efforts that will allow deployment of Phases I and II.
As more countries become interested in using the LoCAL mechanism, it is important to ensure the consistency and quality assurance of the methodology. A standardized approach supports capacity building and learning across local governments and countries. To this end, LoCAL is currently involved in the process of becoming certified as an ISO standard. ISO certification will also promote more awareness of and traction for the LoCAL mechanism.
PBCRGs for addressing urban and rural linkages
Cities are faced with both challenges and opportunities due to rapid urbanization, demographics (cities frequently account for more than a third to a half of a country's population), emissions, and limited adaptation to climate change and a green economy, e.g. in construction, sustainable transport, waste management. They offer opportunities for improved living standards, green employment, innovation â€“ and ultimately achievement of the SDGs. Sustainable cities also depend on their links to the rural and peri-urban areas where food production and transformation take place, as well as artisanal and industrial production. This connection is critical to achieve the SDGs throughout a country and to ensure the sustainability of cities.
PBCRGs offer an opportunity to address localization of SDG13, SDG 11 and climate-related SDGs in both rural and urban areas while strengthening government systems â€“ particularly inter-governmental fiscal transfers, local planning and budgeting and local public financial management. This creates the enabling conditions for improving the mobilization and effective of other sources of finance, own revenueâ€“generated resources and private finance for local investments, aligned with local priorities. LoCAL will continue to explore partnerships and opportunities for the expansion of the PBCRG system to urban areas.