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GCF National Adaptation Plan Project in Bangladesh

Bangladesh is experiencing the adverse effects of climate change, including sea level rise in coastal areas, increasing severity of tropical cyclones and extreme rainfall events. Recognizing that climate impacts are undercutting hard won human development gains, Bangladesh has already taken strides on adaptation planning over the last decade, by implementing the National Adaptation Plan of Action (NAPA), setting-up climate change trust funds, and pioneering community based adaptation approaches.  However, institutional arrangements and a coordinated strategy for mid- and long-term climate change adaptation investment are not yet in place.  

The objective of this Green Climate Fund (GCF) financed project is to formulate the Bangladesh National Adaptation Plan (NAP) with a focus on long term adaptation investment and enhancing national capacity for integration of climate change adaptation in planning, budgeting and financial tracking processes. The Ministry of Environment and Forests, Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Planning and key personnel working on climate change adaptation relevant programming in water resources, agriculture and food security, coastal zones, and urban habitation (the “priority sectors”) will be the beneficiaries of this project.

Level of Intervention: 
POINT (89.766723550477 23.476850914431)
Primary Beneficiaries: 
The Ministry of Environment and Forests, Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Planning and key personnel working on Climate Change Adaptation relevant programming in water resources, agriculture and food security, coastal zones, and urban habitation (the “priority sectors”) will be the beneficiaries of this project.
Funding Source: 
Financing Amount: 
Project Details: 

The project is designed to support the Government of Bangladesh to meet the objective of formulating the Bangladesh National Adaptation Plan with a focus on long-term adaptation investment and enhancing national capacity for integration of climate change adaptation in planning, budgeting and financial tracking processes.

Bangladesh’s location, climate, and development trajectory make it a country especially vulnerable to the effects of climate change. Bangladesh lies on the Bay of Bengal in the delta floodplain of the Brahmaputra and Ganges rivers flowing from the Himalayas. Consequently, the terrain is predominately low-lying and flat, and the country has only a few mountainous regions.  The delta environment hosts a coastline that is dynamic and subject to coastal erosion, land subsidence, and sediment deposits, despite being home to the Sundarbans, the largest natural mangrove forest in the world.

Bangladesh is a least-developed country (LDC), and in terms of the Human Development Index ranks 139th out of 188 countries (2016). The country has a population of 162,951,560 (2016), of which around 70% live in rural areas. However, there is a high rate of urbanization, with a 3.2% increase in urban populations each year. The poverty ratio has fallen from 49% in 2000 to 31.5% in 2010, but over 70% of the employed population remains below a US $1.90/day purchasing power threshold. Agriculture accounts for around 14% of GDP, but employs approximately 40% of the workforce. Industry, in particular manufacturing, accounts for 29% of GDP, while services, including transport and construction services, account for 56% of GDP.

Bangladesh is often considered one of the one of the most vulnerable nations to extreme weather events, climate variability, and change (Global Climate Risk Index; Climate Change Vulnerability Index). Bangladesh’s climate is tropical, characterized by a summer monsoon and a winter dry season. However, future scenarios show increases in temperatures and precipitation in Bangladesh. An estimated temperature rise of 1.6°C and an increase of precipitation of 8% are expected by 2050. The country´s location in the Bay of Bengal makes it susceptible to seasonal cyclones, while being a major floodplain increases the risks related to seasonal flooding. For example, floods in 2007 inundated 32,000 sq. km, leading to over 85,000 houses being destroyed and almost 1 million damaged, with approximately 1.2 million acres of crops destroyed or partially damaged, 649 deaths and estimated damages over $1 billion.

Despite development progress and decline in poverty, the increased impacts of storms, sea level rise, and drought due to climate change threaten to reverse the gains in social and economic growth and have implications for the lives and livelihoods of poor women and men across the country.

Bangladesh is already experiencing a host of climate impacts. In particular, sea level rise is already observed along the coast. With future climate change, damaging floods, tropical cyclones, storm surges and droughts are likely to become more frequent and severe. And, the low-lying coastal land is particularly vulnerable to future sea level rise.

Bangladesh has already developed a National Adaptation Plan Roadmap. It highlights a range of priority sectors where the impacts of climate change are anticipated to be very high. These include (a) water resources, (b) agriculture (including sub-sectors such as crops, forestry, fisheries, and livestock), (c) communication and transportation, (d) physical infrastructure (including education infrastructure), (e) food and health security, (f) disaster risk reduction (g) people’s livelihoods, (h) urban habitation and built environment (including water supply, sanitation and hygiene) and (i) education.

Recognizing the threat to national development, Bangladesh has developed policy and institutional frameworks supporting CCA planning and investments. In 2005, Bangladesh was one of the first two LDCs to submit its National Adaptation Programme of Action (NAPA). The NAPA identified and prioritized adaptation projects for immediate and urgent implementation. It was updated in 2009, and additional projects were added. A corresponding Bangladesh Climate Change Strategy and Action Plan (BCCSAP) was approved in 2009 and runs until 2018. The BCCSAP articulates the national vision for pro-poor, climate resilient, and low-carbon development in alignment with both the GOB’s Vision 2021 and Five Year Plan national planning documents. The BCCSAP sets forward 6 pillars for climate change adaptation and mitigation, while identifying 44 priority programmes.

Climate change adaptation (CCA) is included in the Seventh Five Year Plan (2016-2020) and the priorities reflect mostly urgent and immediate needs as gauged by ongoing adaptation planning activities.  Under the related Annual Development Plans (ADP), climate change screening tools have been integrated into development project proposals. In addition, CCA has been integrated to a limited degree in key sectoral policies, such as water and agriculture. The ministry of Planning has also appointed a senior government secretary as the SDG Coordinator, and prepared a Sustainable Development Goals tracking matrix as a tool for various ministries to coordinate, track and guide various ministries in implementation of SDGs.

The Nationally Determined Contribution of Bangladesh (NDC -2015) identifies an adaptation goal to “protect the population, enhance their adaptive capacity and livelihood options, and to protect the overall development of the country in its stride for economic progress and wellbeing for the people”.

Also present in the NDC is a list of on-going adaptation actions, climate funds, and an estimate of adaptation costs. Based on estimates by the World Bank (2010), the costs of adapting to tropical cyclones, storm surges and inland flooding by 2050 alone in Bangladesh could amount to US$8.2 billion, in addition to recurring annual costs of US$160 million.

There are several related initiatives to advance GCF Readiness related work in Bangladesh. The GCF country work program is being developed with the support of GIZ Climate Finance Readiness’ Programme and Green Climate Fund Readiness Support with the NDA Secretariat, ERD and the Finance Division, Ministry of Finance. UNDP is also supporting NDA under readiness programme 2 for the preparation of country programmes. GIZ is planning a NAP/NDC Support programme to commence in 2018 with more focus on operationalization and implementation of NDC. UNDP has supported the Ministry of Environment with the development of the NAP Roadmap with the contribution of the Government of Norway. It is also supporting the Finance Division under the Ministry of Finance with integration of climate change into budgeting as well as the development of a climate change fiscal framework. The Government of Bangladesh is also engaged in applying to the GEF LDCF for complementary funding for NAPs.

In January 2015, the GOB with the support of the government of Norway and UNDP, developed the “Roadmap for Developing a National Adaptation Plan for Bangladesh”. The GOB decided to develop this NAP Roadmap as a first step towards developing a full Bangladesh National Adaptation Plan, to contextualize the key components that require elaboration - thematic areas and sectors have been prioritized and include: Water resources, Agriculture (including sub-sectors), Communications, Physical infrastructure, Food and health security, Disaster risk reduction, Livelihoods and Urban habitation.  The NAP Roadmap has customised the steps of the LDC Expert Group guidelines in the context of the needs of Bangladesh and has also prepared a methodological approach based on Bangladesh realities.

This was a useful and essential exercise with activities and results defined for Bangladesh to kick-start the complex NAP process. The gap that remains, however, is to operationalise the next steps in the Roadmap and develop the National Adaptation Plan. This proposal for readiness support to prepare the Bangladesh NAP responds to this gap in line with the technical guidance set out in the Roadmap by proposing to advance the NAP process in a transparent and participatory manner.

In March 2017 a two-week stocktaking for national adaptation planning (SNAP) process was conducted by GIZ in collaboration with UNDP and MoEF, during which national experts were interviewed and asked to assess current and future national adaptation planning capacities based on several success factors. This is another useful input to the operationalisation of the NAP Road Map as it provided a mapping of different initiatives that are relevant to operationalising the NAP. The results of the SNAP process were presented at the National Stakeholder Workshop and the participants participated in a joint review of results. The workshop resulted in a report titled “Stocktaking for Bangladesh’s National Adaptation Process: Achievements, Gaps, and Way Forward” that details the inputs as well as the SNAP process (March 30, 2017). This report will be a resource for NAP formulation moving forward. Subsequently UNDP and GIZ have met several times during preparation of this GCF NAP proposal and inputs and suggestions from GIZ are included.

Expected Key Results and Outputs: 

Outcome 1: Strengthened institutional coordination and climate change information and knowledge management for medium- to long-term planning.

  • Assess technical and institutional capacity, information, and data gaps at the national, sectoral, and thematic levels for CCA planning
  • Enhance climate change adaptation mandate and institutional coordination mechanisms to support the NAP process
  • Build expanded information and knowledge base with focus on detailed CC risks and vulnerability and interpretation of CCA planning scenarios for the mid- and long-term.


Outcome 2: Adaptation options appraised and prioritized and National Adaptation Plan formulated.

  • Review and prioritize mid-and long-term adaptation options for inclusion in the NAP, national development plans, and other CCA policies, actions, and programs
  • Formulate and communicate a NAP based on identified CCA priorities and in close coordination with plans already in place


Outcome 3: Climate risk informed decision making tools developed and piloted by planning and budget departments at national and sectoral levels.

  • Integrate CCA into national development and sectoral planning, programming, and budgeting by beginning a pilot effort in at least 3 prioritized sectors
  • Expand training on CCA mainstreaming and development of bankable project skills, specifically for personnel in priority sectors working on CCA programmes


Outcome 4: Nationally appropriate adaptation investments tracking mechanism set up and financial plan for mid- and long-term CCA implementation prepared.

  • Establish standards and protocol to track CCA project financing and investments
  • Identify and prioritize actions, policy, and partnership strategies for prolonged investment in CCA; integrate into a NAP programming and financing strategy that focuses on priority sectors and builds on existing financing mechanisms
Monitoring & Evaluation: 

The project results will be monitored and reported annually and evaluated periodically during project implementation to ensure the project effectively achieves its aims. 

Project-level monitoring and evaluation will be undertaken in compliance with UNDP requirements as outlined in the UNDP POPP and UNDP Evaluation Policy. The UNDP Country Office will work with the relevant project stakeholders to ensure UNDP M&E requirements are met in a timely fashion and to high quality standards. Additional mandatory GCF-specific M&E requirements will be undertaken in accordance with relevant GCF policies. 

The project will be audited according to UNDP Financial Regulations and Rules and applicable audit policies on DIM implemented projects.   Additional audits may be undertaken at the request of the GCF.

The following reports will be made available: an initial project Inception Workshop Report; Annual Project Reports; an Independent Mid-term Review (MTR) and an independent Terminal Evaluation (TE) upon completion of all major project outputs and activities.

The project’s final Annual Project Report along with the terminal evaluation (TE) report and corresponding management response will serve as the final project report package, including a reflection on lessons learned and opportunities for scaling up.  

Rohini Kohli
Lead Technical Specialist, NAP Global Support Programme, UNDP Global Environmental Finance Unit
Project Status: 
News and Updates: 

How long-term planning can work

The Daily Star
Wednesday 19 September 2018

Bangladesh has a strong tradition of medium term planning through the periodic Five Year Plans, of which we are now in the 7th Plan. At the same time, the country has a large number of professional planners both within the Planning Commission as well as embedded within the Planning Department of every ministry who help develop the sectoral plans for each ministry. This is a strong foundation of human skill and capacity based on which the country can now move towards making longer term plans for different sectors as well as for the country as a whole. There are already a number of sectoral and national plans being developed for longer time scales. These include the seventeen Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Climate Change goals which all have a time horizon to 2030. Very recently, the government has also approved the development of the Delta Plan which will have a time horizon until 2100. Only the Netherlands (with whose assistance Bangladesh is developing it) has done a plan for such a long time horizon so it will be quite a daunting task for us. At this time horizon, it is likely to be more of an aspirational goal rather than a detailed plan. Finally, we are expecting the prime minister to soon unveil her Vision 2041 for Bangladesh which will be more of a vision for the country than a specific plan. Under the above circumstances, the country will need to modify the standard processes for the Five Year Plans by the Planning Commission in order to think about the longer-term vision and to involve not only all the different parts of the government but also other stakeholders from outside the government. In other words, it will not only have to take a whole-of-government approach but also a whole-of-society approach. The government is well aware of this need and has already put in place a special unit in the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) to monitor the implementation of the SDGs under the leadership of very senior people. They have already started ensuring that each ministry develops its own SDG-related targets and ways of monitoring them. Civil society actors and academics have also set up groups around each of the SDGs for implementation and monitoring progress. In the realm of climate change, the government has already developed the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) as required under the Paris Agreement on Climate Change and will be preparing the National Adaptation Plan (NAP) soon.

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About (Summary): 
The objective of this project is to formulate the Bangladesh National Adaptation Plan with a focus on long term adaptation investment and enhancing national capacity for integration of climate change adaptation in planning, budgeting and financial tracking processes.
Expected Key Results and Outputs (Summary): 

Outcome 1: Strengthened institutional coordination and climate change information and knowledge management for medium- to long-term planning

Outcome 2: Adaptation options appraised and prioritized and National Adaptation Plan formulated

Outcome 3: Climate risk informed decision making tools developed and piloted by planning and budget departments at national and sectoral levels

Outcome 4: Nationally appropriate participatory adaptation investments tracking mechanism and financial plan for mid- and long-term CCA implementation set up

Project Dates: 
2018 to 2021
Civil Society Engagement: 

A national stakeholders workshop on NAP readiness was held on March 7, 2017 to provide input to the proposal for this project. This stakeholders workshop was co-facilitated by MoEF, UNDP, and GIZ and included 70 attendees from many GOB ministries (including MoEF, the Planning Commission, Ministry of Water Resources, Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Women and Children Affairs, Ministry of Social Welfare), as well as representatives from other UN agencies, donors, civil society organization, and NGOs operating in Bangladesh. In addition, private development companies and university representatives were present and provided inputs.


GCF National Adaptation Plan project in Bosnia and Herzegovina

The project to “Advance the National Adaptation Plan (NAP) process for medium-term investment planning in climate sensitive sectors in Bosnia-Herzegovina (B&H)” will support the Government of Bosnia and Herzegovina to advance the National Adaptation Plan (NAP) process and reach goals outlined in the Paris Agreement and 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Green Climate Fund (GCF) resources will be used to enable the government to integrate climate change-related risks, coping strategies and opportunities into ongoing development planning and budgeting processes.

Bosnia-Herzegovina’s National Adaptation Plan (NAP) will build on the country’s Climate Change Adaptation and Low Emission Development Strategy of 2013. The strategy is based on four specific outcomes: supporting evidence-based policy development for climate change risks, vulnerabilities and opportunities; creating effective institutional and regulatory frameworks; mainstreaming climate change adaptation approaches into decision making; and effectively assigning resources and reaching implementation goals. The implementation of the strategy has slowed mainly due to lack of knowledge and institutional capacity to undertake adaptation measures.

To overcome these challenges, and support reach UNDP’s signature solutions to “strengthen effective, inclusive and accountable governance” and “enhance national prevention and recovery capacities for resilient societies,” the project will advance adaptation planning in B&H with a focus on sectoral approaches, upgrading the knowledge base for adaptation, prioritising adaptation interventions for the medium term, building institutional capacities for integrating climate change adaptation, and demonstrating innovative ways of financing adaptation at sub-national and local government levels. Proposed activities will result in the compilation of a NAP and an implementation strategy focused on scaling-up adaptation in key sectors for the medium-term. Through the project, the Government of Bosnia-Herzegovina will also develop municipal-level investment financing instruments with public and private sector engagement, and build national, sub-national and sectoral capacity to integrate and mainstream risk informed planning and budgeting.

The project will be implemented in partnership with the Ministry of Spatial Planning, Civil Engineering and Ecology (MSPCEE) and the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Economic Relations (MoFTER) as a state level ministry in charge of coordination of climate change adaptation activities throughout the country.

Level of Intervention: 
POINT (17.720947240891 43.901586712827)
Funding Source: 
Financing Amount: 
Project Details: 

Bosnia and Herzegovina is a sovereign state with a decentralized political and administrative structure. It comprises two entities: Republika Srpska (RS) and Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina (FB&H), and Brčko District. Decision making involves the Council of Ministers, two entities (Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Republika Srpska) and Brčko District. Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina is sub-divided into 10 Cantons, while Republika Srpska has a centralized structure. The entities have a very high degree of autonomy, with their president, parliament, government and courts. The entities have jurisdiction in the areas of environment, water management, agriculture, forestry, energy, civil administration, health, education, police department and physical planning. Authority at the state level covers foreign policy, defense, border monitoring, foreign trade, fiscal and monetary politics.

With a population of 3,791,622 and total surface area of 51,209.2 km², Bosnia and Herzegovina is located at Balkan Peninsula. It is composed of 51,197 km² of land and 12.2 km² of sea and belongs to the Adriatic basin and the Black Sea basin. Of the total land area, 5% is lowlands, 24% hills, 42% mountains, and 29% karst regions.

Bosnia and Herzegovina has several climate types: the temperate continental climate type (northern and central parts), the sub-mountainous and mountainous type, the Adriatic and modified Adriatic climate type. Temperature increase on annual level and change of precipitation schedule is evident in the entire area, resulting in extreme weather conditions.

Extreme climate events in Bosnia and Herzegovina are becoming more frequent. In the past 16 years, drought was experienced during seven years (2000, 2003, 2007, 2008, 2011, 2012, 2013). In addition, years with floods are very common (2004, 2006, 2009, 2010, 2014). Economic damages are vast, especially in the water, agricultural and housing sectors. The total economic impact of the 2014 floods is estimated to have reached 2.04 billion EUR, or 15% of B&H's GDP in 2014. Extreme climate events were especially pronounced during the last seven years:

  • in 2009, 2010 and 2014 major floods were recorded;
  • in 2011, 2012 and 2013 there were severe droughts and waves of high/tropical temperatures;
  • in early 2012 there was a wave of extreme cold; and
  • In mid-2012 there were windstorms.


The NAP process

The Bosnia and Herzegovina UNFCCC and GCF focal point, Ministry of Spatial Planning, Civil Engineering and Ecology, RS, officially launched the NAP process in 2016. The NAP process began with a national consultation that engaged sector ministries and local government units via associations of cities and municipalities in both entities (Republika Srpska and Federation of B&H).

As a party to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), Bosnia and Herzegovina (B&H) has undertaken important steps towards understanding and addressing climate change issues. It is increasingly recognized not only by the Government and scientific community, but also by its citizens that climate change is an issue of key strategic importance. B&H has put great emphasis on climate change as one of the most significant development challenges facing the country. The importance of adaptation was clearly reflected in its Second National Communications and Climate Change Adaptation and Low Emission Development Strategy (CCA LEDs), adopted in 2013. In 2015, B&H submitted its Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDC), as part of the negotiations leading to the historic Paris Agreement, which it signed in April 2016.

In 2017, B&H submitted its Third National Communication (TNC) to the Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC. The TNC provides further update and strengthens information regarding national circumstances, vulnerabilities to climate change, steps taken to adapt to climate change and information on public awareness, education, training, systematic research and observation and technology transfer.

B&H’s Climate Change Adaptation and Low Emission Development Strategy itself is of key importance to the NAP process. The strategy was adopted by the B&H Council of Ministers on October 8, 2013 and utilized the then available observed and projected climate change impacts on key sectors in the country including agriculture, water, hydropower, human health, forestry, biodiversity/sensitive ecosystems and tourism. The strategy is based on four specific outcomes covering climate change risks, vulnerabilities and opportunities supporting evidence-based policy development, effective institutional and regulatory framework, mainstreaming CCA approaches into decision making, and effective resourcing with timely and effective implementation.  However, its implementation has slowed mainly due to lack of knowledge and institutional capacity to project, attract finances and undertake adaptation measures.

Authorities of Bosnia and Herzegovina and key domestic stakeholders realize the increasing threat posed to them and the development of the country by climate change and the need of adapting to it in order to avoid or minimise negative consequences. The government is motivated to support and implement the NAP process as adaptation issues are becoming very important for the country’s further development. The problem that this readiness and preparatory support project will address is that despite the government motivation and extreme climate events already observed in the country, climate change is insufficiently integrated into development planning processes in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The main identified barriers to change are:

  • Limited institutional capacities and weak vertical and horizontal coordination for adaptation planning and implementation caused by complex administrative structure and top-down approach, limited stakeholders’ participation in B&H strategic planning for adaptation, inadequate level of technical knowledge on climate change adaptation of staff in sectoral ministries, limited training on climate change issues and low capacity to monitor, forecast, archive, analyse, communicate, and use climate risks and impacts for sectors.
  • Limited climate Information to support integration of climate change into planning and budgeting due to limited existence of scientific data and information on climate impacts and vulnerability assessments, limited knowledge of current climate variability, and a lack of systematic information on environmental protection.
  • Alternative sources of finance, including innovative funds are not optimized as neither climate change adaptation, nor disaster-risk reduction (DRR) activities are included in budgeting on any level (municipal, cantonal, entity), and effective finance plan for securing adequate funds from a range of sources for adaptation does not exist.


By addressing the above barriers, this project will contribute to the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 13: Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts.

The preferred solution is to advance the NAP process through a) improving coordination mechanisms, b) strengthening technical expertise, and c) establishing mechanisms for financing climate change adaptation in the medium- to long-term.  The proposed project aims to overcome these barriers by:

  • Improving national coordination mechanisms for multi-sectoral planning and implementation at the national and sub-national levels. Capitalizing on lessons and knowledge gained from successful cross-entity and local development planning and management methodology such as that of Integrated Local Development Planning (ILDP), the proposed project will support the strengthening of coordination between: i) different levels of government within the country; ii) technical experts; iii) private sector; iv) local communities v) civil society and vi) academia. The improved coordination will increase efficiency, ensure vertical connectivity, avoid redundancy and allow Bosnia and Herzegovina to leverage capacity that is present or being supported by other initiatives. In order to strengthen national coordination mechanisms, climate adaptation planning at municipal and cantonal levels will need to be included in the planning process from the outset, by a) differentiating capacity needs in municipality and cantonal from those at the entity level, b) clearly establishing roles and responsibilities of different stakeholders at the entity, municipal and cantonal levels. This will clarify the institutional arrangements for formulation, implementation, and monitoring and evaluation (M&E) of Bosnia and Herzegovina’s NAP.  Existing policies and strategies will be used as entry-points for advancing the NAP process. Building on existing plans such as the CCA LEDS will ensure avoidance of parallel structures and processes that may lead to conflict or redundancy.
  • Enhancing in-country knowledge and technical capacity to a) appropriately apply policy guidance on climate change adaptation planning, and b) use existing climate assessments and analyses to inform medium- to long-term adaptation budgeting and planning. The project will support the government of Bosnia and Herzegovina by i) drawing on lessons from a successful Energy Management Information System (EMIS)[1] in developing a management information system with database open to all stakeholders across different levels of government on the NAP process, on-going institutional and technical capacity building, etc., ii) identify institutional and technical capacity gaps in utilization of climate information, data collection and analysis, and iii) build capacity of relevant staff to generate and analyse climate and socio-economic data and to select most efficient adaptation solutions. This suite of solutions will support science- and evidence-backed arguments (and proposed interventions) to convince policymakers at the planning and finance ministries and ensure appropriate attention is given to climate change adaptation and ensure sustainability of the National Adaptation Plan in Bosnia and Herzegovina. 
  • Establishing a financing framework for climate change adaptation action in Bosnia and Herzegovina from the bottom-up. The project will support the development of a financing framework at the municipal level, including identification of possible innovative financing solutions for climate change adaptation action. The project will further seek to i) conduct studies to inform future investments in adaptation across sectors in selected municipalities; ii) identify policy options for scaling up adaptation, including by engaging and incentivizing the private sector in adaptation, in addition to its corporate social responsibility; iii) development of municipal assistance tools for adaptation planning and financing, and iv) training of staff to apply the tools in the design of ‘bankable’ adaptation interventions. By undertaking these interventions, appropriate financing for climate change adaptation action is expected to be met for medium- to long-term planning. 


Stakeholder engagement

The most important Governmental institutions include, Ministry of Spatial Planning, Civil Engineering and Ecology (MSPCEE) as B&H UNFCCC and GCF focal point, Ministry of Foreign Trade and Economic Relations (MoFTER) as a state level ministry in charge of coordination of CCA activities throughout the country, Federal Ministry for Environment and Tourism (FMoET)  and entity ministries of agriculture, forestry and water management (Republic of Srpska Ministry of  Agriculture, Forestry and Water Management – MAFW RS and Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Water Management and Forestry – FMAWF), having in mind vulnerability of water, agriculture and forestry sectors in B&H. The non-state actors, in addition to international organizations, include non-governmental organizations (NGOs) such as associations of municipalities, chambers of commerce and civil society, active in environmental sector. The principal Donors and International Organizations are the UNDP, World Bank, European Commission and other bilateral donors. Private sector can be divided into consulting companies specialized in water management, agricultural services etc. and construction companies. Research institutions (the Agricultural Institute and Economics Institute), along will state (faculties of sciences and faculties of civil engineering) and private universities, are also stakeholders of huge importance.

The National Adaptation Plan of B&H will require greater coordination between the MoFTER and entity ministries, as well as coordination among ministries for climate change to be included in the budget policy. Important part of NAP will be devoted to municipalities to strengthen their role in CCA and its budgeting.

Related projects

Other important project initiatives in B&H of relevance to the NAP process in relation to its planned outcomes and activities include: 

  • Capacity Development for the Integration of Global Environmental Commitments into National Policies and Development Decision Making (GEF) - for facilitating cross-sectoral and participatory approaches to natural resource management planning and implementation; including developing individual and institutional capacities to better adapt and apply global environmental management indicators as a monitoring tool to assess the intervention performance and institutional sustainability
  • Flood Hazard and Flood Risk Maps of B&H of the Western Balkans Investment Framework (WBIF). The overall objective of this project is to prepare the expert basis needed to ensure protection against floods for existing and future facilities and raise the level of knowledge on flood hazard and flood risk in the most prone-to areas of Bosnia and Herzegovina. It will be achieved via development of flood hazard and flood risk maps. Therefore, its aim is to raise awareness of the likelihood of floods among stakeholders (population, state and local government, future investors, etc.) and, thereby, reduce the vulnerability of the population and properties (injury, death, material and economic damages, etc.) to flooding under extreme conditions. This 2-year project started in July 2016.
  • Technology Transfer for Climate Resilient Flood Risk Management – SCCF funded UNDP implemented project. The SCCF funds will be used to enable the communities of the Vrbas basin (12% of B&H) to adapt to flood risk through the transfer of adaptation technologies for climate resilient flood management, upgrade and rehabilitation of the hydrometric monitoring network, development of a flood forecasting system and early warning system, development of emergency response plans, and provision of training in flood-specific civil protection. Importantly, the project will provide targeted training on climate-induced Flood Risk Management (FRM) to over 100 practitioners and decisions makers and will develop an institutional capacity development plan for the long-term development of capability and capacity in FRM.
  • Emergency Flood Relief and Prevention Project - EIB Loan. The total value of this project is 55 million Euros with implementation period 2012-2017. The purpose of the project is to safeguard the agriculture, industrial and housing areas prone to flood impacts and to enable a stable basis for future development. The main focus of this project is construction of hard engineering structures, mainly along the Sava River. The project also makes an inventory of damages to flood protection infrastructure within the main Danube tributaries
  • DRR Initiative and Disaster Reduction and Response Application for Municipalities (UNDP), UNDP has launched several initiatives with a purpose to support DRR efforts in B&H in a form of a road map to contribute to the achievement the four priorities of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030.
  • Floods and Landslides Housing Risk Assessment – EU, The European Union launched the EU Flood Recovery Programme for B&H, in order to support recovery efforts after the floods of May 2014. The Programme aims at assisting people in the flood affected areas and communities in the 24 most affected municipalities to normalize their lives. Furthermore, the Programme recognizes the importance of investing in future risk informed decision making and it thus initiated the development of a Flood and Landslide Risk Assessment for the Housing Sector in B&H (Assessment). The Assessment focuses on the flood and landslide risk for the housing sector in Bosnia and Herzegovina, prioritizes locations based on risk ranking and makes recommendations for risk reduction.
  • Support to Flood Protection and Water Management – EC Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance (IPA II 2014 – 2020), The Action supports the development of integrated flood risk management in B&H observing the cornerstone relevant European Union Floods Directive. The assistance is provided within two components through sets of activities aiming to increase capacities (in terms of prevention, protection and preparedness) for integrated flood risk management. Component 1 is designed for the development of hydrological forecasting system for Bosna River Basin. The scope of Component 2 is re/building infrastructure for protection from potential floods at the sites with highest flood risk. The two components are implemented with synergetic efforts to establish and strengthen the network of key stakeholders and institutions for integrated flood risk management in the country.
  • West Balkans Drina River Basin Management Project (GEF)- World Bank project to assist the countries of Bosnia-Herzegovina, Serbia and Montenegro to achieve improved planning and implementation for integrated, cooperative management of the trans-boundary Drina River basin
  • Municipal Infrastructure Development Fund (MIDF)- EBRD/KfW, The Fund is registered in Luxemburg and will involve local banks to provide loans in the amount of up to EUR 5 mln. In B&H no loans have been processed by the Fund yet and EBRD would be very interested in collaborating through NAP initiative to support sub-sovereign resilient development finance.
  • Integrated Local Development Planning (ILDP) – SDC. This project, launched in 2008 has resulted in application of a methodology for Integrated Local Development Planning, as an instrument for proactive and responsible planning and management of local development in B&H. The methodology has been adopted by both Association of cities and municipalities in Republika Srpska and Federation of B&H and recommended for implementation by entity governments. It has been used by more than 50 municipalities across B&H.


Expected Key Results and Outputs: 

Outcome 1 - Effective national adaptation coordination system established to drive the NAP process.
Under the first outcome, the project aims to lay the groundwork for the NAP process by strengthening institutional coordination, including through i) an establishment of a coordination structure that includes among others, key multi-sectoral actors and municipalities, ii) development of manuals, standard operating procedures and trainings, iii) formulation of the NAP and iv) enhancement of communication and outreach.

1.1 National institutional arrangements to coordinate adaptation processes are in place.

This sub-outcome responds to the identified barrier on weak coordination, by examining the current structure and instituting a multi-sectoral steering mechanism to formulate and implement the NAP. The steering mechanism will be built on lessons from and be fashioned around the sound and proven approach applied by the Integrated Local Development Planning project, while furthering the development of mid-term municipal investment programming and financial planning (outcome 3) that integrates CCA.

Activities proposed under this sub-outcome include:

1.1.1 Establish an inter-agency working group to enable an active and participatory approach to advance the NAP

1.1.2 Conduct gaps assessments focused on existing processes, technical capacity, frameworks and coordination to improve coordination across sectors and levels of government

1.1.3 Analyse existing regulatory framework, policies and plans and assess entry points to identify opportunities to integrate climate risk considerations

1.1.4 Develop Standard Operating Procedures for coordination of adaptation within sectors and between agencies and among working groups at the state, entity, cantonal and municipal levels

1.1.5 Constitute a multi-disciplinary drafting team (a subset of the working group in 1.1.1), compile available technical studies and assessments and draft the NAP for B&H

1.2 Mechanisms for regularly reviewing and updating NAP are in place
Activities under this sub-outcome will focus on gender sensitive monitoring, learning and review of NAP, adaptation processes as well as development of tracking and reporting mechanisms of financial investments for adaptation. These will in turn support the iterative development of B&H’s NAP.

Activities proposed under this sub-outcome include:

1.2.1 Development of technical guidelines for M&E activities

1.2.2 Identify appropriate gender-sensitive indicators for monitoring climate change impacts and a system to collect data

1.2.3 Undertake capacity building on M&E

1.2.4 Establish and maintain an effective M&E system for adaptation and inter-alia the NAP process, adaptation investments and assess their effectiveness and relevance

1.2.5 Undertake peer review of NAP and make it publicly available for information and comments from general public

1.3 Communication and outreach for NAP process enhanced
Within this sub-outcome, the strategy will be developed to communicate the importance of climate resilient development and medium to long-term adaptation planning. This activity will start with identification of most effective communication channels to highlight the NAP process and climate change adaptation concerns. Activities will include steps to raise awareness on both - the project results and climate change issues.

1.3.1 Develop and implement communication and outreach strategy for medium to long-term adaptation planning

1.3.2 Increase the coverage and visibility of project activities for both domestic and international audiences

1.3.3 Document and communicate lessons learned and best practice in order to encourage replication of successful approaches

1.3.4 Finalize the NAP for official endorsement and place online and submit internationally to the UNFCCC NAP central

Outcome 2 - Capacity for climate vulnerability assessments, development of socio-economic scenarios strengthened, and adaptation options prioritized for two key sectors.
Under the second outcome, capacity of stakeholders and institutions will be strengthened to climate vulnerability assessments and development of socio-economic scenarios. Adaptation options for agriculture and water sectors will also be prioritized using multi-criteria and/or cost benefit analyses.

2.1 System to gather, organize and update relevant data and information on adaptation established or strengthened
Activities under this sub-outcome will establish a system to gather and organize climate change-related data from across sectors and levels of government, and train relevant staff to maintain it in the medium-to-long term. The Energy Management Information System model will be applied in development of a system to gather and share data across entities and all sectors/levels of government.

2.1.1 Create climate change data management system accessible to all stakeholders

2.1.2 Utilise information on key climate change vulnerability scenarios and projected impacts as informed by 2.3.1 to enhance initial capacity gaps assessments (carried out under 1.1.2)

2.1.3 Capacity building of relevant sectors and levels of government to report on and utilize information for decision making on adaptation interventions Data/ information utilisation will be part of capacity building programme implemented under sub-outcome 2.2.1.

2.2 Capacity for design and implementation of adaptation strengthened
Capacity gaps identified in sub-outcomes 1.1 and 2.1 will be addressed through this sub-outcome to strengthen the individual and institutional capacity to identify, prioritise and monitor effectiveness of adaptation interventions.

2.2.1 Informed by 1.1.2, 2.1.2 and 2.3.1, formulate a capacity development plan for upgrading skills and knowledge of government staff on adaptation.

2.2.2 Sensitize and train policy makers and stakeholders

2.3 Available information on climate change impacts, vulnerability and adaptation investments increased or shared in at least 2 priority sectors and 4 or 5 municipalities.
Activities within this sub-outcome aim to increase the skills and capacity of staff in relevant institutions to generate and/or use assessments towards science-informed policy making in agriculture and water sectors as well as sub-national development.

2.3.1 Undertake a review of existing vulnerability assessments (including the information from National Communications) for key priority sectors

2.3.2 Quantitatively assess socio-economic and environmental change scenarios for the medium to long-term, for agriculture and water sectors in B&H

2.3.3 Identify and prioritize options for climate change adaptation in 2 priority sectors based on findings of 2.3.1-2

Outcome 3 - Innovative financing strategy for adaptation investments developed and tested in four to five selected municipalities.
Under the third outcome, the project aims to introduce an innovative, sustainable and bottom-up approach to adaptation investments in 4-5 selected municipalities informed by activities under outcomes 1 and 2. A set of guidance and tools will also be developed to potentially scale-up these activities through future adaptation investments outside these initial municipalities.

3.1 Studies to inform future investments in adaptation across sectors conducted and financing strategy developed
This sub-outcome will include development of a financing strategy, incorporating analyses of national and sectoral adaptation finance needs and a prioritisation of national adaptation investments.

3.1.1 Analyse current budgetary and extra-budgetary expenses, sources of funding and other financing mechanisms used to address climate change impacts

3.1.2 Identify financial resources required to meet adaptation strategies and develop a financing strategy

3.1.3 Develop two GCF concepts along with pre-feasibility studies concepts for 2 follow-up priority CCA projects

3.2 Policy options for scaling up financing adaptation analysed and recommended
Under this sub-outcome financing opportunities and new sources of funding will be identified, with particular focus on sub-national level to set the ground for active participation of municipalities in reaching out to complementary sources of funding that are available and feasible for accessing by local authorities.

3.2.1 Assess existing market barriers for up to 2 municipalities and identify effective means of de-risking market-based adaptation financing transactions

3.2.2 Assess feasibility of complementary sources of finance, including private sector capital

3.2.3 Define and demonstrate new financing approach for accessing adaptation finance by municipalities

3.2.4 Develop methodology and tools for multi-year capital investment risk informed programming and prioritization as well as for long-term forecasting and mid-term financial planning at municipal level

3.3 Practical methodology for CCA planning and access to finance introduced in selected municipalities
In order to introduce innovative financial mechanisms facilitating access to supplemental adaptation financing at the sub-national level, new financing approaches for accessing adaptation will be developed and tested in 4-5 municipalities. This will be undertaken through the application of pertinent financial tools with the aim of further replication. Adaptation projects will be addressed in budgetary planning and allocation processes.

3.3.1 Test new financing approach (linked to activity 3.2) and prepare investment programming, prioritization and financial planning tools to support municipal access to domestic market financing to leverage additional sources of funding for effective adaptation implementation

3.3.2 Carry out municipal CCA finance start-up and orientation workshops

3.3.3 Assist selected municipalities and local professionals through expert support and practical hands-on training


Display Photo: 
Expected Key Results and Outputs (Summary): 

Outcome 1 - Effective national adaptation coordination system established to drive the NAP process

Outcome 2 - Capacity for climate vulnerability assessments, development of socio-economic scenarios strengthened, and adaptation options prioritized for two key sectors

Outcome 3 - Innovative financing strategy for adaptation investments developed and tested in four to five selected municipalities

Strengthening the resilience of small farmers through Climate Smart Agriculture techniques in the Tahoua Region of Niger

The population of Niger more than tripled in 30 years. 51.6% of this population is under 15 years old. This population is essentially rural (83.8%) and derives most of its income from the exploitation of natural resources. The level of extreme poverty remains very high at 41.4% in 2019, affecting more than 9.5 million people. This poverty particularly affects woman-headed households. 60% of women and 75% of female-headed households are under the poverty line. The country’s economy, food security and the livelihoods of its rural communities are extremely vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, with an increasingly hot and dry climate and major fluctuation in rainfall across years. Increasing temperatures and increasing rainfall variability have severe impacts on agriculture, which is the main source of income and livelihoods for 87% of the national population.

The proposed “Strengthening the resilience of small farmers through Climate Smart Agriculture (PRP-AIC) techniques in the Tahoua Region of Niger” project will support producers to adapt to the adverse effects of climate change on their production. Exposure of fields to flood and silting will be reduced through climate smart agriculture and restoration of production areas as well as surrounding ecosystems. Indeed, restoration practices are currently not systematically adopted by farmers due to the perceived loss of arable lands through these practices. With the visible impacts of climate change, farmers tend to seek expand their agricultural land, at the expense of surrounding ecosystems. This further increases their vulnerability, with the increasing risk of a total crop loss during climate shocks such as flood and drought. Restoration practices will be part of the project’s comprehensive approach, with complementary interventions that provide directly perceivable benefits. The project will provide more immediate solutions for farmers to climate change by introducing climate-smart agriculture practices, thereby increasing yields and reducing vulnerability to climate change. Projects outputs are closely related to land restoration, enabling farmers to organize into functional farmers groups to improve access to local finance, including government funding. A sustainable private financing mechanism will also be set up to finance agriculture practices resilient to climate change, benefiting vulnerable people, with a focus on women and youth.


Level of Intervention: 
Key Collaborators: 
POINT (8.9443355638969 16.697937517707)
Primary Beneficiaries: 
49,000 direct beneficiaries, 200,000 indirect beneficiaries.
Financing Amount: 
US$8.9 million
Co-Financing Total: 
US$40.8 million (Government of Niger, UNDP)
Expected Key Results and Outputs: 



Component 1: Land restoration for climate resilience of agricultural production systems

Outcome 1.1: Degraded land is restored to protect agricultural production systems against the adverse impacts of climate change

This component will align with the GGWI to strengthen the resilience of vulnerable farmers against the adverse impacts of climate change. While the GGWI has had limited results to date, with only 15% currently underway after more than 10 years of implementation, and most of the action plan for Niger still outstanding,, early experiences, including from other countries (in particular Senegal) will be highly relevant to identify sustainable and adaptive practices. The project will build on a combination of traditional practices and modern/innovative approaches to restore lands and benefit farmers, including lessons learned from ongoing projects such as the project to Strengthen the Resilience of Rural Communities to Food and Nutritional Insecurity in Niger which will support the recovery of degraded land in Tahoua (estimated co-financing of US$10,000,000). Projects supporting pastoralism, including addressing conflicts between farmers and herders, such as the Regional Project to support Pastoralism in the Sahel, will also complement the restoration activities under this component by creating a peaceful discussion platform for exchange, including for the protection of restored ecosystems (estimated co-financing of US$ 5,000,000).

Indeed, fully functioning ecosystems will improve water retention and reduce the impacts of floods and droughts on vulnerable farming land. During the PPG phase, an analysis of past and present land use and the restoration of degraded areas, taking into account the projected changes in climate will be conducted to better define restoration activities. Preliminary consultations during the PIF formulation phase identified past successful experiences implemented through past and ongoing adaptation projects such as the Community-based adaptation project (funded by the LDCF) with the introduction of farmer-managed regeneration, half moons, benches, rocky outcrops[1], planting of trees of adapted species and Assisted Natural Regeneration (ANR) practices. The illustrations below present some NbS successfully introduced in Tahoua, as observed during the field visits conducted in March 2022.

In addition, because of the importance of domestic fuelwood consumption in the project area, causing an overexploitation of wood resources, and in turn, soil and ecosystem degradation, the project will conduct trainings and awareness raising for the adoption of improved stoves and other fuelwood efficient practices within surrounding communities, where reforestation, afforestation and agroforestry will be implemented. This output will be conducted in close coordination with output 3.1.2. to support and provide incentives to local entrepreneurs to offer and disseminate a range of fuelwood efficient practices and equipment (including improved stoves) in surrounding villages. This will reduce the pressure on forest ressources and ensure the sustainability of the project. During the PPG phase, the project will also explore opportunities under the UNISS (UN Integrated Strategy for the Sahel) programme, led by UNDP Energy offer for the Sahel. The project aims to increase access to clean energy for improved basic services and enhanced value chains, in particular in the agricultural sector. A pipeline of flagship joint projects is currently being developed to operationalize the offer and might offer potential for supporting the access to clean energy promoted under the LDCF project.

This component will have important mitigation and biodiversity co-benefits by restoring and preserving ecosystems that provide CO2 sequestration and provide living environments for the fauna and flora to thrive. It will also directly fits within the GGWI and aligns with its geographical and technical scope, including its focus on restoring ecosystems for food security. The project will be implemented through the following outputs:

Output 1.1.1. : Awareness raising and training programmes are conducted to sensitise local authorities and communities and equip them with information, skills and knowledge to support ecosystem restoration practices

Under this output, the project will work with local leaders as key partners during project design and implementation, to ensure their buy-in and their involvement in the sustainability and expansion of successful restoration practices. The engagement of local authorities and decentralized state agents will be ensured by setting up clear monitoring frameworks for the protection of restored ecosystems in the long-term. Local and regional planning and financing will be revised and supported to introduce the protection of ecosystems and the adoption and upscaling of NbS. In addition, the project will establish or strengthen local committees involving beneficiary farmer groups for natural resources management.

Community groups will be involved in the targeted areas to ensure a common understanding and engagement in restoration activities. These measures will be implemented and the upscaling of the restoration activities achieved through the funding mechanisms set up under output 3.1.1, thereby increasing the access to funding for these groups in the long-term and ensuring the sustained protection of restored ecosystems.

Awareness raising and sensitization will be conducted with local communities to discuss the long-term benefits of preserving ecosystems for the agricultural production and food security at the local level. The discussions will cover the impacts of climate change; key ecosystems such as wetlands, savannahs and forests; their linkages with production systems; the climate change adaptive benefits they offer. In addition, the discussions will support the documentation of existing traditional knowledge, sustainable practices and agriculture knowledge, to build on local experience for restoration activities.

Under this output, the project will also create links with the stakeholders involved with the GGWI, in Niger and in other regions. Effective communication will be built along the entire project to share lessons learned and results from the project and build on the results of other activities conducted under the GGWI. Effective communication channels will be established with the focal points in the ministries involved in the implementation of the GGWI (the National Agency of the GGW under the Ministry of Environment and the Fight against Desertification, the Ministry of Agriculture and the Ministry of Community Development).

Output 1.1.2. Degraded ecosystems surrounding the farming areas are restored with the adoption of Nature-based Solutions

Based on the analysis of past and present land-use to be conducted during the PPG phase, restoration and protective practices will be introduced. The consultation conducted at PIF formulation stage identified a range of successful NbS that will be analyzed and considered to be introduced and/or upscaled in the project areas. Local communities will be engaged in the identification of restoration activities, as well as during the implementation of these activities, providing local employment and building on and strengthening local practices. NbS practices identified include Zaï technique, half-moons, ANR, surface water dissipation techniques,mulching techniques, stone cordons, stone walls and stone lockers.

NbS will be introduced to restore degraded areas, increase the vegetation cover, protect forests, savannahs and wetlands from conversion to other types of occupation and reduce silting and water erosion (gullying) along watercourses. These practices will be introduced in areas surrounding agricultural lands, in order to provide large-scale adaptive benefits. Restoring key surrounding ecosystems will provide important ecosystem services to farmers by increasing the water recharge, reducing land slides and water runoff during floods, increasing biodiversity.

Lessons learned will be systematically collected and compiled into actionable knowledge products and shared withe farming communities and other land users in the project intervention areas and other projects in Tahoua and in the GGW area. This knowledge will be particularly relevant for the community groups targeted under output 1.1.1 for the replication and upscaling of practices in the project area and beyond.

The Social and Environmental safeguards work conducted during the PIF and to be developed at PPG stage and during implementation will guide and recommend the selection process of degraded land plots to be restored. This work will ensure Free Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) is obtained from beneficiaries and impacted communities. The necessary studies and assessments will be conducted to avoid the risk of land grabbing by the project and/or land used for other purpose by some communities to be turned into another land use, thereby adversely impacting their livelihoods, In addition, the project will support community land-use planning, through the consultations and local contracts and/or the formulation of local development plans.

Output 1.1.3. : Energy-saving equipment is promoted to reduce deforestation for firewood consumption

Considering the devastating impacts of increasing pressure on timber for household consumption and the consequences on protective ecosystems, this output will aim at changing the behavior of the rising generation in the use of wood energy. To do this, awareness-raising actions will be carried out throughout the project, targeting young people. A youth education campaign will be conducted to raise awareness of the accelerated depletion of local and national wood energy resources and its consequences on ecosystems and ecosystem services, and to advocate for the adoption of cooking equipment with low wood energy consumption and sustainable management. The project will closely coordinate with the activities conducted under the outcome 3 to incentivize supported MSEs to provide energy-efficient technologies to reduce fuelwood consumption. This will be ensured by conducting demonstration for the use and production of energy efficient equipment and demonstrate the viability of such investments. For instance, cook stoves are expected to reduce by 20% to 30% the wood consumption of beneficiary households. This campaign will be conducted through various channels: (i) trainings of young entrepreneurs, including through the presentation of economic potential of these activities, (ii) sensitization through the media (local radio, television, advertising posters); (iii) sports championships in the beneficiary localities; (iv) various school competitions and activities on the theme of wood energy resource management. The project will also identify the sites where these technologies will be most effective, including the availability of materials for their replication and maintenance. For cook stoves, the use of local materials such as banco (a local clay) is widely available and could ensure the dissemination of best practices.

In addition, during PPG phase, the project will map ongoing projects and interventions supporting the adoption of energy efficient technologies and seek partnerships with these interventions. For example, UNDP is leading an initiative on supporting clean energy access in the Sahel, which might offer potential collaboration in Niger.

Component 2: Promotion of Climate Smart Agriculture

Outcome 2.1. : Climate-smart agriculture techniques are promoted and reduce the vulnerability of smallholder farmers to climate

This component will promote climate-smart agriculture (CSA) techniques and technologies, adapted to the project intervention areas to reduce the vulnerability of smallholder farmers to climate change and enhance food security. Beneficiaries will be provided with practices and techniques for a comprehensive approach to tackle climate change. These practices will sustainably reinforce the resilience of communities against the adverse effects of climate change, improve agricultural production and beneficiary incomes, and contribute to carbon sequestration and thus GHG mitigation. Techniques and practices will include mechanical irrigation, with solar powered water pumps to reduce the impacts of water stress.

The project will build on the results of ongoing adaptation and food security projects implemented in Tahoua. to further improve the capacity to adopt CSA (barrier#2). Under the component 4 on knowledge management, the project will support the sharing of lessons learned and best practices and their introduction in the project design. In particular, the project will cooperate with the PIMELAN, which supports agricultural support services and agricultural policies, in order to disseminate lessons learned at the national level (estimated co-financing of US$15,000,000). The project will also work closely with the recently approved GCF project Hydro-agricultural development with smart agriculture practices resilient to climate change in Niger to avoid duplication and exchange knowledge. Beneficiaries will also be supported to access additional resources to expand their access to irrigation, for instance through the programme for small irrigation and food security (PISA 2) (estimated co-financing of US$5,000,000). The project will also coordinate with the recently approved GCF-funded project, the Hydro-agricultural development with smart agriculture practices resilient to climate change in Niger (AHA-AIC), supported by the BOAD (estimated co-financing of US$5,000,000). Other projects supporting the access to water will also be consulted and engaged.

While these projects provide important lessons learned, it appears from the PIF that they are only supporting the local agriculture sector, without taking into account the entire ecosystem on which they depend. This component will be strongly connected with component 1 and recognize the need for restored ecosystems. Component 2 will aim at increasing agriculture production and thereby food security, taking into account and, when possible, taking advantage of the impacts of climate change. This will only possible in an environment where surrounding ecosystems are offering protection against the increasing risks of floods and droughts, as addressed under component 1.

The component will also strengthen the capacity of local producer to access, understand and use agro-climatic and meteorological information, and contribute to producing basic local data (rainfall, humidity, temperature) to inform farming practices (barrier#4). This local data will be shared at the national level to increase the availability of local data for planning and projections.

Output 2.1.1. Climate-resilient farming techniques, including irrigation are adopted to reduce losses and food insecurity

In the context of climate change, access to water resources is increasingly scarce and less reliable, and current water practices often lack sustainability. To limit water losses and achieve sustainable water savings, the project will promote drip and California irrigation systems. These systems have an irrigation yield of 90% and 85% respectively, and will help save up to 50% of water[2]. Under this output, boreholes with solar pumps (kits composed of solar pumps, solar panels, inverter, regulator, and connection accessories for pumping), storage basins, piezometers, drip and california irrigation network units, reservoirs for storing irrigation water, etc. will be installed. The project will support the procurement and installation of these irrigation systems, which will be the property of community groups. MSEs supported under the component 3 will be incentivized and trained to develop businesses for the maintenance of this equipment, thereby creating sustainable frameworks for the procurement of spare parts and technical knowledge for repairings at the local level. In addition, community groups will be strengthened for the basic maintenance of the equipment. The installation of the equipment will therefore be closely coordinated with the activities conducted under component 3, and contacts will be established between community groups and entrepreneurs.

In addition, the success of crop intensification in climate-smart farming practices is based on the control of varietal performance, rigorous management of irrigation water, soil fertility and ecosystems, efficient management of irrigation areas and mastery of different cultivation techniques. To facilitate the implementation of the actions promoted by the project, training will be organized for producers. Manuals/guides and training for good practices will be adopted in water management, soil restauration, water pumping energy management, crop planning will be developed and made available to producers’ groups. When extension services are not sufficient to ensure the adequate training and dissemination of these manuals, local stakeholders active in the area will be involved, this will include CSOs, NGOs or students and teachers from the Tahoua university.

Producers and community groups will receive training to design and implement a mechanism for servicing and maintaining sustainable infrastructure such as water-saving irrigation, solar water pumping equipment, etc. A technical study will be held at the PPG stage to clarify the sustainability use of underground water in the project zone. This study will also ensure FPIC from beneficiaries and surrounding communities who might be impacted by the pumps and the selection of sites for irrigation.

Output 2.1.2.: Micro-dams, dikes, bioengineering and other land stabilization methods are implemented to protect agricultural production from the increasing intensity and frequency of droughts and floods.

While the activities under component 1 are expected to provide protection against droughts and floods, considering the increasing intensity of both climate events, lowland works will provide an additional and more immediate protection to agricultural lands. In addition, restoration activities will only be fully functioning a few years after their start and communities need to be offered a more immediate solution to floods and droughts for the restoration activities to be successful and to avoid further encroachment on surrounding ecosystems.

Under this output, micro dams will be built to provide a reliable access to water for crops during drought pockets in the rainy season. In areas where flooding is increasingly recurrent, sites will be protected by dykes lined with channels and drainage equipment. This will include the preparation of sites, drilling and protecting sites from water erosion by building anti-erosion structures, flood protection infrastructures, implementation of processing koris and tree planting around project sites.

Similarly to the output 2.1.1, the maintenance and sustainability of these infrastructure will be ensured through the set-up of MSEs providing such services, with an access to the market for the procurement of spare parts or construction material and equipment. Community groups will also be entrusted the ownership of the infrastructure for their maintenance, and will be trained to provide small repairs. They will also be put in contact with the set-up MSEs for larger maintenance work.

Output 2.1.3.: Agroclimatic and meteorological information and early warnings are available and understood by farmers for climate-resilient decision-making

Access to meteorological and climatic information in real time allows better programming of agricultural activities and enhances agricultural productivity and production. It considerably reduces the risk of loss of agricultural investments due to lack of delay and / or irregular rains. Indeed, important losses are recorded in Tahoua due to the lack of adaptive practices to the changing weather events, that could be partly avoided by the timely availability of weather information. This output therefore plans to strengthen producers' access to suitable agro-meteorological information.

To eliminate information asymmetry, mobile phone services are becoming an important mean for providing farmers’ groups with weather forecasts and market data. In each locality, three to five farmers’ groups members will be identified by the beneficiary groups to receive timely weather information. They will be provided with mobile phones to disseminate the information received to the rest of the members of the group. Their capacities will be strengthened to ensure the flow of information in both directions. The dissemination of weather information through mobile phones will be reinforced by radio broadcasts in local languages.  This activity will be implemented in collaboration with meteorological services, the National Center for Solar Energy (CNES), AGRHYMET and the Development Department. The project will also set up an early warning system to alert community members in case of disasters (floods, severe droughts, locust invasions, etc.), using a computer system,.

Farmers’ groups will be trained to: (i) acquire and install a direct-reading rain gauge kit, thermometer, and anemometric recorder in each beneficiary village, (ii) collect local weather information, and process and disseminate it using ICTs in a language understandable to producers, (iii) establish, in each village, a committee composed of at least 5 people (from different groups of producers) to ensure the relay of weather information to the rest of the producers, (iv) develop and validate an implementation plan for the operation of the committees, (v) establish an early warning system through a contract with the institution in charge of agroclimatic information production for treatment and analysis of data collected on site and the creation of SCAP-RU (Community System for Early Warnings and Emergency Response) and OSVs (Vulnerability Monitoring Observatories). Considering the lack of access to climate information and EWS is a key barrier deterring access to finance for beneficiaries, these interventions will also contribute towards de-risking lending to these communities from financial institutions, linking to the activities under Outcome 3.

The equipment introduced will be the property of the communities and the decentralized services of the meteorological department will be responsible for maintaining them. Equipment introduced as part of the project will be small equipment such as rain gauge kits, thermometers and anemometric recorders and are easy to maintain. In past projects, considering the seasonal need for these information, the equipment was cleaned and stored at the end of the farming season and re-introduced at the start of the following season. This ensured the good management of the equipment in the long term.

During the PPG phase, UNDP and the formulation team might also explore opportunities for the involvement of Niger into the Systemic Observations Financing Facility (SOFF) which is still under design. This would engage the Government of Niger to maintain their meteorological equipment in the long term, receiving financial support for this maintenance upon the verification of the effective maintenance (through the effective transmission of climate information to the Global Basic Observation Network (GBON) under WMO.

Component 3: Facilitating the development of the private sector in local communities

Outcome 3.1. Women- and youth-led local Micro and Small Entreprises (MSEs) and entrepreneurs provide adaptive solutions to climate change with local banks and microfinance institutions sustainable facilities

Since the 1980s, several initiatives have been developed by the State and its partners to finance the agroforestry sector through banks, financial institutions and decentralised financial systems (SFDs). However, the financial resources mobilised are not accessible to producers and other value chain stakeholders and often do not meet their investment needs (barrier #3). Also, the access modalities and conditions developed by the projects and programmes are not always harmonised, creating confusion among the beneficiary actors. In order to establish a harmonised and formal framework for financing Food and Nutrition Security and Sustainable Agricultural Development, the State, with the support of Technical and Financial Partners, has set up a secure fund for agricultural investments, which centralizes resources to finance vulnerable farming communities and individual farmers. This is the Food and Nutrition Security Fund (FISAN), which has three facilities: facility 1: support to agricultural financing, facility 2: financing of agricultural structuring investments and facility 3: financing of agricultural advice, research and capacity building.

The FISAN strategy is expected to combine classical financing systems with innovative facilities. The traditional approach refers to mechanisms for mobilising and administering public resources for the rural sector on the one hand, and private sector funding, notably through financial institutions, on the other. The innovative approach will be to set up the Fund through a public-private partnership. This fund is seen as a strategic instrument for sustainable financing of public investments for agricultural growth and food security. It provides banking facilities for private investments including: (i) subsidies to reduce the costs of agricultural inputs and materials so that they are more accessible to producers; (ii) incentive facilities for commercial banks to intervene in the financing of private investments: guarantee funds, calamity funds and interest rate subsidies; and (iii) lines of credit for direct bank financing and refinancing of SFDs. The FISAN works with banks, SFDs and other institutions in providing guarantees to deliver the activities under its first facility. Among them, the Agricultural Bank of Niger (BAGRI) signed a performance agreement with the FISAN to allocate up to US$8,000,000 (XAF 5.5 billion) for the agriculture sector in 2022. The bank, established in 2011, in spite of its mandate, has so far not been able to disburse a significant amount of credit to the agriculture sector (only 12,75% was allocated to the agriculture sector) and the rates offered are not affordable to smallholder farmers. The BAGRI is being supported in its engagement by the GCF-IFAD project “Inclusive Green Financing for Climate Resilient and Low Emission Smallholder Agriculture” [3], in particular in its aim to “establish a Financing Facility within BAGRI with a line of credit to support concessional loan to (…) women and youth organizations (…)”. The LDCF project will therefore collaborate with the General Direction of the FISAN, the BAGRI and the GCF-IFAD project to bridge the financing gap for farmers groups and other Economic Interest Group (EIG) by accessing credits under the BAGRI at concessional rates.

The PIMELAN also supports the financing of the FISAN to benefit smallholder farmers through MFIs present in Diffa, Tahoua and Tillabéry. The project has set up two facilities that will provide (i) US$ 6million of grant funding for agri-food funding for most vulnerable farmer groups, women and youth and other SMEs and (ii) US$22 million of loans  for producer groups and SME. As such, the PIMELAN is expected to provide significant opportunities for MSEs and vulnerable groups to access credits through MFIs such as Yarda- Tarka – Maggia, Capital Finance, ACEP or Daouré, operating in the region of Tahoua.

Under this component, the project will also collaborate with other ongoing projects that support the development of the private sector, including the project to Strengthen the Resilience of Rural Communities to Food and Nutritional Insecurity in Niger, supported by IFAD.

Through this component, and the establishment of partnerships with the FISAN, the BAGRI, MFIs, IFAD, the World Bank and other stakeholders (including UNCDF, pending further consultations), the project will address the barriers related to the limited access to funding from both public sources and private sources (barriers #1 and #3). Indeed, the project will collaborate with the FISAN, BAGRI and MFIs to support traditional and innovative approaches as defined in the FISAN strategy. The project will support banks and microfinance institutions, beyond the BAGRI, to develop customized financial products targeted towards smallholder farmers engaged in CSA, as well as alternative credit-scoring and collateral mechanisms that can ease lending to this cohort. Other activities that will contribute towards de-risking lending include the integration of individual farming units into community-based MSEs across the CSA and forestry value chains, training on both CSA and financial management, and the dissemination of climate information and EWS. The expected combined impact of these interventions will de-risk and unlock both existing financing available for the agriculture sector through BAGRI and catalyze new agriculture sector funding from other commercial banks.

An Agricultural Loan Facility will also be supported by the recently approved GCF project Hydro-agricultural development with smart agriculture practices resilient to climate change in Niger  and lessons learned will be regularly shared with the project to adjust the approach and support farmers to access loans under this facility.

The MSEs supported through this component will be involved in the knowledge and lessons learned sharing activities conducted under the component 4. These activities will be based on the knowledge and lessons learned collected from the components 1 and 2. Indeed, supported MSEs will be exclusively involved in CSA and ecosystem restoration for climate change adaptation and will be embedded in the sustainability and upscaling strategy of the components 1 and 2. In particular, MSEs will be incentivized and supported to offer maintenance services for the irrigation and lowland development works introduced under the component 2. In addition, during the PPG stage, opportunities will be seeked to develop a business model for the development of MSEs for the provision of climate data, including by engaging with the PS in the targeted areas, who might benefit from improved climate information.

Output 3.1.1. Agricultural groups and community cooperative funds are strengthened to increase their financial sustainability for the adoption of CSA

One of the main challenges facing local communities with regards to adopting climate resilient agriculture practices relates to the lack of adequate funding. Individual farmers are usually subsistence farmers, or receive very low incomes from their agricultural practices and are therefore not able to save enough revenues and time to invest in new practices. However, Niger has strong community groups, including farmer’s groups, which the project can build on to mobilize larger funding. These groups also offer a platform for knowledge and adaptive practices to be disseminated to new members in the long term. This outcome will strengthen these groups through two interventions:

The reinforcement of farmers’ associations business management capacity: Knowledge of entrepreneurial tools is necessary to trigger the effective functioning of agricultural cooperative societies. The project will provide, in the first 3 years, support for the development of business plans and the linking of farmers groups with their target customers. Working and awareness sessions will be organized with farmers groups, including the development and dissemination of material on business planning and entrepreneurship. The farmers groups will be supported in the development of business plans adapted to each project site, building on the lessons learned from the component 3 on CSA. In addition, a selection of business plans supporting ecosystem restoration/protection and CSA will receive micro-grants for their implementation and will be technicall supported by the project during the project lifetime, including through the sharing of lessons learned from component 1 and 2.

The incubation of existing farmers vulnerable groups’ to become CSA enterprises: Technical support will be provided to improve the management of community funds and to create an enabling environment for vulnerable agricultural groups to access finance for their members. The long-term objective is to promote the incubation of vulnerable agricultural groups in micro and small businesses for larger access to financial resources adapted to poor and vulnerable populations engaged in CSA. These groups will also benefit from the sharing of lessons learned from the activities conducted under the component 2 as well as the benefit from the reduced exposure to climate impacts from component 1. It is expected that 60% of the total beneficiaries will be women and 50% youth groups.

Output 3.1.2. : In collaboration with the FISAN, the BAGRI and MFIs, MSEs are supported to access loans  for climate resilient agriculture financing

Under the FISAN strategy, and in close coordination with key stakeholders involved in supporting access to finance for vulnerable communities (ie. the PIMELAN, the IFAD-GCF project, the BAGRI, UNCDF, the BOAD-GCF project), MSEs will be technically supported for their de-risking to access credits at concessional rates. This output will target exclusively MSEs involved in CSA (including the maintenance of equipment and infrastructures introduced under the component 2), and agricultural value chains using clean energy (including cookstoves), with a strong focus on women and youth. These vulnerable groups will be supported to open a bank account with financial institutions and access credit to finance their CSA activities – including by supporting them to develop bankable proposals and request for credit. MSEs will also be trained in basic business management and accountability principles in order to increase the trust of MFIs. This de-risking will serve MSEs and IEGs to access funding from local MFIs and the BAGRI in the form of an agricultural loan. Close coordination with the PIMELAN, IFAD-GCF and BOAD-GCF projects will be conducted to ensure the access to innovative financing for targeted MSEs and IEGs in Tahoua. The beneficiaries will additionally receive training during the project lifetime as needed – including group trainings or investment-specific advice or guidance, to ensure they remain bankable for MFIs and have a long-term access to credit for their agricultural activities.

The LDCF project will also continuously work with local communities and financing institutions to identify opportunities and access innovative financial mechanisms in the project sites. It is expected that the loans accessed will finance (i) climate-resilient techniques for irrigation, (ii) solar-powered Californian or drip irrigation system for water control, (iii) water and energy management systems and practices, (iv) inputs for CSA (seeds, equipment, etc.), (v) the maintenance of the equipment and infrastructure introduced under the component 2; and (vii) the development of energy-efficient practices to reduce fuelwood consumption and support the activities under component 1 (in particular output 1.1.3).

Discussions are currently ongoing with the FISAN, the PIMELAN, the GCF-IFAD project, the BAGRI, and UNCDF to explore opportunities for partnerships and will be continued during the PPG phase, including with the recently approved BOAD-GCF project. The LDCF project will have a focus on technically de-risking the financing of women and youth for CSA (through trainings and the introduction and adoption of resilient practices), which will create a more conducive environment for the investments provided by other stakeholders, while partners will be involved in financially de-risking beneficiaries through different financing mechanisms such as subsidizing refinancing mechanisms, providing interest rate subsidies or guarantees. 

Component 4: Knowledge Management and Lessons Learned

Outcome 4.1: Lessons learned on climate resilient agriculture and land restoration practices inform future projects in-country and elsewhere

Lessons learned from the project will be compiled and shared. This will be relevant for producer groups and farmers. This will be disseminated to municipalities, local agriculture administrations, the Government, civil society, regional institutions and donors working in the sector of climate change adaptation. In particular, innovative CSA and land restoration practices will be assessed and results and lessons learned collected in a format that will help advance the GGWI and other national and regional initiatives as relevant. Indeed, considering its geographical and technical alignment with the GGWI, the project will specifically ensure its results are shared and, in turn, lessons learned from the GGWI in Niger and other countries will be used and built on.

Under this outcome, the project team will also build partnerships with CCA projects, in particular the GCF project, but also projects focusing on governance and security to ensure security risks are integrated into the project adaptive management and mitigation strategy, and a more wholistic approach is adopted.

Output 4.1.1. Project results are monitored and evaluated

The project will develop a close and permanent monitoring program of the physical investments made on the sites. The program will include a monitoring of networks, structures and other interventions. This continuous monitoring will be ensured by an M&E specialist, with support from the decentralized services of the Ministry of Agriculture, with support from local focal points if needed. These services will benefit from technical and material capacity building activities to carry out this monitoring program.

In addition, a Project Monitoring and Evaluation System will be designed and implemented  in accordance with the requirements of LDCF (GEF) and UNDP  to monitor: (i) the rate of execution of project activities, (ii) the evolution of the financial data of the project, (ii) regular and systematic recording and reporting of progress made against the planned project objectives through the establishment of a database, and (iii) evaluation of the impact of project activities on the target group and the environment; (iv) gender-disaggregated data collection and reporting system for each project component, (v) develop participatory tools to measure project performance, (vi) conduct beneficiary surveys to measure the effects/impacts (beginning, mid-term and completion), (vii) recruit a consultant in gender mainstreaming for supporting the executive entity, (viii) conduct an annual analysis/evaluation of the technical, economic and financial performance of the project, (ix) Undertake mid-term evaluation, (x) undertake final evaluation.

During the PPG phase, and assessment on the potential to use digital tools for a more effective and transparent M&E will be conducted.

Output 4.1.2. Lessons learned from the project are compiled, capitalized, and disseminated

The project monitoring and evaluation system will make a significant contribution to the management of technology performance and traceability of operations that have made it possible to achieve results and to make decisions useful for action. In this perspective, the results (outputs, outcomes and impacts) will be capitalized and archived electronically and physically to strengthen the documentation of lessons learned.

To guarantee the project contribution to local and national adaptation to climate change and the GGWI and improve ongoing practices, the different reports and studies supported by the project will be compiled to formulate a complete lessons learned document. This will contain, among others : (i) the efficiency and weakness of technologies and techniques, process, financial management and use at regional, national and local level; (ii) the best adaptation practices recommanded for local, national and regional adaptation project ; (iii) the adopted solutions to address the weaknesses identified during the project formulation and implementation. To allow a better assimilation and implementation of the lessons learned by farmers, farmers’ groups and cooperatives, the manuals will be translated into graphic images and into the official local language of Niger.

Field missions across different sites of the GGW (in Niger and abroad) will be organized to specifically participate to the advancement of the GGWI. This knowledge will also be shared during the participation to workshops and other events on the GGWI. In addition, the Project management unit will organise exchanges with beneficiaries to appreciate the lessons learned on a practical level by producers, support exchanges with the technical services involved in the project, this will be done in 2 steps:

Development of technical and manual sheets: This will involve the production and dissemination of documents and documentaries on lessons learned and best practices tested under the project in terms of on actions to strengthen resilience to the adverse effects of climate change, increase productivity and production and mitigation of GHG emissions in the agriculture sector. To this end, the project will develop several technical sheets on the technologies and practices implemented by the project.  These sheets will be designed at the end of the third year of the project and disseminated in the fourth year of the project. At least, the project will develop: (i) a fact sheet on the drip irrigation system, (ii) a fact sheet on the Californian system, (iii) a fact sheet on the system of water pumping with off grid solar energy and the maintenance of solar equipment, (iv) a fact sheet on the sustainable management of hydro-agricultural development soils and the use of agricultural inputs, (v) a fact sheet on the optimal profitability of irrigation project activities with modern techniques, (vi) fact sheets on the degraded land and ecosystems surrounding farming areas restoration with Nature-based Solutions, (vii) fact sheets on efficient cooking stoves.

Knowledge sharing and dissemination of good practices for a climate resilient agricultural sector in Niger: This activity aims to share  knowledge and disseminate  good practices for a climate resilient agricultural for farmers groups and cooperatives (men, women, youth), local decentralized Authorities,  local agriculture  and environment offices, Private Banks and Microfinance Institutions executives,Niger's international technical and financial partners ; Great Green Wall initiatives in the State members, Economic Comunitiy of West Africa States (ECOWAS) and West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU) Regional and national research centers on Climate smart agriculture, Commissioner to the 3N (les Nigériens Nourissent les Nigériens) Initiative ; Ministries in charge  of agriculture, plan, and finance; Directorate in charge of Microfinance Institutions, National Debt, agriculture investment,  Rural Engineering ; National Office of Environmental Assessments, Project management Unit and Executing agency.

[2] Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6 Level of water stress freshwater withdrawals as a proportion of available freshwater resources. Target 6.4 By 2030, substantially increase water use efficiency in all sectors and ensure sustainable withdrawal and supply of freshwater to address water scarcity and significantly reduce the number of people suffering from lack of water. Indicator 6.4.2 - Level of water stress: freshwater withdrawal as a proportion of available freshwater resources.

[3] For more details, please refer to the project strategy , p22


Climate-Related Hazards Addressed: 
Display Photo: 
Expected Key Results and Outputs (Summary): 

Output 1: Degraded land is restored to protect agricultural production systems against the adverse impacts of climate change.

Output 2: Climate-smart agriculture techniques are promoted and reduce the vulnerability of smallholder farmers to climate.

Output 3: Women- and youth-led local Micro and Small Entreprises (MSEs) and entrepreneurs provide adaptive solutions to climate change with local banks and microfinance institutions sustainable facilities.

Output 4: Lessons learned on climate resilient agriculture and land restoration practices inform future projects in-country and elsewhere.

Project Dates: 
2023 to 2029
PIF Approval
June 2022
SDG 1 - No Poverty
SDG 2 - Zero Hunger
SDG 13 - Climate Action
SDG 15 - Life On Land

Barrier#1: Limited technical and financial support from the Government to address climate-induced land degradation: Agricultural fields are increasingly exposed to flooding, erosion and silting due to climate change and adverse practices such as deforestation. However, with limited public budget, only one agriculture advisor per 1,000 producer household is in place, and insufficient investment in infrastructure and restoration are undertaken. In addition, Niger's fiscal balance has been negatively impacted by the impacts of COVID-19 and sovereign debt became even more difficult to assume.[1] The economic downturn, fiscal pressures, and tightening of financial conditions are giving rise to large financing gaps in Niger’s public finances and balance of payments. According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the country has a limited capacity to borrow additional loan financing, considering the overall fiscal balance including grants which is projected at -5% in 2020. In particular, the budget allocated to agriculture by the government remains well below the financing needs to adapt the agriculture sector to the adverse effects of climate change.

In addition, in spite of the food crisis the Sahel region is facing, the war in Ukraine has led to a large reduction in ODA following the reallocation of resources from important donor countries such as Denmark or Norway. Indeed, Niger does not have the resources in the national budget to address the climate crisis in the Agriculture sector and is highly dependant on international support. This is reflected in the NDC, with the distinction between unconditional adaptation and conditional adaptation, budgeted at US$2.4 billion for 2021-2040 and US$4.343 billion respectively – indicating that 64% of the needs for adaptation financing are expected to be met by external financing ;

Barrier#2: Low knowledge and technical and technological capacity to adopt climate-smart agriculture and ecosystem restoration practices. Even though some traditional practices in terms of ecosystem restoration and protection exist and have been reintroduced, there is a need to adjust these practices to the projected rapid impacts of climate change and to introduce CSA practices. Due to this lack of experience and adequate sensitization efforts, producers are reluctant to adopt new practices as such shifts are perceived risky. This is particularly true in the case of ecosystem restoration practices, which often do not yield immediately perceivable benefits due to the period needed  for the ecosystems regenerate.

In addition, successful strategies (including developed by farmers) are not consolidated and disseminated to generate the larger replication of the practices within and outside the community. Due to the limited availability of deconcentrated state agents, the lack of communication networks and the poor management of lessons learned at the local level (within local authorities, CSOs, NGOs or community groups) and at the national level (within research institutions and universities), successful practices are not replicated beyond the areas of intervention. This also translates into a lack of data and knowledge at the national level on local agricultural production and the impacts of climate change, thereby adversely affecting the informed planning for adaptation at the national level – either using Government’s resources or external donors’ funding.

Even though progress was achieved under Great Green Wall Initiative (GGWI), including in Niger and Tahoua, and the growing interest from Governments, donors and other stakeholders, key pressing areas of intervention still require support to implement the three strategic axis of the GGW in Niger: (i) promoting the good governance of natural resources and the Local Development with the involvement of local populations and for their benefit, (ii) the improvement of food security through the valuation and sustainable management of agrosylvopastoral production systems and (iii) knowledge management. The GGWI was envisioned as a large scale programme that would ensure the generation, compilation and sharing of knowledge and lessons learned, but climate risk management support is still urgently needed.

Finally, CSA and ecosystem restoration practices are not introduced as complementary measures and their self-reinforcing adaptive benefits are not always understood by communities and local stakeholders. The relationship between the pressure on surrounding ecosystems and the increased vulnerability to climate change is not clearly understood due to the delayed and indirect nature of the benefits of restored and protected ecosystems as opposed to the direct revenues and livelihood issued from new agricultural land;

Barrier#3: Vulnerable populations don’t have access to low-cost, long-term financing for innovative climate-resilient techniques including solar water pumping systems, water-efficient irrigation networks and other CSA practices. For the communities recognizing the impacts of climate change and wishing to invest in adaptive practices, they face barriers to access financing. Local communities are often perceived by traditional financing institutions (including Micro-Finance Institutions – MFIs) as too risky and notcreditworthy and in turn, local communities are not able to afford the high interest rates offered by these institutions.

Despite the availability of an estimated US$2.1 billion of total assets within the financial sector in Niger, constituting an important source of finance to catalyze in order to meet the investment gap for climate resilient agriculture, farmers are not able to access affordable financing for innovative climate resilient technologies. This can be explained by: i) the lack of capacity of Banks and Microfinance Institutions (MFIs) in green lending, ii) the high interest rates charged by banks and MFIs on lending products for climate resilient agriculture, iii) the weak and/or inexistent regulatory frameworks on agriculture resilience and renewable energy technologies financing. Niger's financial system does not provide adequate and sufficient financing that responds effectively to the needs of the national agricultural sector.

The financing available does not allow access to medium and long-term credit to finance equipment or structured finance to meet the sector's supply or value chain needs. While agriculture contributes more than 35% of GDP and employs almost 85% of Niger's working population, the proportion of the banking sector lending to agriculture is extremely limited (less than 1% of total lending). The factors that hinder the development of appropriate and accessible on-farm financial services are: (i) high credit interest rates (12% to 20%) with short-term maturities of under a year; (ii) insufficient supply of credit to meet demand ; (iii) non-financing of all agricultural sectors/activities due to the high risk perception and difficulties in debt collection, (vi) lack of guarantee mechanisms, and (vi) the lack of capacity of Banks and Microfinance Institutions (MFIs) on financing small holder farmers, agriculture groups and cooperatives for climate resilient agriculture. Thus, it is necessary to create incentives for the financial sector to lower interest rates and make loans more accessible (with longer tenors) for agriculture groups and cooperatives and improve the profitability of their farms while increasing the resilience to climate change.

Even the Niger agricultural Bank’s (BAGRI) has not been able to sufficiently support the agriculture sector.  As of 31 January 2020, total outstanding loans, all terms included, amounted to 81 million USD, of which 13 million USD were for agriculture (17% of the total portfolio), while the estimated costs of the Agricultural Value Chain Development of the Strategic Programme for the period 2016-2020 is estimated at more than 268 million USD. From 2021 to 2025, the estimated annual financial requirements for priority resilience, water management and sustainable land management programmes are estimated at $520 million. Given the aggravation of food insecurity due to climate change, the Government of Niger is implementing actions to migrate from rain-fed agriculture to CSA[2]. While resources to support local communities adopt these practices are limited, there is a need to create an enabling environment for vulnerable subsistence farmers to develop into local MSEs, access microfinance, and replicate and scale-up the current investments. Currently, vulnerable farmers are not able to borrow due to the absence of sufficient guarantees and the lack of solvent organization of agricultural groups. There is therefore a gap to strengthen existing organizations and support the access to affordable credit.

Barrier#4: Unavailable, obsolete or inaccessible climate information. Currently, reliable climate information is not available or widely disseminated for local communities. The meteorological network is scattered through the country and does not provide data specific to the local level, preventing the adoption of adequate adaptive practices. When available, the shared information provides approximately downscaled warnings and forecasts that do not provide the needed accuracy to adapt the agriculture practices in a timely manner. In addition, forecasts and early warnings are not always disseminated in a way that is understandable by local communities – for instance, most of the information is only available in French and not translated in local languages.

Finally, the communication strategies often exclude most remote and isolated communities, who may not have access to phones or radios and are less accessible for scarce deconcentrated state services. There is a lack of locally-collected data, timely shared with meteorological institutions to issue agricultural advice, projections and early warnings. This communication channel also fails to share and consolidate lessons learned from CSA and other traditional and modern agricultural practices for a better management of knowledge at the national and regional level.

[1] According to the World Bank, to better cope with the Covid-19 crisis, Niger should primarily direct and strengthen its actions in favor of sensitive sectors such as food security. The cost of the COVID 19 Response Plan, estimated by the Government and its partners in May 2020, is $1.5 billion, or 18.4% of GDP.

[2] Niger’s NDC Chapter 5.7 Accent on Climate-Smart Agriculture. September, 26th, 2015


Climate Resilience in the Nakambe Basin of Burkina Faso

Burkina Faso is a landlocked country situated in the heart of West Africa. Four major watersheds mainly drain the country. The Nakambe River Basin is the most populated area. About 85% of national water storage capacity is held in reservoirs located on the Nakambe or its tributaries. Ouagadougou is almost entirely dependent on the basin’s surface water. Despite its importance, the Nakambe River is threatened by degradation and the combined impacts of climate change and human activities such as agriculture, deforestation and overgrazing.  The “Climate Resilience in the Nakambe Basin” project will reduce the vulnerability of Nakambe river communities to anthropogenic climate change with a focus on strengthening the resilience of livelihoods and agro-ecological and hydrological systems to withstand additional climate stressors.


Level of Intervention: 
POINT (-0.45996130223198 12.92318879103)
Financing Amount: 
US$4.4 million
Co-Financing Total: 
US$10.8 million
Display Photo: 
Expected Key Results and Outputs (Summary): 

Outcome 1: Build capacity of the Directorate General for Nakambe Water Agency (DG-EAN) and communities on the use of climate & hydrological information/services for extreme climate risk management.

Outcome 2: Climate risk management and sustainable forestry practices adopted by smallholder farmers.


Project Dates: 
2022 to 2027
March 2022
CEO Endorsement
SDG 13 - Climate Action
SDG 14 - Life Below Water

Barrier #1: The Nakambe River Agency and other relevant national actors have limited knowledge and means to generate hydro-meteorological information. There is a very limited observation network in sub-basin affected by drought & floods and the institution lack of available and historical data to produce and disseminate reliable information on flood/drought forecasting in the context of management of water resources. This result from inadequate investments into regional and local level capacity development for climate resilient information and decision-making systems. The spatial analysis of the vulnerability of exposed elements (populations and infrastructures), combined with analysis of potential socioeconomic impacts would allow for an assessment and a complete cartography of flood/drought risks.

Barrier #2: Inexistence of community disaster risks early warning system in the Nakambe Basin. The communities living in areas of high risk of extreme weather events are not sufficiently reached in term of prevention and response mechanisms. There is lack an efficient communications system at local level; language of communication – mainly in French, which a larger number of Mossi communities do not understand; a restricted type of media of communicating the information to stakeholders. The institution also lacks information communication experts to transform technically sound information to down to earth easily understandable messages that will catch the attention and interest of end users so that they can make use of the information and take remedial or adaptation measures.

Barrier #3: Weak resilience capacity of communities. Poor communities living in the Nakambe basin have very little knowledge of resilient farming methods (plant density, drought resistant varieties of local crops, suitable seed provision, mulch application, etc.), and low-cost water conservation/irrigation technologies in areas prone to diminishing or highly variable rainfall during crop growing season. In the basin Centre North region, a great percent of the population is rural and has subsistence agriculture as their main source of income. Therefore, subsistence and small scale (rain-fed) farming is the predominant feature and this includes both livestock and drylands crop farming with sorghum and corn as the main cereals. Natural disasters related to erratic climate conditions (e.g., extreme heat, alternating periods of drought and flooding) represent a strong handicap. A wide range of technical compounds these climate-related challenges and institutional constraints, including inadequate infrastructure, limited access to markets, market uncertainty, weak capacity of producer organizations, and lack of financing, poor sectoral coordination, and political instability.

Barrier #4: Increased risks on water availability caused by anthropogenic and climatic factors. Even though the per capita water availability of the basin may be perceived as normal, deforestation, land degradation, and high population growth rate coupled with climate change will exacerbate the growing scarcity on water resources as water supplies dwindle and become insufficient to meet the water demands of the growing population. As water crises are forecasted for the future, and meeting the water demands of the increasing population in the Nakambe basin is closely tied to understanding and the development of water resources in order to prevent their depletion in the face of climate change.

Enabling an effective National Adaptation Plan process for Tajikistan

The overall goal of the project is to establish the institutional arrangements and capacities to develop and execute the National Adaptation Plan (NAP) to further an overarching approach to adaptation planning and implementation in Tajikistan. The NAP process assists the country’s government in mainstreaming climate change adaptation in policy and planning processes at the national and sectoral levels, enhancing capacities to identify key vulnerabilities and develop effective climate change adaptation projects. Successful design and implementation of a National Climate Change Adaptation Strategy will result in enhanced adaptive capacity and will improve the country’s ability to mobilize private and public sector finance from domestic and international sources to support a pipeline of adaptation and resilience building activities.


Level of Intervention: 
Key Collaborators: 
Funding Source: 
Financing Amount: 
US$ 2,979,428
Project Details: 

The "Enabling an effective National Adaptation Plan (NAP) process for Tajikistan" project supports the Government of Tajikistan to establish the institutional arrangements and capacities to develop and execute National Adaptation Plans to further an overarching approach to adaptation planning and implementation in the country.

Tajikistan has already started to feel the effects of climate change. Temperatures in Tajikistan have consistently increased since the 1930's at an average rate of 0.1˚C/decade. Climate-induced extreme weather events (such as floods, droughts, heatwaves, landslides and avalanches) are expected to increase in both frequency and intensity as a result of warming. Almost one-third of the population lives below the poverty line, which adds significantly to the climate risk vulnerability of a country that is already identified as the most vulnerable among all European and Central Asian countries. Climate change could adversely affect Tajikistan through impacts on social, cultural, economic, and natural resources. The relatively low level of socio-economic development, inadequate infrastructure, and high dependency on climate-sensitive sectors make the country extremely vulnerable to climate-induced extreme events.

The Government of the Republic of Tajikistan has made commitments to confront the challenges of climate change and to implementing the commitments made in its Nationally Determined Contribution. At the national level, to achieve its adaptation goals the Government of the Republic of Tajikistan has developed a National Climate Change Adaptation Strategy (NCCAS), which is a long-term statement of priorities with respect to climate change adaptation.  The current project addresses identified gaps and barriers to implementation and is consistent with the Government of the Republic of Tajikistan’s vision for the NAP process.  

The following results are expected to be delivered through the three outcomes of the project:

  • Committee on Environmental Protection is strengthened as the lead agency and coordinating body for climate change adaptation. 
  • Statistics Agency develops and implements national indicators and reporting methodology for climate change adaptation planning and implementation
  • Climate Change Center knowledge management capabilities are strengthened. 
  • Mainstreaming of climate change adaptation in priority sector planning and regulatory frameworks is advanced. 
  • Priority sector vulnerabilities and adaptation options are identified. 
  • Long-term climate change adaptation capacity development program is established and implemented. 
  • Establish and institutionalize a financing mechanism for the NAP/NCCAS/NDC implementation. 
  • Sub-national capacities for climate change adaptation mainstreaming, planning, and project implementation are enhanced. 
  • Private sector is engaged in climate change adaptation activities at national and sectoral levels. 


Project updates 
  • The Steering committee has been established with representation of key national institutions and stakeholders.  
  • The intersectoral working group on integration of climate change adaptation measures into the national planning has been established.  


Expected Key Results and Outputs: 

Outcome 1: Governance, coordination and institutional arrangements for climate change adaptation planning and implementation strengthened

Outcome 2: Priority sector adaptation plans developed, capacities strengthened, and long-term capacity development program established

Outcome 3: Implementation capacities for climate change adaptation is strengthened.  

Project Status: 
Display Photo: 
Project Dates: 
2021 to 2023
Square Photo: 

Enhancing Climate Resilience in Thailand through Effective Water Management and Sustainable Agriculture

While Thailand has made remarkable progress in social and economic development over the last four decades, rising temperatures and more frequent and extreme droughts and floods driven by climate change pose an increasing threat to the country’s economy. Water management has emerged as a leading concern.  

This project will help build the resilience of farmers in the Yom and Nan river basins (Sukhothai, Phitsanulok and Uttaradit provinces) through improved climate information and forecasts, the introduction of more climate-resilient agricultural practices, and expanded access to markets and finance.    

At the same time, it will work with subnational and national agencies to improve risk-informed planning and decision-making, promote cross-sectoral coordination, and upgrade critical infrastructure such as irrigation canals and floodgates, taking advantage of ecosystem-based adaptation approaches.  






POINT (100.54687496761 13.768731166253)
Primary Beneficiaries: 
This project will directly benefit 62,000 people in the provinces of Phitsanulok, Sukhothai, and Uttaradit in the northern region of Thailand of the Greater Chao Phraya River Basin, at the confluence of the Yom and Nan Rivers. Approximately 471,561 people in the project districts are also expected to indirectly benefit, with wider benefits for 25,000,000 people living in the Greater Chao Phraya River Basin.
Funding Source: 
Financing Amount: 
US$17,533,500 GCF grant
Co-Financing Total: 
US$16.264 million from the Royal Thai Government through the Royal Irrigation Department | $113,000 Krungsri Bank | Bank for Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives $16 million line of credit to help farmers invest in adaptation measures
Project Details: 

Thailand’s extreme vulnerability to climate change is shaped by an extensive coastline, a large rural population highly dependent on agriculture, and extensive populous urban areas located on flood prone plains.

Severe rain, flood and drought events are expected to increase in the near and longer-term future. The country’s agricultural sector will be particularly impacted by changing patterns of precipitation, with implications for agricultural livelihoods and local and national economies. Between 2040 and 2049, the projected negative impacts on agriculture are estimated to induce losses of between $24 billion and $94 billion.

In 2011, 66 out of the country’s 77 provinces were affected by flooding, with over 20,000 square kilometres of agricultural land damaged, and nearly 900 lives lost.  The following year, Thailand suffered $46.5 billion in damages and loss, and required an estimated $14 billion in loans for rehabilitation and reconstruction as a result. 

The recent drought in 2015-2016 is estimated to have resulted in losses of $3.4 billion. 

Poor households will suffer disproportionately from the impacts of climate change. Poverty in Thailand has a predominately rural profile, which fluctuates according to vulnerabilities in the agricultural sector, such as faltering economic growth, falling agricultural prices, and droughts. 

Proportionally, the Central and Northern Regions of Thailand have the highest levels of poverty. Sukhothai, Phitsanulok, and Uttaradit provinces – those covered by the project – have higher poverty levels compared with other parts of the country.   

Climate-informed water management and climate-resilient water infrastructure are critical to Thailand’s preparedness and response to climate change. Thailand’s National Adaptation Plan 2018, highlighted flood control and drought management as key priorities, with a focus on Chao Phraya River Basin. 

Given the cost of upgrading existing water infrastructure across the country, the Royal Thai Government is seeking to complement its grey infrastructure with ecosystems-based adaptation measures. As agriculture households are the most vulnerable to changing climatic conditions, an integrated solution which brings together water management and agriculture is key. 

This project therefore focuses on adapting water management and agricultural livelihoods in the Yom and Nan river basins to climate change induced extreme weather events (droughts and floods), through interventions across three outputs: 

·       Output 1:  Enhancing climate and risk informed planning in the water and agricultural sectors through improved climate information and cross sectoral coordination

·       Output 2:  Improving water management through strengthened infrastructure complemented by EbA measures, for greater resilience to climate change impacts

·       Output 3:  Reducing volatility of agriculture livelihoods in drought and flood prone areas through strengthened extension support and local planning, investment in on-farm adaptation measures and greater access to finance and markets

Better integration of ecosystem-based adaptation (EbA) measures will have environmental benefits, while capacity-building interventions will support cost-efficient and effective water and agriculture planning. 

The project design – which includes artificial intelligence to support climate-informed planning, precision agriculture for efficient water use and applies the internet of things (IoT) concept for sharing and applying data – has been guided by Thailand 4.0, which aims to shift Thailand’s agriculture sector towards an innovation-driven and interconnected sector. 

At the same time, the project also supports low-tech interventions to help farmers respond to changing rainfall patterns.  These include on-farm ecosystem-based adaptation measures (for example, farm ponds), small-scale equipment to support water saving farming practices (for example, system for rice intensification) and community nurseries.  

Training will be provided to ensure that extension services can support farmers with adaptation measures, and the project will provide support to market access for products resulting from climate resilient practices.   

The project builds on existing initiatives, including work by the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives to enhance Thailand’s agriculture sector adaptation planning (supported by UNDP and FAO through a BMU funded project) and work by the Ministry to implement the Agricultural Strategic Plan on Climate Change 2017-2021 whereby the Royal Irrigation Department takes the lead for the Strategy 2 (Adaptation Actions). 

The Office of National Water Resources – which functions as the regulating agency in proposing policies, formulating master plan on water resources management, responsible for management and supervision as well as integration on the implementation plan of water related-agencies in accordance with the Water Resource Management Act (2018) – has developed the 20-year Master Plan on Water Management (2018-2037), aimed at solving Thailand’s chronic drought, flood and wastewater problems. The Master Plan also stresses the importance of the need to bring in new ideas and technologies to address water related challenges which are exacerbated by climate change.

Expected Key Results and Outputs: 

Output 1:  Enhance climate and risk informed planning in the water and agricultural sectors through improved climate information and cross sectoral coordination

Activity 1.1 Strengthen capacity to generate tailored climate information to inform water management and agriculture planning

Activity 1.2. Facilitate inter-ministerial coordination for climate-informed and integrated planning

Activity 1.3. Expand access to climate information for application at the household level

Output 2: Improve water management through strengthened infrastructure complemented by EbA measures, for greater resilience to climate change impacts

Activity 2.1.   Climate-informed engineering designs for the 13 schemes of the Yom-Nan river basin, and upgrade of 2 water infrastructure 

Activity 2.2.  Complementing of grey infrastructure with EbA measures and integration of EbA approaches into water management policy and planning

Output 3:  Reduce volatility of agriculture livelihoods in drought and flood prone areas through strengthened extension support and local planning, investment in on-farm adaptation measures and greater access to finance and markets

Activity 3.1. Application of climate information in household agriculture planning and strengthening related support through extension services

Activity 3.2.  Implementation of on-farm climate resilient measures to improve drought and flood resilience and improved access to finance for sustainable agriculture

Activity 3.3.  Capacity building for farmers to support market access for climate resilient agriculture products

Monitoring & Evaluation: 

UNDP will perform monitoring, evaluation and reporting throughout the reporting period, in compliance with the UNDP POPP, the UNDP Evaluation Policy.  

The primary responsibility for day-today project monitoring and implementation rests with the Project Manager.  UNDP’s Country Office will support the Project Manager as needed, including through annual supervision missions.

Key reports include annual performance reports (APR) for each year of project implementation; an independent mid-term review (MTR); and an independent terminal evaluation (TE) no later than three months prior to operational closure of the project.

The final project APR along with the terminal evaluation report and corresponding management response will serve as the final project report package and will be made available to the public on UNDP’s Evaluation Resource Centre.

The UNDP Country Office will retain all M&E records for this project for up to seven years after project financial closure in order to support ex-post evaluations.

Charles Yu
Regional Technical Advisor - Climate Change Adaptation
Climate-Related Hazards Addressed: 
Programme Meetings and Workshops: 

Inception workshop, 2022 TBC

Display Photo: 
Expected Key Results and Outputs (Summary): 

Output 1:  Enhance climate and risk informed planning in the water and agricultural sectors through improved climate information and cross sectoral coordination

Activity 1.1 Strengthen capacity to generate tailored climate information to inform water management and agriculture planning

Activity 1.2. Facilitate inter-ministerial coordination for climate-informed and integrated planning

Activity 1.3. Expand access to climate information for application at the household level

Output 2: Improve water management through strengthened infrastructure complemented by EbA measures, for greater resilience to climate change impacts

Activity 2.1.   Climate-informed engineering designs for the 13 schemes of the Yom-Nan river basin, and upgrade of 2 water infrastructure 

Activity 2.2.  Complementing of grey infrastructure with EbA measures and integration of EbA approaches into water management policy and planning

Output 3:  Reduce volatility of agriculture livelihoods in drought and flood prone areas through strengthened extension support and local planning, investment in on-farm adaptation measures and greater access to finance and markets

Activity 3.1. Application of climate information in household agriculture planning and strengthening related support through extension services

Activity 3.2.  Implementation of on-farm climate resilient measures to improve drought and flood resilience and improved access to finance for sustainable agriculture

Activity 3.3.  Capacity building for farmers to support market access for climate resilient agriculture products

Project Dates: 
2022 to 2027
October 2021
GCF Board Approval
SDG 1 - No Poverty
SDG 2 - Zero Hunger
SDG 5 - Gender Equality
SDG 8 - Decent Work and Economic Growth
SDG 9 - Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure
SDG 10 - Reduce Inequalities
SDG 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities
SDG 13 - Climate Action
SDG 15 - Life On Land
SDG 17 - Partnerships for the Goals

Enhancing climate resilience of rural communities and ecosystems in Ahuachapán Sur, El Salvador

The main project objective is reducing the vulnerability of communities and productive ecosystems in the Municipality of San Francisco Menendez to drought risk, soil erosion, and flash floods due to climate change and climate variability. The project will integrate forest landscape restoration as a climate change adaptation strategy targeted towards increasing forest cover, improving the hydrological cycle, increasing the amount of available water, and regulating surface and groundwater flows, while maintaining and improving water supply and quality. The project landscape approach will ensure that land degradation is reduced (or reversed) and that productivity is maintained and made resilient to climate change impact, thus contributing to better food security and community resilience. By ensuring and enabling institutional and governance environment, the project will generate coordinated and informed actors with the capacity to address appropriate adaptation measures in the medium and long term thus resulting in a genuine local resilience to climate change.

The project will meet its objective by restoring 3,865Ha of forest landscape within San Francisco Menendez, through a landscape-based ecosystem intervention that will focus on the restoration of critical landscapes and enhance its capacity to manage droughts, soil erosion and flash floods; promoting and implementing climate resilient and economically viable productive alternatives in the region that address the economic vulnerability being faced in the region as traditional agricultural systems have become less productive due to climate change; generating climate and hydrological information products in the region to identify and monitor the impact of climate change in the landscape and also the effectiveness of ecosystem based interventions in their management to improve local and national responses; and enhancing local capacity to take concerted action in addressing climate change impact, prioritizing adaptation interventions and mobilizing the financing necessary for their implementation.

Level of Intervention: 
POINT (-88.395996099475 13.433791341118)
Funding Source: 
Financing Amount: 
US$8.4 million
Project Details: 

National Background

  1. El Salvador has been identified by the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) as one of the countries with the highest sensitivity to climate change[1]. According to the Fifth Assessment Report of the IPCC, the country is characterized by a high exposure to geoclimatic threats, resulting from its location and topography, exacerbating climate change induced risk and vulnerability of human settlements and ecosystems[2]. The Global Climate Risk Index for the period between 1997 to 2016, covering both human and economic impacts, ranks El Salvador 16th in the world, emphasizing the country’s high vulnerability to extreme climate events[3]. There is ample evidence of climate change and variability affecting all sectors of society and economy, at different spatial and temporal scales, from intra-seasonal to long-term variability as a result of large-scale cyclical phenomena[4]. A study from The Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) found that between 1980 to 2008, an average of 1.5 natural disasters per year resulted in nearly 7,000 human casualties, affecting 2.9 million people, and costing US $470 million to the central government (amount that is equivalent to 4.2% of the Gross Domestic Product). The country of El Salvador spends an equivalent to 1.1% of its total GDP with dealing with climate change related impacts and infrastructure every year on average.


  1. El Salvador is the most densely populated country in Central America (342 people per km²) with a population of approximately 6.46 million inhabitants, of which 52.9% are women[5]. The country’s territory totals 21,040 km², with a rugged topography (50% of total land mass has slopes of over 15%), highly erodible soils and the lowest per capita availability of freshwater in Central America5. According to the measurement of compound poverty[6], 35.2% of the total Salvadoran households are poor, equivalent to 606,000 homes to approximately 2.6 million people. Similarly, the multidimensional poverty rate in rural areas is 58.5%, and 22.5% in urban areas. Thirty-eight percent of the country’s population resides in rural or non-urban areas, of which 20% are women[7]. In all the departments, other than one, over 50% of rural households are multidimensionally poor and as such are more vulnerable to the effects of climate change (Figure 1). Homes with this condition have the following deprivations: 37% food insecurity; 49% lack of access to drinking water; 83.7% no access to public health.


  1. Sixty percent of the national territory is devoted to agriculture, which is the main source of livelihood for the rural population in the country. About 36% of the total country territory is arable land, with corn as the main subsistence crop, followed by rice, beans, oilseeds, and sorghum, and with the cultivation of coffee and sugar cane as major cash crops The effects of climate change, as observed over recent years, have directly affected the productivity across the whole spectrum of the agricultural sector, with significant impacts on smallholder farming[8].  According to the last agricultural census, there are more than 325,000 producers of basic grains who work in land parcels of sizes ranging between 0.7-3 hectares. Not surprisingly, 52.4% of the farmers organize their agricultural activity in parcels averaging 0.7 hectares, with an average corn production of 1.427 kg/ha. This production may satisfy the immediate needs of a family household (requiring only 1,300 kg of corn per year), but is significantly lower than the national average production (2,575 kg/ha). Impact from extreme weather such as the tropical storm Mitch (1998) caused damages and total loss of US $388.1 million, with US $158.3 million (40.8% of the total) impacting the agricultural sector. The 2001, drought reported damages and loss for US $31.4 million and 81% for the farming industry. Hurricane Stan (2005) caused US $355.6 million in damages and loss, US $48.7 million and 13.7% of the total for the agricultural sector. The Tropical Depression Twelve-E (DT 12-E) in 2011 carried a price tag of US $306 million in damages and losses in the agricultural sector. Between 2014 and 2015, losses in agriculture, as a result of severe drought, costed the country more than US $140 million, with greater impact felt on subsistence crops (corn and beans), as well as in the dairy industry which lost more than 10% of its production. The sustained dry spell followed by high temperatures, has also caused severe damage to the health of human populations, to the broader agricultural sector, and the natural environment. Furthermore, the reduction or deficiency in rainfall over the period has also affected the availability and quality of superficial and underground water resources.


Extreme weather hazards and climate change in El Salvador

  1. El Salvador is currently impacted by the effects of climate variability and change, with highly variable rainfall patterns, both spatial and temporal, which is leading to an increase in the number of extreme climatic events (i.e. tropical cyclones, floods and droughts). Over time, El Salvador has passed from experiencing one event per decade in the sixties and seventies, two in the eighties, four in the nineties, to eight extreme events in the last decade. This shows a shift from previous decades, when extreme events hitting the country would originate mostly from the Atlantic Ocean, and had its first wave of impacts mitigated by the land mass of neighbouring countries. This is no longer the case, since the frequency and intensity of tropical cyclones originating from both the Atlantic and the Pacific Oceans has increased over the past two decades.


  1. Studies from the National Service of Territorial Studies (Servicio Nacional de Estudios Territoriales, SNET) reveal that at least 10% of the country is prone to floods, 20% percent is exposed to landslides, 50% is affected by drought. The poorest segments of the population are particularly hit by natural disasters, as they are more likely to live in hazardous parts of the territory, such as flood plains, river banks, steep slopes, and fragile buildings in densely populated zones.


  1. In 2014, the average accumulated rain for July ended as the lowest in the last 44 years[9] on record, and in 2015 the average accumulated rain during the rainy season was the lowest ever recorded, reaching only 63% of what should be expected given normal historic climate conditions (Figure 4). Extended drought periods in the country, have traditionally been followed by high temperatures, hindering progress and functioning of important sectors of the economy, including agriculture, health, water resources, and energy. According to the Food & Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), approximations from Central America’s main the prima harvest for 2015 showed a decline of 60% in the total maize harvest, and 80% in the total beans harvest due to drier than normal weather conditions.


  1. Consecutive dry years, in which the dry spells last for extended periods of time, have become more frequent due to climate change. This has had wide spread effect across different sectors, consequently increasing risk and vulnerability of populations in El Salvador. Most importantly, this causes reduction on the availability of food (also affecting its access and use), due to impacts on income and basic goods availability in certain regions of the country, with serious social and economic impacts in the long-term. Furthermore, extended drought periods in the region has made landscapes more susceptible to soil erosion, floods and landslides, especially in the advent of localized rainfall in excess. Droughts in El Salvador are also known for causing fluctuations in food prices, plant pests epidemic, animal disease propagation, financial and political instability.


National Climate Scenarios

  1. The climate change scenarios indicate that in the coming years, El Salvador will experience more intense, and more frequent, extreme events. According to the projected scenarios, the country will consistently face reductions in precipitation and constant increases in temperature (Figure 5). The National Climate Scenarios produced by the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources (MARN) show that over the course of this century, the average temperatures (maximum and minimum averages) will increase considerably, with the magnitude of the change being most marked for the period 2071-2100.


  1. Average and minimum temperature will shift considerably between the periods 2021-2050 and 2071-2100 under all climatic scenarios. This represent changes between 1 °C and 3 °C and up to 4.5 °C towards the end of the century. These projected changes in temperature for El Salvador, are most in line with the changes projected by the IPCC. Temperature increases of such magnitude, will have direct effect on the temperature of the Pacific coast. When breaking and zooming into the time series of projections, the data shows that, in the near future (between 2021-2030 and 2031-2041), all scenarios point out to shifts between 0.7 °C and 1.5 °C, which is higher than what its observed today. The last decade in the period under consideration, presents the greatest changes in temperature with values ​​between 1.5 °C and 2 °C in the country. These projections reveal that, in the future, 90% of the national territory will be subject to average temperature values above 27 °C.


  1. All scenarios point to a decrease in precipitation between 10% to 20%, across the country between 2021-2050, with some regions being expected to see a reduction above 20% (under a high emissions scenario). This would represent a reduction of no less than 200 mm per year in precipitation. Comparably, towards 2041-2050 the magnitude of rainfall reduction will remain on the mark between 10% to 20%, similar to the previous period. It is worth noting that projected changes between 2031-2040 can be attributed to already ongoing climate change and variability processes in El Salvador, and that these changes are within the scope of the IPCC projections for the region.


  1. The projected scenarios for the period between 2071-2100, show even more drastic changes in precipitation patterns in the country, with values ranging between 20 to 26% under the high emissions pathway. When looking at each decade in detail, for example, between 2071-2080 the changes represent a decrease of 15-25% in rainfall, under a low emissions scenario, followed by 20-25% reduction in rainfall under a high emissions scenario. By the same token, the decade of 2081-2090 will experience reductions between 20% to 30%, with even higher depletion of rainfall under the high emissions scenario. During the last decade of the 21st century between 2091-2100, the projected scenarios reveal a decrease in rainfall ranging between 20% -35% (low emissions scenario) when compared to current observed values. At the century approaches end, the scenarios reveal reduction in precipitation that are considerably more pronounced, intense and drastic if compared to the period between 2021-2050. This represents a reduction of 300 mm a year in precipitation in the country.


  1. These scenarios represent a complete range of alternative futures for climate in El Salvador. Taking into account the cascading effects that may accompany the climate change scenarios, the country’s economy, society and nature, finds itself having to deal with greater risk and effective occurrence of natural disasters. Not surprisingly, as a result of current climate variability and change, in the form of higher temperatures, reduced rainfall, erratic local, regional and global climate controls, the country is already and will continue to need to manage increased social, economic and environmental pressures across vastly degraded landscapes.


The South Ahuachapán landscape

  1. The South-Ahuachapán area, located in the department of Ahuachapán, includes the municipalities of San Francisco Menendez, Jujutla, Guaymango and San Pedro Puxtla (Figure 9), covering an area of 591.73 Km2, with a population of 98,016 people from which 51% are women, and with the majority of the population (77%) residing in rural areas[10].


  1. The MARN estimates the South-Ahuachapán as an area of high vulnerability to climate change. Considering its environmental and social characteristics at the landscape level, this part of the country finds itself highly susceptible to the destructive effects of climate variability together with lacking of necessary resources to adequately prepare, respond and recover from natural disasters. This region, contains a significant amount of the population exposed to frequent meteorological drought, while at the same time it is one of El Salvador’s main regions for the production of staple food items (basic grains), as well as other cash crops (sugarcane, coffee).


  1. According to the climate change scenarios produced by the MARN, climate variability and change in the region will become more and more evident. This will be reflected through significant increases in average temperatures, erratic rainfall patterns, and increased frequency and intensity of extreme weather events.
  2. Tree cover accounts for 68% of its total territorial area, distributed as 33% Forest, 29% Shaded coffee and 6% shrubs. Agricultural land accounts for 26% of total area, and it is used for the production of staple grains (maize and beans). The Landscape features strategic natural assets for the country, such as El Imposible National Park, the Apaneca-Ilamatepec Biosphere Reserve, and the RAMSAR site Barra de Santiago comprising an extraordinary biological diversity of ecosystems, species and genes, and their conservation deserve special attention. The primary ecological zones are the humid subtropical forest to the south, very moist subtropical forest, and humid subtropical forest.


  1. The area has a complex hydrographic network. Of the 11 hydrographic basins that drain the territory, four of the most important: the rivers La Paz, Banderas, Lempa and Grande in Sonsonate are part of this area. There are 32 rivers in the Barra de Santiago Basin - and the Sub-basins of Cara Sucia and Culiapa. Among the main rivers of the Cara Sucia Sub-basin are El Sacramento, Huiscoyol, El Corozo, Cara Sucia, Mistepe, the Izcanal, Maishtapula, and the Aguachapio rivers. Between the main rivers of the Cuilapa Sub-basin are the Guayapa, Cuilapa, El Naranjo, El Rosario, Cubis, San Antonio, Tihuicha and El Negro rivers. However, a Hydro Analysis of this area carried out in 2007, showed that domestic demand represented 7.41% of total demand, against an irrigation demand of 92.59%, with signs of over-exploitation of the resource in the lower parts of ​​the Cara Sucia Sub-watershed.         


  1. Since 1974, the Paz River has abandoned old drainages of the El Aguacate, La Danta and Río Seco channels, causing a process of desiccation and transformation of the wetlands and marshes, with an alteration of the salinity gradients, the reduction of the freshwater flows and the closure of the mangrove swamps of Garita Palmera. This leads to a high susceptibility to flooding in the southern part of the Department. The situation will be further aggravated by the climate change impacts projected to take place in what is already degraded land. Ineffective agricultural and livestock practices have led to high levels of contamination by agrochemicals, which, together with erosion, lead to a deterioration of mangroves with sedimentation and silting of channels, with loss of mangrove hydrodynamic regulation. This situation, threatens and affects artisanal and industrial fishing and local livelihoods. The lack of opportunities leads to migration and weakening of the social fabric in an already vulnerable part of the country.


  1. In this region, the mangroves in the lower basin of the river belong to the mangrove ecoregion of the Pacific dry coast (Olson et al., 2001), which extend in patches along the coastal zone of Guatemala and El Salvador. The mangroves and marshes dominate the coasts of estuaries in the coastal plain. The coastal wetlands of Garita Palmera and El Botoncillo are possibly the least known and certainly the most degraded on the coast of El Salvador (MARN - AECI, 2003), and the population that inhabits these ecosystems have livelihoods intimately related to their services. The current conditions of the mangroves in the lower basin of the river are a consequence of the high rate of deforestation and the change in land use throughout the basin, as well as alterations in its hydrological regime, such as decrease of annual flow, flow seasonal shifts, and significant decrease in water budget of River Paz, causing a reduction in the productivity of ecosystems and in their capacity to provide services and benefits to local communities (further contributing to flooding, increased runoff and soil loss).


  1. This region is important also for aquifer recharge, specifically for the recharge of the aquifer ESA-01, localized in alluvial materials in south Ahuachapán, in the municipalities of San Francisco Menendez, Jujutla and Acajutla.


  1. During the last eight years, this landscape has suffered the adverse impacts of extreme hydro-meteorological events, in some years it experienced Tropical Depressions and Hurricanes, and in other years it suffered meteorological drought with significant damages to infrastructure, agriculture and crops, functioning of ecosystems, and livelihoods. The loss of coverage and inadequate agricultural practices on slopes, have caused a decrease in water regulation capacities with increased runoff, which in turn led to a severe increase in soil erosion rates in the high and middle parts of the basins, an increased risk of landslides and floods; and a decrease in infiltration capacities and aquifer recharge with a decrease in the water supply for different uses. All this has been reflected in large damages to infrastructure and crop loss.


  1. The pressure exerted on the forest remnants of the highlands, riparian forests, secondary forests, agroforestry systems and mangroves has also increased the region’s vulnerability to climate change. The reduction of habitat, the loss of ecological connectivity and of critical ecosystem services (i.e. water provision, climate regulation) have caused a chain of processes and negative impacts that increase the vulnerability of this area in the face of more frequent events of heavy rainfall, and prolonged periods of drought. Thus, the loss of natural vegetation cover and the poor land use practices in agriculture, are leading to a continuous decrease in surface and ground water availability, excessive runoff, and a decrease in other water regulation ecosystem services, leading to a significant increase in soil erosion rates. A recent assessment of damages to the agricultural sector in Ahuachapán, pointed out that, due to an extended drought period, the average numbers observed for the harvest of corn and beans (June/July 2015) had a reduction of 94%.


  1. Degrading of natural ecosystems, with wide spread effects at the landscape level (including depletion of riparian forests and grasslands) threatens the provision of a wide range of ecosystem services to local communities in the South Ahuachapán. Long and short-term effects of degradation of these ecosystems include:
  1. increased soil erosion as a result of reduced vegetation cover;
  2. reduced infiltration of water in degraded watersheds and catchment areas, thereby resulting in reduced recharge of groundwater and an increased incidence of flooding; 


  1. Interventions in the are thus need to focus on helping the landscape to adapt and build resilience to the impacts of climate change, through the protection of the ecosystems and the rehabilitation and conservation of the mosaic of interdependent land uses thus enhancing the landscape’s capacity to manage extreme hydro-meteorological events as well as increased projected temperatures and erratic rainfall patterns. The goods and services generated by healthy or under restoration landscapes, have the potential to mitigate these threats by providing multiple benefits to local communities in the region of South-Ahuachapán, such as the provision of natural resources (food and water)  and regulatory functions, including flood mitigation, water filtration and waste decomposition.


Landscape approach to build resilience and adapt to climate change

  1. In 2012, El Salvador developed the National Environmental Policy to help regulate, manage, protect the country’s natural resources, and reverse environmental degradation, while reducing the country’s vulnerability to climate change, which feeds directly into the country’s plans on long-term economic growth and social progress outcomes. A key instrument of the National Environmental Policy is the National Program for the Restoration of Ecosystems and Landscapes (PREP), which is organized in three strategic areas: 1) Restoration, reforestation and inclusive conservation of critical ecosystems such as gallery forests, water recharge areas, slopes, mangroves and other forest ecosystems; 2) The restoration of degraded soils, through the forestation of agricultural systems, the adoption of resilient agroforestry systems and the development of sustainable and climate-resilient and biodiversity-friendly agriculture; 3) Synergistic development of physical infrastructure and natural infrastructure.  Forest landscape restoration is a key part of the country’s Nationally Determined Contribution, and the main strategy to contribute to climate change adaptation, by increasing productivity of landscapes, enhancing the resilience of forest ecosystems, landscapes, agroecosystems, watersheds, and forest‐dependent communities.


  1. The PREP comprises immediate and strategic activities, such as the conservation of forest remnants; the restoration of forest ecosystems and agroecosystems, recovering tree coverage in critical sites, working to rehabilitate the landscape; and the maintenance and increase of tree cover in critical areas, particularly in high altitude agroecosystems, and at the watershed level (to control water supply and flow, reducing runoff, landslides and floods). The application of techniques to reduce the speed of the water flow and to increase the capacity of the water retention in the upper sections of the basins and the high zones of the mountain ranges and the protection of the plant cover, have the potential to reduce erosion and the transport of sediment as well as floods. Consequently, it enables to reduce risks associated to extreme hydro-meteorological events. Furthermore, it is expected that the reforestation of the agricultural areas will improve the soil with an increase in organic matter and moisture retention, and therefore, increasing the resistance during water shortage and drought.


Identification of priority sites for EBA through restoration in South Ahuachapán 

  1. Information from the PREP was used o  update National Land Use Map, allowing for the identification of key the restoration sites of the country based on the following six criteria: soil conservation and food production; biodiversity and wildlife conservation; protection of ground water and adaptation to drought; adaptation to extreme events and protection against floods and storms; firewood supply and climate regulation.


  1. A particular focus was provided to key agroecosystems sites (these account for 60% of the national territory) with the potential land use/cover transitions[11] for restoration also being identified taking into account the different current uses of the soil to allow the recovery of prized ecosystems, through the restoration of their relevant environmental goods and services for adaptation. The potential areas for each transition type comprise a total of 1,001,405 hectares comprising eleven proposed transitions pointing to the high potential for restoration areas in South Ahuachapán.


  1. The analysis by MARN has allowed the project to identify the municipality of San Francisco Menendez located in the South Landscape of Ahuachapán, as the target intervention area for restoration investments. The municipality has a territory of 226.13 km2 and a total population of 42,062 of which 30,211 reside in rural areas. The identification of the Municipality of San Francisco Menendez as the area of intervention, was based on an exhaustive analysis of available time series of satellite remote sensing data, together with data and information collected by MARN in-situ.[12]


  1. To further characterize the imbalances observed in the region, coming as consequence of intense rainfall and longer dry periods, the prioritization exercise used data from the Monthly Climate and Climatic Water Balance for Global Terrestrial Surfaces Dataset (TerraClimate) to better understand the runoff patterns in San Francisco Menendez.[13] The analysis revealed an upward trend in surface runoff in San Francisco Menendez, starting in 2006 and progressing steadily,  affecting negatively agricultural activities and exacerbating the already damaging effects of extended periods of drought, scarce and localized rainfall patterns in the intervention area. The data and analysis revealed that the lower Rio Paz presents a remarkably consistent pattern of low precipitation and high temperatures over time. Such characteristics have been followed by an increase in the number of extreme whether events (such as heavy rainfall and droughts), leading to below average soil moisture, increased surface runoff, and soil loss. This has been pointed out by an increasing number of recent reports by MARN and international agencies such as USAID, FAO, GIZ, which have identified the Municipality of San Francisco Menendez (entirely located in the Central America Dry Corridor) as extremely susceptible to the Effects of CC. The impacts pointed out by MARN and international organizations working in the area, have been immediately felt in the form of changes in water flow patterns (in the Lower Rio Paz), higher than normal temperatures, erratic rainfall, and low fresh water input into the ocean. This has created an imbalance that will only be exacerbated by CC, affecting agriculture, the natural environment, as well as local livelihoods in the project intervention areas.


  1. In San Francisco Menendez, the land under exploitation is dominated by cultivation of crops (46%), followed by seasonal grasslands (30%) and permanent grasslands (15%). The local development plan for the municipality has identified 4,569 Ha of critical ecosystems for restoration by 2030 of which 1,569Ha are agroforestry systems, 2,000 Ha tropical forests and 1,000 Ha being mangrove systems. According to the 2007 Census in the agriculture and livestock sector, the land under exploitation is mainly owned by producers (75%) while 18% of land is leased (Figure 13). There are 80 cooperatives of small producers present in San Francisco Menendez, from those 16 are women led cooperatives.


  1. San Francisco Menendez municipality is part of the broader South Ahuachapán landscape that includes the municipalities of Jujutla, Guayamango and San Pedro Puxtla. These municipalities are administratively grouped together through the Association of Municipalities of Microregión Sur with the objective of establishing synergies for their development and for environmental management through concerted actions. Actions along these municipalities is also strategic as these also share access to the same aquifers (Figure 12) thus linking them, at a landscape, administrative and hydrological level. Population for this larger region is 98,016 (49,899 women) of which 75,515 people reside in rural areas.

[1] D. L. Hartmann, a. M. G. K. Tank, and M. Rusticucci, “IPCC Fifth Assessment Report, Climatie Change 2013: The Physical Science Basis,” Ipcc AR5, no. January 2014 (2013): 31–39,

[2] IPCC, “Climate Change, Adaptation, and Vulnerability,” Organization & Environment 24, no. March (2014): 1–44,

[3] Sönke Kreft and David Eckstein, “Global Climate Risk Index 2014,” Germanwatch, 2013, 28,

[4] (Cai et al., 2015; Harger, 1995; Neelin et al., 1998; Takahashi et al., 2011; Torrence and Webster, 1999; Wolter and Timlin, 2011)

[5] Ministry of Economy; General Directorate of Statistics and Census –DIGESTyC; El Salvador: 2014; Estimates and Trends of Municipal Population 2005-2025

[6] STPP and MINEC-DIGESTYC (2015). Multidimensional Measurement of poverty. El Salvador. San Salvador: Technical and Planning Secretariat of the Presidency and the Ministry of Economy, through the General Directorate of Statistics and Census.

Compound Poverty: Takes into account the essential areas for human development and well-being. A total of twenty indicators around five essential well-being dimensions: a) education; b) housing conditions; c) work and social security; d) health, basic services and food security; and e) quality of the habitat.

[7] STPP & MINEC-DIGESTYC, “Medición Multidimensional de La Pobreza. El Salvador.,” San Salvador: Secretaría Técnica y de Planificación de La Presidencia y Ministerio de Economía, a Través de La Dirección General de Estadística y Censos., 2015.

[8] Minerva Campos et al., “Estrategias de Adaptación Al Cambio Climático En Dos Comunidades Rurales de México y El Salvador,” Adaptation Strategies to Climate Change in Two Rural Communities in Mexico and El Salvador, no. 61 (2013): 329–49,

[9] For example, accumulated rainfall in the southeast area of the country was less than 10 mm, representing a 95% deficit from average rainfall

[10] Almanaque 262. State of human development in the municipalities of El Salvador, 2009.

[11] Defined as the non-linear land use change process associated with societal and biophysical system changes.

[12] The analysis was conducted using Google Earth Engine, allowing the production of wall-to-wall spatially explicit information at multiple spatial scales. The analysis included Climate models generated by both long-term climate predictions and historical interpolations of surface variables, including historical reanalysis data from NCEP/NCAR, gridded meteorological datasets such as the NLDAS-2, and GridMET, and climate model outputs like the University of Idaho MACAv2-METDATA and the NASA Earth Exchange’s Downscaled Climate Projections. The prioritization also included the analysis of spatially-explicit land surface variables over time, such as: Evapotranspiration/Latent Heat Flux product (8-day composite product produced at 500 meter pixel resolution), providing information on the hydrologic cycle, which has direct and significant influence on agriculture cycles in the region, as well as the amount of solar radiation, atmospheric vapor pressure, temperature, wind, and soil moisture available. The prioritization also included analysis of salinity anomalies using the Hybrid Coordinate Ocean Model, Water Temperature and Salinity (HYCOM) (Revealing that salinity has not been decreasing as result of local meteorological processes over the past several years). The analysis also included Long-Term drough Severity estimations using the Palmer Drought Severity Index (PDSI), which has been effective in effective in determining long-term drought in the intervention area. The PDSI data and analysis considers surface air temperature and a physical water balance models, taking into account the observed effects of increasingly warm temperatures, and high evapotranspiration, leading to systemic imbalances affecting local hydrological cycles (refer back to Figure 13).

[13] This dataset and analysis considers runoff as the excess of liquid water supply (precipitation) used by monthly Evapotranspiration and soil moisture recharge and is derived using a one-dimensional soil water balance model and it correlates well to measured streamflow from a number of watersheds globally.


Signature Programmes: 
Project Status: 
Display Photo: 
Expected Key Results and Outputs (Summary): 

Component 1. Ecosystem-based adaptation for enhanced resilience at a territorial level

Component 2. Alternative and adapted livelihoods identified and made viable for resilient livelihoods

Component 3. Regional Climate and Hydrological Monitoring for Enhanced Adaptation Planning

Component 4. Strengthening of inter-institutional coordination and local governance for landscape management in the face of climate variability and change




Project Dates: 
2021 to 2024
June 2021
Project Launch
SDG 2 - Zero Hunger
SDG 13 - Climate Action
SDG 15 - Life On Land

Advancing Climate Resilience of Water Sector in Bhutan (ACREWAS)

Bhutan is highly vulnerable to the adverse impacts of climate change. This landlocked least developed country has a fragile mountainous environment and is highly dependent on agriculture. Hydropower plays a significant role in the country’s economic development, placing increased challenges for the management and use of water. The country also faces increasing threats from climate hazards and extremes events such as flash floods, glacial lake outburst floods, windstorms, forest fires, landslides, and the drying-up of streams and rivulets.

As a result of climate change, summer months are predicted to become wetter and warmer while winter months are expected to be drier. These result in the abundant availability of water in warmer months but decreased accessibility during winter months. Despite being endowed with the highest per capita water availabilities, Bhutan suffers from chronic water shortages, and access to water is a key determinant of people’s vulnerability. Given the mountainous terrain, climate-induced hazards like flashfloods and dry spells during winter, are likely to deteriorate the quality and quantity of water required to meet hygiene and sanitation needs. Inability to meet the demand is likely to further accentuate the impacts of climate change on the local communities.  The COVID-19 pandemic reinforces the need for access to adequate and clean water for health as well as food and nutrition security.

In the face of water scarcity there are opportunities to enable adequate, clean, and assured water supply to the population and increase climate resilience for rural and urban communities. The Royal Government of Bhutan has prepared a water flagship programme to provide assured drinking and irrigation water for the country in the face of climate change.

The proposed “Advancing Climate Resilience of Water Sector in Bhutan (ACREWAS)” project will form a core part of the national plan to provide integrated water supply for four Dzongkhags (districts) in Bhutan that comprise the major parts of the upper catchments of the Punatsangchhu River Basin management unit. The project interventions will increase the climate resilience of rural and urban communities. Considering the spatial interlinkages and dependencies between land use, ecosystem health, and underlying causes of vulnerability to climate change, this approach will ensure that targeted catchment watersheds are managed to protect and restore their capacity to provide sustainable ecosystem services and bring about efficiency, effectiveness and climate resilience within the drinking and irrigation water infrastructure network. The project will support critical catchment protection by adopting climate-resilient watershed management principles. Such practices are anticipated to reduce threats from climate-induced hazards such as floods, landslides and dry spells, while at the same time improving the overall adaptive capacity of project beneficiaries. Additionally, these measures will also ensure that downstream climate-resilient infrastructure development works are managed in tandem with upstream initiatives.

Level of Intervention: 
POINT (90.560302667852 27.451739763379)
Primary Beneficiaries: 
34,029 direct beneficiaries, 38,660 ha of land managed for climate resilience
Financing Amount: 
US$8.9 million

Climate Resilient Irrigation Channels

In water-rich Bhutan, some communtiies are suffering chronic water shortages, with severe impacts on agricultural livelihoods. With a government-led project supported by UNDP and the Global Environment Facility, farmers now have ample water to irrigate their fields, and are seeing crop yields increase as a result. The new system - based on pressurized piped irrigation channels - is more efficient and easy to maintain, producing uninterrupted flow, and zero loss of water. 

Co-Financing Total: 
US$25.1 million
Project Details: 

Country profile

Bhutan is a small, landlocked country with an area of 38,394 km2 in the Eastern Himalayas located between China in the north and India in the south, east, and west. The dominant topographic features consist of the high Himalayas in the north with snowcapped peaks and alpine pastures; deep north-south valleys and hills created by fast-flowing rivers forming watersheds with temperate forests in the mid-range; and foothills alluvial plains with broad river valleys and sub-tropical forests in the southern part. With about 50% of the geographical area under slopes greater than 50% and about 52.45% of the land area lying above 2600 meters above mean sea level (RNR Statistics, 2019), Bhutan’s topography is almost entirely mountainous and rugged. The mountainous landscape also makes the delivery of infrastructure and services difficult and expensive. Due to its fragile mountainous ecosystem, the country is highly vulnerable to impacts of climate change and extreme weather events. The situation is further worsened by the country’s low adaptative capacity, poor economic status constrained by limited financial, technical, and human capacity.

It is one of the least populated countries in mainland Asia with a total population of 727,145 with a growth rate of 1.3% out of which 47.7% and 56.71% of the population under the age of 29 (PHCB, 2017). About70.77 % of the total land area is under forest cover and 51.44% of the total area is designated as protected areas comprising of national parks, four wildlife sanctuaries, a strict nature reserve, biological Corridors, and a botanical park (FRMD 2017). The Constitution of the Kingdom of Bhutan (2008) mandates 60% of the country to remain under forest cover for all times to come. Some of the rarest flora and fauna on earth flourish within its high forest cover and pristine environment supported by strong conservation efforts and a good network of Protected Areas. The country’s biodiversity includes 15 vulnerable, 20 endangered, and 13 critically endangered seed plants; 13 vulnerable, 11 endangered, and two critically endangered mammal species; 22 vulnerable, four endangered, and four critically endangered bird species; eight vulnerable and three endangered fish species; 11 vulnerable, five endangered and two critically endangered amphibians, and one vulnerable butterfly (MoAF, 2018).

Agriculture is a very important economic activity for Bhutan. The agriculture sector comprises of farming, livestock, and forestry which continues to be a major player in the country’s economy. With only 2.75% of the total land area used for agriculture, the sector accounted for 15.89% of GDP in 2018 and employs about 48.63% of the total economically active population. With the majority of the population relying on agriculture, the sector is highly vulnerable to climate change. Also, characterized by remoteness and inaccessibility, marketing and large-scale commercialization are significant challenges for Bhutan. About 56% of the economically active population engaged in agriculture are female rendering women more vulnerable to impacts of water shortages in agriculture (RNR Statistics, 2019). Hydropower and tourism are the other key economic drivers.

The proposed project will intervene in four Dzongkhags (districts) that form a major part of Punatsangchhu river basin, one of the five main river basin management units in Bhutan as well as the largest in terms of geographical area and among the most climate-vulnerable watersheds in the country. The project area covering 883,080 Hectares comprising 23  percent of the total land cover of Bhutan, and 22 percent of all water bodies in the country. The project area covers 16,693 hectares or 16 percent of cultivated area in Bhutan (Agriculture Statistics, 2019). The majority of the population within the project Dzongkhags are engaged in agriculture. Overall, the agriculture sector has engaged 47 percent of the total employed population in the project area comprising 67.71 percent of the female population and 34.34 percent of the male population. Other major sectors of employment include construction which engages 13 percent of the population and electricity/gas/water which engages 10.72 percent of the population. These two sectors employ only 2.5 percent of the female population and 19.4 percent and 15.7 percent of the male population respectively. Agriculture, the main sector of employment in the project area is dominated by women. The project areas have a total population of 97,254 comprising 45.5 percent females. The population of the project area constitutes 13.4 percent of the national population (PHCB, 2017). The Dzongkhags in the project areas include Gasa, Punakha, Wangduephodrang and Tsirang.

Gasa Dzongkhag is spread from elevations between 1,500 and 4,500 meters above sea level. The Dzongkhag experiences extremely long and hard winters and short summers. The Dzongkhag has four Gewogs namely Goenkhatoe, Goenkhamae, Laya and Lunana. The people of Laya and Lunana are mostly nomads. Over a hundred glacial lakes in the Dzongkhag feed some of the major river systems in the country, including the Phochhu and the Mochhu rivers which join further downstream to form the Punatsangchhu river basin. The whole Dzongkhag falls under the Jigme Dorji Wangchuck National Park. Dzongkhag is popular for its hot springs and series of other springs which are considered for their medicinal properties (Menchus). The region’s high altitude and extreme climate make it difficult to practice agriculture but livestock is a mainstay, particularly the rearing of yaks.

Punakha Dzongkhag is located south of Gasa and is bordered with Wangduephodrang to the east and south and is part of the Punatsangchhu river basin. The Dzongkhag has eleven gewogs, namely Baarp, Chhubu, Dzomi, Goenshari, Guma, Kabjisa, Lingmukha, Shengana, Talo, Toepisa and Toedwang ranging from 1100 - 2500 m above sea level. Punakha is well known for rice, vegetables and fruits.

Wangdue Phodrang is one of the largest dzongkhags in Bhutan and has fifteen Gewogs which are Athang, Bjena, Daga, Dangchu, Gangtey, Gasetshogom, Gasetshowom, Kazhi, Nahi, Nysho, Phangyuel, Phobjkha, Ruebisa, Sephu, and Thedsho. The Dzongkhag ranges from 800 - 5800 m above sea level and has varied climatic conditions ranging from subtropical forests in the south to cool and snowy regions in the north. The Dzongkhag forms parts of Wangchuck Centennial Park in the north, Jigme Dorji Wangchuck National Park in northwestern pockets, and Jigme Singye Wangchuck National Park in the southeastern end. One of the most notable sites in the district is Phobjikha Valley which is the habitat of the rare and endangered black-necked cranes during winters. The Gewogs of Phangyuel & Ruebisa are included as part of the project area.

Tsirang is noted for its gentle slopes and mild climates suitable  and well-known for agriculture as well as livestock products. It is one of the few dzongkhags without a protected area. The Dzongkhag has twelve gewogs which are Barshong, Dunglagang, Gosarling, Kikhorthang, Mendrelgang, Patshaling, Phuentenchu, Rangthaling, Semjong, Sergithang, Tsholingkhar and Tsirangtoe.

The problem

As a result of climate change, summer months are predicted to become wetter and warmer while winter months are expected to be drier (See para 13, 14, 15, 16, and 17). These result in abundant availability of water in warmer months but decreased accessibility due to flooding and erosions exacerbated by the hostile terrain (See para 18, 19, and 21) and scarce availability and accessibility of water in winter months due to drying of water sources (See para 18). Therefore, despite being endowed with the highest per capita water availabilities, Bhutan suffers from chronic water shortages as follows. Water is a key determinant of people’s vulnerability. Given the terrain climate-induced hazards like flashfloods, dry spells during winter, are likely to deteriorate the quality and quantity of water required to meet hygiene and sanitation needs. Inability to meet the demand is likely to further accentuate the impacts of climate change on the local communities.  The COVID-19 pandemic reinforces the need for access to adequate and clean water for health as well as food and nutrition security. Frequent handwashing is widely recommended by WHO to stop the spread of COVID-19. Reliable water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) facilities are essential to containing the spread of the virus.  The stocktaking for National Adaptation Plan (NAP) formulation process in Bhutan carried out in 2020 clearly recommends instituting indicators, among others, such as number of people permanently displaced from homes as a result of  floods, dry spell or other climate events, number of surface water areas/ springs subject to declining water quality/quantity due to extreme temperatures. In an agrarian and predominantly rural nature of the Bhutanese communities, inadequate access to water can further accentuate the vulnerability  to climate change. Climate-smart and resilient agriculture is particularly  dependent on adequate water. The project, by instituting and ensuring climate-resilient practices in the whole supply chain of water (sourcing, supply, maintenance, governance, and ownership), will address the current problems caused as results of climate change.

Drinking water shortages and Degrading water quality: A 2014 inventory of rural households carried out by the health ministry found that 17% of rural households (13,732) across the country faced drinking water problems and 18% of regular households (29,340) in Bhutan reported that the source of drinking water is unreliable[1]. According to the National Environment Commission’s 2018 Water Security Index, more than 77.5% of households in the urban areas of Thimphu have resorted to portable water supply as the taps are running dry. Most of the urban areas have access to only intermittent water supply. The duration of supply generally ranges from 4 to 12 hours daily. More than 46% of the urban population have 8 to 12 hours and 11% have less than 8 hours of water supply. According to the National Water Flagship Program, 58 rural communities comprising 751 households in the country have no water source, and 49 villages comprising 1,051 households have inadequate water source. These households depend on water harvested during rainy days. Dried up sources have also been reported in 29 communities, comprising 527 households where the Rural Water Supply Schemes have been implemented. Drying up of water sources is attributed to the extended period of the drier winter season with high evaporative demand. The Water Act of Bhutan, 2011 and as well as the Bhutan Water Policy, 2003 consider water for drinking and sanitation for human survival as the first order of priority in water allocation.

Water contamination is considered to occur at water sources due to seepage from agriculture and household effluents as well as due to lack of standard water treatment and quality assurance leading to poor water quality levels across the country, particularly in urban areas. As agriculture expands upstream, farm runoff could become a consideration for water quality downstream.

About 50% of the geographical area of Bhutan is under slopes greater than 50% (RNR Statistics, 2019). The predominant mountainous and rugged topographic features render the country highly vulnerable to climate change-induced disasters, mainly in the form of landslides, erosions, and siltation which also seriously impact on water availability and quality. Climate change, through erratic rainfall and flooding in steep slopes, exacerbates water quality as running streams and rivulets tend to become muddy affecting drinking water quality. A rapid assessment of rural drinking water quality in 2012 indicates that 17% of the stream water sources and 28% of the spring water sources are safe for consumption (RCDC, 2012). The test is conducted through the assessment of microbiological parameters. Domestic sewage and improper disposal of waste oil and other vehicle effluents from workshops located close to rivers are also a serious environmental concern, especially in places like Thimphu and Phuentsholing. While the use of pesticides and herbicides is also a potential source of water pollution, RGOB has a dedicated program on organic agriculture which is expected to address this in the long run while also improving agro-ecosystems. Further, the COVID-19 pandemic reinforces the need for access to adequate and clean water for health as well as food and nutrition security. Frequent handwash is widely recommended by WHO to stop the spread of COVID-19. Reliable WASH facilities are essential to containing the spread of the virus.

Irrigation water shortages: Of the 900 schemes surveyed at the national level, only 372 schemes have an abundance of water, 272 schemes got adequate irrigation water. About 27% of the total schemes suffer from either “inadequate” or “acute shortage” of irrigation water[2]. Assessment has shown that water shortages for agriculture, and hence even for drinking, is likely to become critical, as historical data clearly demonstrate that the evaporative demand of the atmosphere has been significantly increasing, decreasing the amount of rainfall available for growing crops during both in the months of December to February (DJF) and March to April (MAM). The assessment also shows that it will likely no longer be feasible to plant rice, a staple crop, without supplemental irrigation during DJF. The findings reinforce and validate the reported water shortages noted by farmers during the dry season. These climatic changes during the dry season are expected to continue and are consistent with climate change projections, reinforcing that it will become increasingly difficult for farmers to grow crops without suitable adaptation measures.

According to RNR Statistics (2019), of the 976 irrigation schemes across the nation, 88% are functional, 2% are semi-functional and 10% are non-functional. This is largely attributed to damage to the infrastructure due to landslides and flooding due to extreme weather events. A study in Punakha, Wangdue, Tzirang, Paro, Sarpang, and Samtse carried out from March-May in 2019 indicated that the most important consequence of climate change impacts on crop production was the drying of irrigation water sources[3]. The farming communities reported on experiencing significant frequency and severity of extreme weather events in the form of untimely rain and drought. The farmers in the study districts felt that the irrigation sources were affected the most as a consequence of climate change impacts. The study also documents data over last over the last 20 years (1996–2017) in the study area which shows a decreasing rainfall and an increase in temperature.

The COVID-19 pandemic

COVID-19 pandemic has affected Bhutan like any other country. The science-based response measures and early recognition of its impact have managed to contain without major health impact on the Bhutanese. However, the economic repercussion continues to be severe. For a country, that relies heavily on the importation of essential goods such as food items and fuels, prices have risen by manifolds. In particular, the COVID-19 pandemic has seriously constrained food imports. (Imported food accounts for 16.0 percent of total imported value amounting to Nu. 66.92 billion in the year 2017[4]). It disrupted  supply chains due to higher transport costs caused by the reduced volume of imports and establishment of additional safety protocols through supply chains. COVID-19 has also triggered reverse urban-rural migration, where urban dwellers have started to move to rural homesteads to pursue agriculture resulting in further pressure on irrigation water needs in rural agriculture areas. The pandemic reinforces the need for access to adequate and clean water for health as well as food and nutrition security. Frequent handwash is widely recommended by WHO to stop the spread of COVID-19. Reliable, WASH facilities are essential to containing the spread of the virus. Further, the challenge posed by the pandemic has underscored the need to build a resilient domestic and local agriculture system with a shorter supply chain, efficient water management and irrigation system, etc to adapt to the impending crisis of climate change.

The proposed alternative

In the face of water scarcity there are opportunities to enable adequate, clean, and assured water supply to the population and increase climate resilience of rural and urban communities. The RGOB has prepared a water flagship program to provide assured drinking and irrigation water for the country in the face of changing climate. This proposed intervention will form a core part of the national plan to provide integrated water supply for four Dzongkhags. The project interventions will enable adequate, clean, and assured water supply to the population of four Dzongkhags of Gasa, Punakha, Wangduephodrang (two gewogs of Phangyuel and Rupisa), and Tsirang. These four Dzongkhags from major parts of the upper catchments of Punatsangchhu river basin management unit. The project interventions will increase the climate resilience of rural and urban communities in these Dzongkhags. Considering the spatial interlinkages and dependencies between land use, ecosystem health, and underlying causes of vulnerability to climate change, this approach will ensure that targeted catchment watersheds are managed to protect and restore their capacity to provide sustainable ecosystem services and bring about efficiency and effectiveness and climate resilience of infrastructure network for drinking and irrigation water supplies. The Project will support critical catchment protection by adopting climate-resilient watershed management principles. Such practices are anticipated to reduce threats from climate-induced hazards such as floods, landslides, and dry spells and overall improvement of the adaptive capacity of the project beneficiaries. Additionally, these measures will also mean the downstream climate-resilient infrastructure development works are in tandem with upstream catchment protection.

[1] Population and Housing Census of Bhutan (PHCB), 2017

[2] Report on the National Irrigation Database and Canal Alignment Mapping, 2013,  DoA, MoAF.

[3] Ngawang Chhogyel,  Lalit Kumar and Yadunath Bajgai; Consequences of Climate Change Impacts and Incidences of Extreme Weather Events in Relation to Crop Production in Bhutan, Sustainability, 25 May 2020 (

[4] Imported food control in Bhutan, National Situational Report, FAO, 2019



Expected Key Results and Outputs: 

Outcome 1: Strengthened water governance, institutions, and financing mechanism in support of climate-resilient water management.

In order to address the issues related to institutional and governance structure on water resource management, services and its associated barriers, the project will aim to strengthen climate resilient water governance and coordination systems including the establishment of an agency for water utilities and one that will pursue integrated water sector development, management and provision of water related utility services. Based on an Institutional and analysis including feasibility assessment of the proposed national agency during PPG phase, the establishment of such an agency will be proposed with clear mandates, organizational structure and clarified linkages with the NECS, competent authorities and local governments.

Further, the component will also support institutional arrangements to enable establishment of River Basin Management Committees (RBMCs), Dzongkhag Water Management Committees (DWMCs) and Water User Associations (WUAs).

Through this, the project will support clarifying on policies, regulations & planning processes as well as on financing of operations of RBMCs and DWMCs as it relates to water sector planning, development and management, promoting community participation, monitoring and reporting and resolving cross-sectoral issues to fully embed climate risk considerations. The project support will include review of the Water Act of 2011 to incorporate the changes in the mandate and institutional setup within the water sector that will enable climate risk management policies and functions across mandated institutions. It will support integration of Key Results Areas (KRAs) for water security and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) based on national Integrated Water Resources Management Plan (IWRMP) in the national and local planning guidelines with appropriate responsibility and accountability frameworks so that NIWRMP and RBMPs can be mainstreamed into sectoral and local development plans. Through this, the project will support enabling appropriate institutions and clarify on policies, regulations & planning processes as well as on financing of operations of RBMCs and DWMCs as it relates to water sector development and management, promoting community participation, monitoring and reporting and resolving cross-sectoral and cross- administrative boundary issues.

The lack of capacity for climate-smart operation and maintenance of water supply systems, water conservation/efficiency technologies, and adoption of IWRM approaches have been bottlenecks in building resilience in the water sector. To overcome the barriers related to limited capacity on climate-resilient water/watershed management this component will support effective capacity for climate-resilient water and watershed management as well as for taking forward the concept of IWRM at various levels including institutional & community level capacity.

The project will also test and demonstrate financing instruments or models engaging private sector through PPP and PES to embed sustainability dimensions in watershed and water infrastructure management. To promote water conservation as an adaptation mechanism and reduce overconsumption and water, a water pricing policy will be supported.

The main deliverables under this outcome will include:

Support to the Government’s priority to establish an autonomous national government agency for water to provide access to adequate, safe, affordable and sustainable water for drinking, sanitation, waste water and irrigation services considering climate change impacts on hydrological systems. The agency will operate and function on a corporate mode and will sustain its operations on service fee/tariff on water utilities and services in the long term on Government budgetary support in the short term. The project support in this will include the design of the organizational setup and capacity building to ensure that the new agency has  organizational profile and human resources competency to consider climate change impacts on hydrological systems. Clear mandates, organizational structure and clarified linkages with the NECS, competent authorities and local governments for planning, development, coordination and management of water utilities and services. The water agency will be a corporate entity owned by the government, sustaining on government grant initially and on service fee/tariff on water utilities and services in the longer term. The Government contribution in this will include establishment of the agency and provide operational mandate, resources, and legitimacy.

Entities that represent the stakeholders to be engaged actively in the development of watershed management plans through RBCs, DWMCs and WUAs.

Adequate and gender-balanced human capacity and skills available for climate-resilient water resources and water management at central, local, community levels including the private sector.

A revised water act, water policy and regulations supported and policy environment for sustainable and climate-resilient water management

While climate change clearly impacts the supply-side affecting availability of water resources. Human demands for water also interact with climate change to exacerbate the pressures on the water supply. In order to rationalize water use and reduce the demand-side pressures on water, the project will promote water thrifting as an adaptation mechanism through a water pricing policy. The policy will consider better access to water, improved quality of water, reduce over consumption and reflect the actual cost of production including ecological costs. It will also consider appropriate pricing for rural households and lower-income households in urban areas.

Conducive environment for corporate and private sector engagement, enterprise development, and public-private partnerships demonstrated. Private sector participation in drinking water and irrigation management initiated in at least 4 water infrastructure operations and maintenance. Green Bhutan Corporation Limited (GBCL) engaged in plantation and agroforestry activities with support from the project establishing a modality for  GBCL to collaborate with the Druk Green Power Corporation (DGPC). Post project, the DGPC will support plantation activities of GBCL for watershed restorations.

Beneficiaries/users of ecosystem services pay to the provider of services contributing to sustainable watershed management and sustenance of ecosystem services. The project results will include establishment of PES schemes contributing to sustainable watershed management in water catchment areas.

Outcome 2: Vulnerable natural water catchments in the target river basin (Punatsangchu River Basin) restored, sustainably managed, protected and their ecosystem conditions improved.

This outcome will support participatory assessment, identification & declaration of critical water sheds/catchment areas/spring recharge areas. The project will support soil & water conservation interventions, bio-corridors/setbacks and wetlands/spring augmentation activities for water catchment /spring recharge areas including soil/moisture retaining agro-practices and climate-resilient crops in settlements near catchments. These interventions will aim to restore and improve ecosystem conditions of vulnerable natural water catchments.

Further, implementation of afforestation, reforestation and agroforestry interventions will improve forest and/or ground cover and enhance water infiltration in catchments. Overall, this component will address the problem related to drying up upstream water sources and reduced/erratic downstream water availability by improving the catchment watershed conditions and enabling sustainable and resilient watersheds yielding stable spring/stream flows.

 The main deliverables under this outcome will include:

Improved water security as and biodiversity/ecosystems safeguards with additional co-benefits in carbon sequestration and storage, improved soil fertility, biodiversity conservation, and improved community livelihoods. Catchment watersheds restored with vegetation to enhance infiltration, reduce run-off and peak flows, and stabilize slopes, soil fertility improved over 37,530 hectares of forest land/watersheds

Improved ecosystem conditions of 42 watershed areas as well as 147 spring sources to improve water availability and quality at source.

Local sites for nature-based solutions identified and at least 12 start-up enterprises on based solutions promoted to incentivize and enhance watershed conservation such as fodder development, catch and release fishing, water sports, tourism, hot stone bath, etc. These enterprises can operate as per the framework developed through the GEF ecotourism project and provide concessions for these nature-based enterprises (private sector) to participate in watershed management activities.

Outcome 3: Enhanced adaptive capacity of water infrastructure to climate-induced water shortages and quality deterioration through climate-proofing, private sector engagement, and technology deployment.

This outcome will address barriers related to inefficient and inadequate surface water storage and distribution, breakage and leakage of water pipelines and tank overflows, illegal tapping of waterlines and breakdown of pumps and blackout of electricity during summer, lack of standard water treatment and quality assurance in drinking water supply systems and water contamination are major issues leading to irrigation and drinking water shortages as well as poor water quality. The component will focus on establishment and demonstration of adequate climate-smart and efficient water infrastructure. The water tapping, storage, and distribution system under this component will integrate multi-purpose water storage and distribution to the extent possible. In order to improve monitoring of infrastructure failures for both volume and quality of water supplies, the project will support on boarding of new/improved technologies to be deployed so that vulnerability of the infrastructure to failures due to climate-induced hazards or through man-made disturbances on the system are detected and solutions provided in a timely manner. The project support under this component will include supporting startups to install and manage efficient technologies in the operation and management of the infrastructure. The collaboration with the DRIVE center of the InnoTech Department of the Druk Holding & Investments Ltd (DHI[1]) will be leveraged to promote private start-up enterprises with IT-based solutions for water management (See box below). Overall, the outcome through this output will enable efficient, adequate, and sustainable supply and distribution of water.

Flooding and erosion due to hostile terrain exacerbated by climate change in the form of landslides, erosions and siltation seriously impact on water availability and quality. For drinking water, the project will aim to improve water quality as affected by water pollution through flooding and siltation and enable meetin Bhutan Drinking Water Quality Standard, 2016 and WHO guidelines for drinking water quality.

 The main deliverables under this outcome will include:

Community resilience improved covering 2,567 households with access to adequate irrigation water and be able to bring about additional area of 559.9 Hectares of agriculture land under sustainable agriculture production.

Source of water supply would have extended beyond surface water to include ground water and rainwater enhancing resilience of water sources and human hygiene and sanitation improved covering 7,435 households with access to 24x7 drinking water of quality that meet Bhutan Drinking Water Quality Standard, 2016 and WHO guidelines for drinking water quality.

Outcome 4: Strengthened awareness and knowledge sharing mechanism established.

The limitations in public awareness on the impacts of climate change on water resources, communities and on overall on climate-resilient water/watershed management practices are a concern. To overcome the barriers related to limited awareness programs and lack of data on climate-resilient water/watershed management practices, the project support under this component will include documentation and sharing of knowledge and practices as well as effective capacity for climate-resilient water and watershed management. A Communication strategy developed and implemented on water conservation and sustainable management developed and implemented which will lead to publication of a State of the Basin Report (SOBR) for the Punatsangchu River Basin. This component will enable meeting the requirements of the National Environment Protection Act and the Water Act of Bhutan to regularly publish information on the environment, including periodic state of the environment reports and to provide access to water and watershed-related information. The publication of a State of the Basin report (SOBR) for the five river basins at the national level. The SOBR will include;

Overall situation of river basin in terms of its ecological health and the social and economic circumstances including water security index and impact of climate change on water sector in Bhutan

Highlight of key issues faced in establishment and functioning of  the agency for water utilities  at national level, River Basin Management Committees (RBMCs), Dzongkhag Water Management Committees (DWMCs) and Water User Associations (WUAs)

Establish gaps and needs for the development of relevant River Basin Management plans and its effective implementing.

[1] DHI is the commercial arm of the Royal Government of Bhutan established to hold and manage the existing and future investments of the Royal Government for the long-term benefit of the people of Bhutan. DHI, the largest and only government-owned holding company in Bhutan. Its InnoTech Department is responsible for strategizing technology and innovation pathways to enhance access and diffusion of the technologies across DHI. To address the national socio-economic challenges, the department is also undertaking applied and fundamental research and development in the field of science and technology to create ventures and start-ups, build national intellectual property and establish a platform for innovation, creativity and jobs for the next generation. The Department’s division called DHI Research and Innovation Venture Excellence Center (DRIVE), has  developed a prototype on IT based solution for water management. The PIF process has consulted with the management of the InnoTech Department based on which it has been agreed to test, validate and upscale the technology in the proposed project. Youth based enterprises can be engaged to on-board of this technology into the project area so that these youth-based enterprises can be engaged as private entities to handle the monitoring and providing advisory on maintenance of the infrastructure.



Jose Padilla
Regional Technical Advisor
UNDP Bhutan
Mr. Chimi Rinzin
Portfolio Manager
UNDP Bhutan
Mrs. Sonam Rabgye
Programme Analyst
Climate-Related Hazards Addressed: 
Display Photo: 
Expected Key Results and Outputs (Summary): 

Outcome 1: Strengthened water governance, institutions, and financing mechanism in support of climate-resilient water management.

Outcome 2: Vulnerable natural water catchments in the target river basin (Punatsangchu River Basin) restored, sustainably managed, protected and their ecosystem conditions improved.

Outcome 3: Enhanced adaptive capacity of water infrastructure to climate-induced water shortages and quality deterioration through climate-proofing, private sector engagement, and technology deployment.

Outcome 4: Strengthened awareness and knowledge sharing mechanism established.

Project Dates: 
2021 to 2026
June 2021
Project Approval
SDG 6 - Clean Water and Sanitation
SDG 12 - Responsible Consumption and Production
SDG 13 - Climate Action

Transformational Adaptation for Climate Resilience in Lake Chilwa Basin of Malawi (TRANSFORM)

Across Malawi, local communities are increasingly affected by climate change and variability. In recent decades, a range of climatic changes have been observed across the country, including a reduction in average annual precipitation, an increase in average annual temperatures of 0.9°C since 1960, delays in the onset of the rainfall season, a decrease in the length of the rainfall season, and a longer dry season. While the direct impacts of extreme climate events are well documented, other negative effects are more challenging to quantify. These additional impacts include an observed increase in outbreaks of pests and diseases since the 1970s, increasing levels of malnutrition, and warmer temperatures making it increasingly difficult for farmers to work outside during the day, thereby reducing their ability to produce food.

These climate change impacts are particularly severe in the Lake Chilwa Basin and its catchment districts of Zomba, Phalombe and Machinga. Listed as a Ramsar site in 1997, Lake Chilwa and its surrounding wetlands provide habitats for a wide diversity of bird, fish and other fauna and flora, and is accordingly an area of considerable conservation value. Lake Chilwa is also the second largest lake in Malawi and a source of livelihoods for approximately 1.5 million people who depend on the lake and its catchments for fish and other resources such as grass, reeds and non-timber forest products.

Vulnerability to climate change impacts in Malawi and particularly in the Lake Chilwa basin is driven by chronic poverty, food and nutrition insecurity, overdependence on natural resources, high exposure to climate hazards and risks, ineffective early warning and disaster risk reduction systems, inadequate climate shock preparedness, weak adaptive capacity of households to withstand recurrent shocks and stresses, limited economic opportunities, and inadequate provisioning of, and access to, social services.

The proposed 60-month “Transformational Adaptation for Climate Resilience in Lake Chilwa Basin of Malawi (TRANSFORM)” project will build on existing initiatives aimed at the sustainable and
equitable use of natural resources within the Lake Chilwa basin. This will be achieved with a shift away from natural resource degradation and limited livelihood opportunities towards large-scale implementation of ecosystem-based adaptation and widespread adoption of alternative livelihoods and value chains that build adaptive capacity while contributing to reducing the country’s greenhouse gas emissions. The lessons learned from the Lake Chilwa Basin will be upscaled across the country through policy and private sector models that create green jobs particularly among small-, medium- and micro-enterprises — thereby contributing to recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The main interventions of the project include: i) enhancing the capacity of communities and institutions to plan, implement and monitor ecosystem-based adaptation interventions; ii) improving small-scale producers’ access to lucrative markets for climate-resilient products and value chains through diversification of product/service offerings and alternative livelihoods, as well as through a sustainable climate finance facility; and iii) facilitating the adoption of alternative livelihoods. These interventions will see more robust and coordinated relationships between the private sector and small-scale producers, facilitated by concessional financing, improved infrastructure and technologies. This could include, inter alia, roads and transportation infrastructure, telecommunication infrastructure, and equipment such as cold storage facilities to reduce post-harvest losses of harvested commodities.

The Global Environment Facility Least Developed Countries Fund-financed project will be implemented by Malawi’s Ministry of Forestry and Natural Resources with support from UNDP. UNDP is providing US$2,000,000 in co-financing. 

Level of Intervention: 
POINT (35.512023861135 -15.315446057148)
Primary Beneficiaries: 
40,000 direct beneficiaries, 1.5 million indirect beneficiaries
Financing Amount: 
US$4.4 million
Co-Financing Total: 
US$21.4 million
Project Details: 

Country overview

In Malawi, local communities are increasingly affected by climate change and variability. In recent decades, a range of climatic changes have been observed across the country, including: i) a reduction in average annual precipitation; ii) an increase in average annual temperatures of 0.9°C since 1960; iii) delays in the onset of the rainfall season; and iv) a decrease in the length of the rainfall season, and a longer dry season. These increasingly erratic climate conditions are experienced by local communities across the country who have reported that rainfall has become increasingly unpredictable, and that the rainy season has become delayed, inconsistent and short[1]. The 2011–2012 rainy season, for example, was expected to start in October/November of 2011, but instead only started in December and ended in February 2012 (short of the expected end in April). Moreover, the rainfall of this season was erratic and interrupted by frequent dry spells, which had a notable impact of natural resource-based livelihoods, shortening the growing season and reducing crop productivity [2]. Across Malawi, shifts in rainfall contribute to an increased frequency and intensity of climatic hazards such as droughts and floods. Indeed, there has already been an observed increase in drought occurrences since the 1980s[3], severely impacting a large proportion of the country’s population. In a 2011 survey, 98% of farmers reported being affected by drought, and in 2016–17, approximately 6.5 million people (~40% of the country’s total population) were directly affected by the adverse impacts of drought — particularly through a decline in food security[4]. In addition to droughts, several significant floods have also occurred across the country in recent years, with considerable impacts on the livelihoods of vulnerable communities. For example, flooding events in January 2012 and January 2013 washed away large volumes of soil and deposited debris on agricultural fields. These events also resulted in the loss of life, and damages to public and private property, as well as crops (totalling ~US$73 million in damages). This led to knock-on effects for food security, and public health (due to an increased incidence of vector-borne diseases such as diarrhoea, cholera and malaria)[5].

In recent decades, the impacts of climate change have been intensified by the El Niño Southern Oscillation Cycle (ENSO). For example, in 2015, the most severe El Niño event in 35 years occurred, contributing to multiple droughts, as well as the country’s most damaging flood in 50 years. The recovery and reconstruction requirements of economic sectors affected by the 2015 floods totalled ~US$335 million (equivalent to ~5% of GDP at the time). Excluding housing, transport had the single largest financial need, at 32% of total recovery costs, followed by agriculture (16%), and water and sanitation (13%). The 2015 floods affected ~1.1 million people, displaced ~230,000 people and resulted in 106 deaths. Compounding the disaster, the onset of rains in 2015 was delayed by more than a month, which shortened the growing season and further impeded crop production and recovery in the years following the floods. This had a severely negative effect on the economy of Malawi because of its strong reliance on agriculture for economic growth and subsistence. Climate change is also increasing the frequency and intensity of tropical cyclones, which are intensifying such flooding. The most recent event in Malawi — Tropical Cyclone Idai — occurred in 2019, affecting approximately one million people[6],[7]. The cyclone caused floods that affected multiple districts across the country, which led to damages and losses totalling ~US$220 million. As a result, the Government of Malawi (GoM) had to spend ~US$370 million for recovery, reconstruction and rebuilding of resilience to disasters.

While the direct impacts of extreme climate events are well documented, other negative effects of climatic change in Malawi are more challenging to quantify. These additional impacts include: i) an observed increase in outbreaks of pests and diseases since the 1970s[8]; ii) increasing levels of malnutrition[9],[10]; and iii) warmer temperatures making it increasingly difficult for farmers to work outside during the day, thereby reducing their ability to produce food.

Given the adverse impacts of climate change on natural resources, the sustainable development of Malawi — and therefore the wellbeing of its population — is increasingly being compromised. This is reflected by the country’s low ranking (172 out of 189 countries) on the Human Development Index (HDI)[11] and high annual ranking on the Climate Change Vulnerability Index (CCVI)[12]. Malawi’s vulnerability to climate change is caused by interconnected climatic and non-climatic phenomena. For example, environmental degradation is occurring in combination with demographic pressures such as high population growth, causing an overreliance by communities on the natural resource base, and consequently further degradation, a decline in their livelihood productivity, and therefore deepening poverty. The worsening socio-economic situation for many vulnerable Malawians is occurring despite the country’s strong economic growth in recent years — particularly in its agriculture, energy, forestry, mining, industrial and services sectors. Many Malawians have not benefited from this economic growth because their livelihoods are primarily dependent on natural resources, which are being negatively impacted by the combination of environmental degradation and climate change.

Climate change and environmental degradation in the Lake Chilwa basin

Although climate change impacts are occurring across Malawi, they are particularly severe in the Lake Chilwa basin and its catchment districts of Zomba, Phalombe and Machinga — the target areas of the proposed project. Listed as a Ramsar site in 1997[13], Lake Chilwa and its surrounding wetlands provide habitats for a wide diversity of bird, fish and other fauna and flora, and is accordingly an area of considerable conservation value. Lake Chilwa is also the second largest lake in Malawi and a source of livelihoods for ~1.5 million people who depend on the lake and its catchments for inter alia fish and other resources such as grass, reeds and non-timber forest products (NTFPs)[14]. The primary livelihood strategies in the area involve agriculture and fishing, both of which are natural resource-based and strongly dependent on the flow of ecosystem services such as nutrient cycling and regulation of the hydrological cycle. This dependence exacerbates Lake Chilwa communities’ vulnerability to the impacts of climatic change[15]. Indeed, there is growing evidence of the adverse impacts of climate change on the lake’s aquatic and surrounding terrestrial ecosystems, resulting in a considerable decline in biodiversity, with knock-on effects on the provision of ecosystem services underpinning communities’ livelihoods.

Along with erratic rainfall — and the subsequent drought and flood impacts on communities and agricultural production described above — the primary impact of climate change in the Lake Chilwa basin over the past decades has been the general decline of the water level within the lake[16]. When the lake’s levels decrease, fish stocks can take several years to recover, which disrupts fishing communities' livelihoods for extended periods[17]. A large proportion of women living in the basin are particularly vulnerable to drying of the lake, as fish processing — which is dependent on reasonably priced fish stocks — is their primary income-generating activity. A decline in fish stocks increases competition between fisherfolk and consumers for the remaining fish, driving up prices and reducing women’s income potential from fish processing. In response to the unpredictability of Lake Chilwa’s water levels and productivity, communities have developed diversified, mobile, and often unsustainable livelihoods — including charcoal production, which contribute to deforestation in catchment areas.

While Lake Chilwa has dried completely nine times in the last century (the last time in 2018), its capacity to recover from these events is decreasing[18]. Although refilling of Lake Chilwa can occur in as little as one year — such as in the 2014–2015 rainfall season — it normally takes approximately two to three years to refill[19]. However, this refilling of the lake is contingent upon the adequate infiltration of groundwater in its forested catchment areas, and the effective recovery of fish stocks depends on the management of remnant pools in the perennial rivers and streams that feed into the lake[20].

The above mentioned environmental degradation compromising Lake Chilwa’s water levels and fish stocks include: i) deforestation; ii) degradation of wetlands — particularly when the receding water level exposes land on the lake’s shores to crop and livestock production; iii) reduced flow of rivers; and iv) soil erosion which causes siltation of watercourses[21]. These phenomena have had a considerable impact on agriculture in the Lake Chilwa basin, with a general decline in productivity and production recorded in both the crop and livestock sectors in recent years. Agricultural decline — in conjunction with the lake's drying — is also contributing to a rapid decrease in the productivity of fisheries. This results from the growing inability of communities to produce adequate amounts of food from agriculture in areas surrounding the lake, which leads to the intensification of unsustainable land-use practices, and further degradation of the terrestrial environment. The consequent decline in crop yields causes an overdependence of local communities on fish from the lake and increases competition for other aquatic resources. For example, there has been an observed increase in the clearing of reeds in riparian and coastal areas of Lake Chilwa — which are critical fish spawning habitats[22] — further impacting the replenishment of fish stocks. Since the 1970s, catches in the lake have decreased considerably, from ~15,000 tonnes/yr to ~5,000 tonnes in 2014[23].

The slow recovery of fish stocks in recent years has also occurred in conjunction with an increase in the use of illegal fishing gear such as mosquito nets. The use of such indiscriminate equipment causes juvenile fish to be captured along with adults, thereby preventing juveniles from reaching maturity and therefore the size at which the maximum sustainable yield (MSY) would be obtained from the stock. While previous initiatives, such as the GEF-funded project entitled ‘Malawi-climate resilient and sustainable capture fisheries, aquaculture development and watershed management’ have included the establishment of community organisations — such as Beach Village Committees (BVCs) — to enforce regulation of natural resource use on the lake, these have had limited human resource and technical capacity to be effective.

Fish catches in Lake Chilwa comprise a large percentage of the total amount of fish caught within Malawi (~14% in 2003[24]). In addition, a large proportion of agricultural produce is sourced from the lake’s catchment areas. For example, 50% of the rice produced in Malawi is grown in the Lake Chilwa basin. As a result, the decreasing productivity of agriculture and fisheries in the area is causing a rapid decline in food security both in the districts surrounding Lake Chilwa, and across Malawi[25]. This subsequent food insecurity will be exacerbated by further reduced water levels in the lake under future climate change scenarios. Climate projections under both RCP4.5 and RCP8.5 indicate further increases in average annual temperatures across the country, with mean annual surface air temperatures expected to rise by 1.1–3°C by 2060, and 1.5–5°C by 2090[26]. Additionally, despite an anticipated increase in total annual rainfall volume, the number of rainfall events is expected to decrease, but with considerable increases in the intensity of each episode and prolonged dry spells between episodes[27]. The frequency of droughts and floods is therefore expected to increase which will heighten the vulnerability of Malawi lake fisheries.

The water temperatures of lakes in Africa, including Lake Chilwa, are evidently also increasing. The full range of impacts of climate change on tropical lakes, however, are not well understood. Some research has indicated that the warming of the deep African rift lake, Lake Tanganyika, has reduced the cycling of nutrients from its depths as well as primary production in the water[28]. In the Lake Chilwa basin specifically, results obtained from the IPCC Fifth Annual Report General Circulation Models (GCMs) under RCP4.5 and 8.5 suggest that water temperatures will increase by an average of 2.6–4.7°C, with carbon dioxide levels in the lake expected to double by the year 2075[29]. These warming water temperatures combined with the abovementioned fluctuating water levels already present in lake Chilwa, will exacerbate threats to the lake’s productivity[30]. Under current climate change conditions, there is already a significant risk of ecosystem collapse in Lake Chilwa — particularly as a result of declining fish resources[31]. This not only exacerbates competition in fisheries as mentioned above, but also conflicts between traditional fisherfolk and newcomers to the area such as farmers who take up fishing. Climate change, therefore, will not only result in reduced fish stocks but also disrupt community relations, increasing the vulnerability of both subsistence farmers and fisherfolk[32].

Root causes

Vulnerability to climate change impacts in Malawi and particularly in the Lake Chilwa basin is driven by inter alia: i) chronic poverty; ii) food and nutrition insecurity; iii) overdependence on natural resources; iv) high exposure to climate hazards and risks; vi) ineffective early warning and disaster risk reduction systems; vii) inadequate climate shock preparedness and weak adaptive capacity of households to withstand recurrent shocks and stresses; viii) limited economic opportunities; and ix) inadequate provisioning of, and access to, social services. The combination of these factors makes the implementation of climate change policy frameworks in Malawi challenging. For example, limited production by the country’s energy supplier — Electricity Generation Company Malawi Limited (Egenco) — has resulted in an increased demand for alternative energy sources. Howeveer, as 86% of the country’s population are reliant on subsistence agriculture and fishing for their livelihoods they have limited financial capacity to source alternative, energy-efficient technologies for, inter alia, cooking and heating. To meet this demand, forest resources are used intensively for fuel wood and charcoal production, supplying both rural areas and urban centres. This, in turn, places pressure on forest and wetland ecosystems, leading to catchment degradation. At the national level, limited financial capital available for the GoM results in insufficient budgetary allocation for climate-adaptive technologies. This financial constraint is exacerbated by extreme climate events that result in severe damages and losses to infrastructure, exposing the GoM to cycles of debt and short-term, reactive spending. As a result, the GoM is severely constrained in terms of allocating funds for climate change adaptation at a local level. Local-level adaptation is further hindered by constrained technical and institutional capacity for the implementation of policies from central government to district councils.

Chronic poverty remains the most severe challenge to improving climate resilience in the Lake Chilwa basin, as it exacerbates several of the other drivers of vulnerability. Because food security and household income are strongly affected by natural resource use and availability, they are major determinants of poverty. Food insecurity is also compounded by poverty because of the need for poor households to engage in livelihood strategies that adversely impact the natural environment. For example, the degradation of terrestrial ecosystems in the Lake Chilwa basin is causing a decline in livelihood productivity as well as a reduction in food security in the region. The decline in livelihood productivity and the continuation of inefficient livelihood strategies are exacerbated by existing development challenges in the Lake Chilwa basin, including inadequate infrastructure and poor linkages to lucrative value chains.

Within the basin, investment in the development of infrastructure — such as rural feeder roads, agro-processing facilities, agricultural technologies, storage facilities and improved markets — is necessary. The challenges around infrastructure are further intensified by high population density (at ~321 people per km2) in areas surrounding the lake, which is among the highest in Malawi. This population density, coupled with rapid population growth and decreasing livelihood productivity in terrestrial landscapes, is causing overcrowding in fishing villages around the lake, placing greater pressure on the aquatic resources within the lake. Moreover, the growing population is increasing the need for products derived from wetland and riparian areas adjacent to the lake. For example, the harvesting of reeds and other plant materials by local communities has contributed to environmental degradation, resulting in siltation of the lake, biodiversity loss and a decrease in fish habitats and spawning sites. The degradation of terrestrial and aquatic resources in the lake basin, in combination with climate change impacts, is resulting in several other challenges for local communities. Examples include: i) an increase in the occurrence of livestock diseases as a result of the degradation of terrestrial ecosystems in conjunction with rising temperatures; and ii) a rising incidence of diseases such as cholera.

Long-term preferred solution

To date, investments in adaptation in Malawi, including in the Lake Chilwa basin, have been largely once-off and sector-specific. The project’s long-term preferred solution to reduce vulnerability to climate change is consequently a sustainable, cross-sectoral transformation of the overarching development trajectory of the Lake Chilwa basin. This should be achieved by a shift away from natural resource degradation and limited livelihood opportunities towards large-scale implementation of EbA and widespread adoption of alternative livelihoods and value chains that build adaptive capacity while contributing to reducing the country’s greenhouse gas emissions. This solution will also see the lessons learned from the Lake Chilwa basin upscaled across the country through policy and private sector models that create green jobs particularly among small, medium and micro enterprises — thereby contributing to recovery from Covid-19 economic damages. The main interventions for achieving the preferred solution in the basin will include: i) enhancing the capacity of communities and institutions to plan, implement and monitor EbA interventions; ii) improving small-scale producers’ access to lucrative markets for climate-resilient products and value chains through diversification of product/service offerings and alternative livelihoods, as well as through a sustainable climate finance facility; and iii) facilitating the adoption of alternative livelihoods. These interventions will see more robust and coordinated relationships between the private sector and small-scale producers, facilitated by concessional financing, improved infrastructure and technologies. This could include, inter alia, roads and transportation infrastructure, telecommunication infrastructure, and equipment such as cold storage facilities to reduce post-harvest losses of harvested commodities. The legal formalisation of institutions and the roles of stakeholders in climate change adaptation and capacity-building processes will also emerge from these interventions.

To achieve the preferred solution, producers and enterprises in the Lake Chilwa basin need to be connected to local and regional markets through the development of climate-resilient technologies and infrastructure based on local knowledge and innovations, as well as improved information sharing around these innovations. For example, improving agro-processing as a value-adding activity for raw fish and agricultural produce would reduce post-harvest losses and enable higher quality products to be sold to lucrative markets through appropriate value chains, while also reducing GHG emissions. Creating effective knowledge-management information platforms targeting value-adding processes, in addition to highlighting the potential for private partnerships in these processes, would support their effective and sustainable uptake. Moreover, the preferred solution will strengthen the development pathway in the Lake Chilwa basin to focus on the most vulnerable communities — particularly women and other marginalised groups such as the youth. The abovementioned infrastructural interventions will be necessary to ensure producers in the basin are able to engage effectively with commercial entities and appropriate value chains. Specifically, small-scale producers in the region require adequate storage facilities, refrigeration equipment and processing machinery such as solar dryers. Additionally, information networks and partnerships are required to enhance collaboration between communities with potential for value chain enhancement and the commercial entities with which market linkages can be established.

A primary feature of the preferred solution would be that communities in the area are able to implement Ecosystem-based Adaptation (EbA) interventions and better manage the natural resource base on which they depend. This would include reducing the overexploitation of natural resources and restoring ecological infrastructure within forests, riparian areas and wetlands. These interventions would ensure the continued delivery of ecosystem goods and services which would, together with diversified livelihoods and value-addition services, enable vulnerable communities to build their resilience to climate change. Aside from the post-harvest storage and processing interventions already mentioned, communities’ livelihoods will be advanced under the long-term preferred solution through alternative options such as mushroom cultivation, and beekeeping. Widespread adoption of these livelihoods would greatly improve the capacity of vulnerable communities to adapt to the current and projected impacts of climate change, in addition to recovering from the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

[1] Jørstad, H. and Webersik, C., 2016. Vulnerability to climate change and adaptation strategies of local communities in Malawi: Experiences of women fish processing groups in the Lake Chilwa Basin.

[2] Ibid.

[3] UNFCCC. 2006. Malawi NAPA. Available at:

[4] Jeggle, T. and Boggero, M., 2018. Post-disaster needs assessment: Lessons from a decade of experience. World Bank.

[5] Ibid.

[6]Government of Malawi (2019) Malawi 2019 Floods Post Disaster Needs Assessment Report. Available at:

[7]Government of Malawi (2018) Natonal Resilience Strategy 2018–2030. Available at:

[8] Jørstad, H. and Webersik, C., 2016. Vulnerability to climate change and adaptation strategies of local communities in Malawi: Experiences of women fish processing groups in the Lake Chilwa Basin.

[10] Jørstad, H. and Webersik, C., 2016. Vulnerability to climate change and adaptation strategies of local communities in Malawi: Experiences of women fish processing groups in the Lake Chilwa Basin.

[14] Njaya, F et al. (2011) ‘The natural history and fisheries ecology of Lake Chilwa, southern Malawi’. Journal of Great Lakes Research 37 (2011) pg. 15–25. DOI: 10.1016/j.jglr.2010.09.008. Available at:

[15] Kafumbata, D., Jamu, D. and Chiotha, S., 2014. Riparian ecosystem resilience and livelihood strategies under test: lessons from Lake Chilwa in Malawi and other lakes in Africa. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences369(1639), p.20130052.

[16] Jørstad, H. and Webersik, C., 2016. Vulnerability to climate change and adaptation strategies of local communities in Malawi: Experiences of women fish processing groups in the Lake Chilwa Basin.

[17] Ibid.

[18] Ibid.

[19] Ibid.

[20] Ibid.

[21] Ibid.

[22] Kafumbata, D., Jamu, D. and Chiotha, S., 2014. Riparian ecosystem resilience and livelihood strategies under test: lessons from Lake Chilwa in Malawi and other lakes in Africa. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences369(1639), p.20130052.

[23] Kafumbata, D et al. (2014) ‘Riparian ecosystem resilience and livelihood strategies under test: lessons from Lake Chilwa in Malawi and other lakes in Africa’. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B 369: 20130052.

[25] Maloya, H., 2001. Community-Based Natural Resources Management - the case of Lake Chilwa Wetland, Malawi. Available at:

[26] Republic of Malawi. 2011. The Second National Communication of the Republic of Malawi to the Conference of the Parties (COP) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Available at:

[27] Ibid.

[28] Thiery, W., et al. 2015. The Impact of the African Great Lakes on the Regional Climate. J. Climate, 28.

[29] Republic of Malawi. 2011. The Second National Communication of the Republic of Malawi to the Conference of the Parties (COP) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Available at:

[30] Thiery, W., et al. 2015. The Impact of the African Great Lakes on the Regional Climate. J. Climate, 28.

[32] Ibid.


Expected Key Results and Outputs: 

Component 1: Enhancing cross-sectoral technical capacity for climate change adaptation in Malawi

Under Component 1, the preparatory and institutional environment required for gender-sensitive climate change adaptation planning, implementation, monitoring and financing will be developed. This will be done by strengthening the capacity of community-level institutions to plan for Ecosystem-based Adaptation (EbA) in the Lake Chilwa basin area, and to develop the enabling environment for these actions under Components 2 and 3 of the project. Through the decentralisation of governance for climate change adaptation and environmental sustainability, district councils are responsible for identifying risks and responding to the climate crisis by using appropriate adaptation interventions. The additional resources from LDCF will enable the TRANSFORM project to support district councils to integrate climate change adaptation (including monitoring interventions and impacts) into their district development planning and budgeting. This will subsequently allow for the creation of effective systems to supporting communities in identifying and implementing community-based adaptation initiatives. The proposed project will also ensure that the relevant community- and district-level institutions obtain the required technical and operational capacity to coordinate responses across the district, as well as sustain innovations and infrastructure investments made during project implementation in the long term. These interventions will be implemented in a gender-sensitive manner, with equitable benefits provided to women and youth.

Outcome 1: Strengthened capacity of community-level institutions and non-state actors to plan, implement and monitor Ecosystem-based Adaptation (EbA).

Output 1.1. An EbA Plan — with an integrated management framework — that identifies climate change vulnerability and ecosystem degradation hotspots, developed for each target district through direct engagement of community stakeholders (including women and the youth).

Under this output, participatory cross-sectoral EbA plans — with a specific focus on women and youth — will be developed for each of the three target districts. These long-term plans will build on short- to medium-term plans developed during the PPG phase, with on-the-ground interventions as detailed within the plans finalised and rolled out during implementation. This will include the identification of climate change vulnerability and ecosystem degradation hotspots which will be targeted for the implementation of interventions under Outcome 2 of the project. In addition, a Community-Based Resilience Analysis (CoBRA) will be used to identify priority adaptation actions for each of the identified hotspots in line with national priorities and strategies such as the National Forest Landscape Restoration Strategy (NFLRS). The EbA plans will also include an integrated cross-sectoral management framework to ensure alignment between the individual EbA plan of each target district, as well as existing district planning frameworks, to ensure the effective implementation of EbA across the Lake Chilwa basin. Moreover, these EbA plans will use lessons learned from and build upon similar plans for natural resource management developed under the GEF-funded project entitled Malawi-climate resilient and sustainable capture fisheries, aquaculture development and watershed management project. These plans will strongly focus on improving the sustainability of fisheries in Malawi’s lakes through improved community-led and climate-smart catchment management. This will ensure complementarity with baseline investments in Malawian fisheries, while avoiding duplication of interventions. Moreover, in line with the transformative nature of the proposed project, the EbA plans under this output will draw on those from the previous GEF project to scale up EbA across the entire basin, and deliver community-wide benefits that ultimately have a major socio-economic and environmental impact across the entire area.

In preparation for the development of the EbA plans described above, district- and community-level institutions — particularly youth and women’s groups — will be trained to plan, implement and monitor EbA plans. This will improve the technical capacity of these institutions to enhance community resilience in a gender-sensitive manner. The scope of the training will include: i) interpretation of climate information and projections, as well as the expected impacts; ii) identifying feasible adaptation approaches to address the impacts of climate change with a focus on EbA; iii) planning the identified adaptation approaches in the local context; iv) overseeing the implementation of adaptation approaches at the district and community levels; and v) monitoring of interventions after implementation. Accordingly, the capacity-building activities will comprise education, information and awareness-raising sessions for priority institutions on the importance of EbA, as well as its relevance to reducing the vulnerability of these institutions. In addition, technical training workshops will be hosted in each district to subsequently enhance the technical capacity of these institutions to plan, monitor and implement EbA — building on the knowledge and understanding augmented by the educational sessions.

This individual and institutional capacity building will ensure the retention of institutional knowledge on EbA within the Lake Chilwa basin, and in turn, reduce the impacts of high staff turnover, that may threaten the sustained use of EbA. The retention of institutional knowledge will also be supported by the knowledge-management hub created under Output 3.5. The capacity-building training will focus on the natural resources within and around the lake and wetlands in the basin, with a specific emphasis on ecosystem services and long-term benefits of, for example, sustainable fishing practices. Training will be provided on the impacts of climate change on natural resources within the lake and surrounding ecosystems, the management and monitoring of these resources, as well as monitoring of climatic and non-climatic impacts to the natural resource base. This training will be supplemented by education on the provisioning of ecosystem services and how to maintain them not only for the benefit of livelihoods but also to reduce the risk of climate hazards on communities.

Output 1.2. Framework Investment Plan for sustainable climate-resilient livelihoods and value chains developed for each target district, in line with the EbA plans developed under Output 1.1.

Under this output, a climate-resilient Framework Investment Plan (FIP) will be developed for private sector investment catalysed under Component 3. Specifically, these FIPs will be operationalised using financial resources mobilised through a newly established Sustainable Climate Financing Facility (SCFF) under Output 3.1. Output 1.2 will include establishing partnerships between smallholder farmers and micro-, small- and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs), to enable stronger engagement between communities and the private sector in the Lake Chilwa basin. The development of the FIP will be undertaken in a gender-sensitive manner and will include assessments on different investment opportunities, as well as the strengths and weaknesses of different markets. Currently, vulnerable communities are not adequately engaging with lucrative value chains because of the limited availability of established networks and business relationships for connecting private sector investors to local-level producers. The FIP will catalyse a shift towards a scenario where improved linkages between these entities are established. Output 1.3 will include the identification of potential target areas for investment, as well as MSMEs that can be selected for technical support under Output 3.2, to enhance the climate resilience and environmental sustainability of their operations. Precedents have already been established in Malawi for the use of investment plans and funds towards climate change adaptation. For example, at a national level the National Climate Change Investment Plan was operationalised in 2014 to ensure that there is increased and coordinated investment in climate change[1]. In addition, the Strategic Programme for Climate Resilience (2017) includes potential entry points for investment and a framework for attracting financial resources from the private sector, international finance institutions (such as the GEF), national resources, and other financing windows[2]. These strategies and plans will inform the design of the FIP under Output 1.2, ensuring they build on previous gains towards attracting external investment for increased climate resilience of livelihoods in Malawi.

Along with upscaling previous programmes, plans and initiatives, the proposed project will result in novel outcomes to ensure a transformative shift in concessional funding for enterprise development in the region. Specifically, transformation will be achieved through additional measures such as only allocating funds to MSMEs with enhanced technical capacity and financial literacy (developed under the proposed project) and therefore increased climate resilience. This will ensure the sustainability of business operations for selected ventures, thereby increasing the likelihood of success of their expansion/diversification activities as well as the impact that the concessional funding will have. Novel features of the FIP that will transform this output from a business-as-usual approach will be: i) financial literacy training (which has not been formally conducted in Malawi before); ii) planning for allocation of funds across a wide range of subsectors and business activities; iii) dedication of funds specifically for the adoption of innovative and energy-efficient technologies; iv) accelerated application processes for ventures with demonstrable skills and knowledge of adaptation options; and v) dedicated allocation of a considerable proportion of funds for women and youth-run enterprises.

Component 2: Implementation of EbA and sustainable climate-resilient livelihoods

Vulnerable communities in the Lake Chilwa basin strongly depend on ecosystem goods and services to support their livelihoods. The TRANSFORM project will complement the National Forest Landscape Restoration Strategy to protect and strengthen ecosystem health for the sustained flow of goods and services to local communities. Component 2 will enable the implementation of EbA plans developed under Component 1, in line with national priorities and strategies. In addition, Component 2 will include the development of a community-based ecosystem monitoring and reporting (M&R) system — leveraging support from extension services — which will ensure the sustainability and scalability of EbA interventions. Using an integrated, cross-sectoral approach, the project will also facilitate the implementation of viable, community-based adaptation practices which include alternative livelihoods, climate-resilient agricultural practices, and small-scale, nature-based businesses. Such activities will be undertaken by resource-poor members of the community, the majority of which are women and the youth. The community-based adaptation practices supported by the project will therefore specifically benefit these vulnerable community members, drawing on best practices and lessons learned from Adapt Plan’s promotion of diversified livelihoods, such as the processing and selling of NTFPs. In addition to upscaling the Adapt Plan project, the proposed GEF project will introduce new and alternative livelihood options to ensure a transformative shift away from unsustainable land-use practices. Novel to the proposed project will also be the enhanced capacity to maintain these livelihoods, through participatory community-based monitoring of natural resources.

Outcome 2. Reduced vulnerability of communities in target districts to climate change through the implementation of EbA interventions and the introduction of sustainable climate-resilient livelihoods.

Output 2.1. EbA interventions, such as catchment restoration, soil conservation techniques and water-efficient technologies, implemented in vulnerability hotspots.

Under Output 2.1, Ecosystem-based Adaptation (EbA) interventions such as the restoration of riparian areas, wetlands, and catchments will be implemented in a gender-sensitive manner. This will improve the flow of ecosystem services — including regulation of the hydrological cycle, soil conservation and erosion control — thereby building the climate resilience of communities surrounding the Lake Chilwa basin. Specific EbA-related activities to be implemented in each target district will be identified and costed during the PPG phase. As a co-benefit, EbA interventions will help to alleviate some of the primary drivers of environmental degradation in the region, such as deforestation caused by unsustainable charcoal production, which contribute to an overreliance of households on resources within the lake and surrounding areas. In particular, the negative impacts on fish stocks (linked to the decreasing productivity of surrounding agricultural areas) will be reduced. Additional EbA measures to reduce the dependence of local communities on the use of wood for charcoal production will include the introduction of processing technologies for fuel-efficient briquette production using agricultural waste products, such as rice husks. This will reduce the dependence on forest ecosystem resources as well as pressure placed on the wider natural resource base in the target area. To facilitate this shift, briquette-making communities will receive assistance from relevant, upskilled institutions, in particular on the construction of appropriate infrastructure such as beds for drying of agricultural waste. In addition, access to inputs such as water will be subsidised, highly concessional, or provided at a reasonable cost, thereby promoting fuel briquettes as a productive commercial sector. Further research will also be conducted to assess the potential supply of a wide range of biomass materials and quality of varieties of fuel briquettes. Increased demand for briquettes among communities will be achieved through marketing efforts and value-adding activities such as packaging, labelling and awareness-raising on the benefits of fuel-efficient briquettes.

Additional interventions that supplement EbA activities to increase water-use efficiency and improve the supply of water in the region, will include inter alia: i) household water harvesting systems and post-harvest storage[3]; ii) the adoption of improved irrigation technologies (for example drip irrigation systems); iii) the stabilisation of riverbanks using green infrastructure to reduce erosion; and iv) a shift to agroforestry systems. Agroforestry will improve agricultural productivity, and ecosystem service provisioning, including soil conservation and erosion control regulation of the hydrological cycle — for example, through improvements in the quality and quantity of water resources in the region as a result of increased infiltration. Agroforestry-related activities under this output will build on interventions previously implemented under other projects, such as the GEF-funded project titled Malawi-climate resilient and sustainable capture fisheries, aquaculture development and watershed management project. These agroforestry and conservation farming practices will be implemented across 3,000 ha of agricultural areas. Under the proposed project, the land area under agroforestry systems will be expanded to include additional communities. This will contribute to increasing the area in the Lake Chilwa basin under improved management practices and extend the reach of direct and indirect adaptation benefits to more people in the Lake Chilwa basin. Moreover, novel agroforestry systems will be introduced to encompass a wide range of communities and ecosystems ensuring the unique needs of each target community are met and that their natural resources are appropriately managed.

Output 2.2. Community-based ecosystem Monitoring and Reporting (M&R) system established in each target district to support enhanced natural resource management and compliance with environmental regulations.

Under this output, an M&R system will be established in support of an integrated approach to the maintenance of ecosystem health, ensuring inter alia: i) effective environmental management; ii) compliance with relevant regulations; and iii) eventual self-regulation of communities surrounding Lake Chilwa. This will complement the EbA plans to be developed under Output 1.1, providing the means for not only supporting enhanced natural resource management, but also for establishing an evidence base from which EbA plans may be iteratively revised and refined to inform further action. The establishment of the M&R will include a comprehensive valuation of ecosystem services in the project area, informing the baseline upon which M&R will be undertaken, and to determine the contribution of the proposed project’s interventions over time.

The M&R system established under this output will be designed and operationalised in line with local and district planning frameworks to build on and improve previously established systems for monitoring natural resources and reporting on their overexploitation or unsustainable use. For example, communities will be trained on the importance of monitoring degradation or threats to the target areas’ natural resource base (such as the use of illegal fishing nets), as well as how to measure and report these threats to the relevant authorities. In addition, communities will also work towards ensuring that sustainable land-practices continue beyond the project’s lifespan to maintain benefits associated with adaptation interventions. Communities will be fully engaged in monitoring natural resources and ecosystem threats, as by understanding the associated benefits of adaptation they will be more invested in ensuring long-term sustainability of project interventions. Such community engagement in M&R will discourage perpetuating a ‘tragedy of the commons’ situation as community members will be reluctant to continue unsustainable practices if aware of being monitored and potential penalties for non-compliance. Not only will this apply to lake and wetland resources, but forest ecosystems as well, with individuals less likely to engage in charcoal production and other activities that degrade the landscape. This approach will be facilitated in particular by beach village committees (BVCs), who will assist with training alongside extension services.

BVCs — first established under the GEF-funded project entitled Malawi-climate resilient and sustainable capture fisheries, aquaculture development and watershed management project — will be used to operationalise the M&R system. These committees were selected because they possess the appropriate skills and knowledge, such as an understanding of the applicable environmental laws and regulations, for effective management of lake resources. The proposed project will in so doing align with previous investments working on enhanced compliance, thereby promoting the sustainability of interventions under both projects. In addition, this output will augment the achievements of previous projects by extending M&R responsibilities beyond BVCs to include community institutions around protected areas. This will be facilitated by the implementation of monitoring systems that are strongly technology-oriented and community-based. For example, the use of GIS-enabled incident-recording/reporting devices and unmanned arial vehicles (UAVs), such as drones, will provide information not only to communities for natural-resource management, but also to potential entrepreneurs and investors. The training will be delivered to enhance the technical and human resource capacity of communities surrounding Lake Chilwa for enforcement of relevant laws and regulations, as well as M&R. While the M&R systems will be designed for each individual district, knowledge-sharing and collaboration will be encouraged between districts through the knowledge management hub established under Component 3 of the proposed project. This will be done by ensuring that the information generated through M&R will be fed into the hub, and that provision is made for effective sharing of this knowledge between districts.

To provide comprehensive support to the community-based M&R systems, a training-of-trainers approach will be used to incorporate knowledge-management and -sharing into the proposed project by providing operational and technical support to extension services. This will be to allow extension service officers to transfer knowledge and expertise to BVCs, and other stakeholders operating within the M&R system, to ensure effective, on-the-ground implementation and maintenance of the system. During the lifetime of the project this training system will allow local communities to monitor the success of proposed interventions (for example, seedling survival rates for restoration efforts), as well as report on stakeholder engagement and other targets established to determine the success of the project. In addition, community members will be trained on reporting on the attendance of training sessions by various groups, as well as on whether gender-related targets are being met. This support will enable M&R efforts to extend beyond the project lifespan, ensuring the sustainability of interventions.

Output 2.3. Sustainable climate-resilient livelihoods implemented in target communities through the provision of training (including at least 50% women), provision of start-up inputs (such as beekeeping equipment) as well as the development of partnerships with local suppliers and value chain service providers (through technical advisory services).

Under Output 2.3, support will be provided to relevant stakeholders to enable vulnerable communities — particularly women and youth — to shift from unsustainable, climate-vulnerable livelihoods and income streams, such as charcoal production, to a situation where the adoption of climate-resilient livelihoods is a feasible and readily-available option. This will occur through, inter alia, the upscaling of existing initiatives for the production and sale of NTFPs — including mushroom cultivation and products derived from beekeeping enterprises — as well as the development of fishery and agricultural value chains. Specifically, the mechanism used to achieve the shift towards sustainable climate resilient livelihoods will include three stages across the development period. First, during the PPG phase of the project, information will be gathered on forest, wetland and lake users and resource use, extent of different ecosystems, the condition of natural resources in the ecosystems, and forest-based livelihood opportunities. The second stage will involve negotiation of ecosystem management plans and agreements (including rights and responsibilities of community-, district- and government-level institutions), and securing formal legal structures for these agreements. Finally, empowered communities will implement their management plans and uphold any legal agreements, with full local and national government support. During the PPG phase, appropriate alternative, climate-resilient livelihoods that align with the EbA action plans developed under Output 1.1. and are suitable for adoption by local communities will be identified using Community-Based Resilience Analysis (CoBRA). In addition, to ensure equitable and gender-responsive efforts towards the adoption of alternative livelihoods, local communities in target districts (including at least 50% women) will also be trained on sustainable climate-resilient livelihoods, with a focus on the implementation, maintenance and monitoring of EbA interventions, therefore complementing Outputs 2.1 and 2.2. This will build upon and expand the introduction of alternative and complementary rural livelihoods under a previous GEF-funded project[4]. While this project focused solely on aquaculture-based livelihoods, the proposed TRANSFORM project will introduce and implement a wider variety of livelihoods, including beekeeping and mushroom farming. In addition, the proposed project will be implemented in communities that the previous GEF-funded project did not focus on. This will result in the provision of alternative livelihoods to the entire population of the basin. To further support livelihood security of vulnerable communities in the target area, rural-urban business linkages will be established. This will facilitate aggregation by enhancing the ability of MSMEs and other enterprises to access district and city markets by inter alia ensuring harvested commodities meet market standards.

To support the implementation and uptake of sustainable climate-resilient livelihoods in the Lake Chilwa basin, inputs will be provided to local communities who require improved equipment and infrastructure. This will take the form of ‘starter kits’ for the establishment of NTFP-centred businesses, and will include goods, materials and equipment such as beehives and protective beekeeping equipment, or mushroom-growing kits. These starter kits will enable communities to smoothly transition to alternative, climate-resilient livelihoods. Moreover, improved farming technologies, processing equipment and infrastructure to prevent post-harvest losses — which have been identified as barriers to enhancing the livelihood resilience in the target area — will be supplied. In addition, support will be provided to transfer appropriate knowledge and skills that will facilitate the establishment of partnerships between or across local communities, the private sector, government institutions and agricultural and fishery organisations. By establishing and strengthening connections between these entities, a collaborative environment will be fostered which will contribute to sustainably enhancing livelihood and climate-resilience across value chains and economic sectors — as opposed to limiting the uptake of climate-resilient livelihoods to unsustainable handouts from donors.

To increase the likelihood of success regarding the uptake of sustainable climate-resilient livelihoods, local communities will be trained on their adoption. By increasing the awareness and familiarity of the additional livelihoods, as well as the associated techniques and skills, local communities will develop confidence in the uptake and maintenance of those livelihoods. This will facilitate the effective and efficient transition away from current unsustainable fishing, farming and land-use practices. To complement this training on livelihoods, awareness will be raised surrounding climate change hazards, risks and impacts to better develop local communities’ understanding of the need for adaptation and the adoption of sustainable, climate-resilient livelihoods and technologies.

Component 3: Enhancing market linkages for private sector investment in adaptation options and climate-resilient enterprises

Component 3 of the proposed project will ensure the sustainability and replicability of interventions implemented under Component 1 and Component 2 by catalysing private sector investment in climate-resilient enterprises. These investments will lead to the upscaling of EbA and alternative livelihoods across the Lake Chilwa basin and the rest of Malawi. To achieve this, the proposed project under Component 3 will design and operationalise a sustainable funding facility, strengthen linkages between market actors across value chains, and share information between market actors through a market information hub. As a multifaceted approach will be adopted, beneficiaries will extend beyond formally registered businesses to include both artisanal producers as well as aspiring young and/or female entrepreneurs. These interventions will be complemented by the establishment of a knowledge management hub, which will enable the sharing of information between stakeholders to inform the development of similar projects in the Basin. Whereas the market information hub will benefit entrepreneurs and MSMEs, the knowledge management hub will primarily be used by local and national level decision makers when exploring potential development options for enhanced climate resilience. In so doing, the upscaling of previous investments in the project area and across Malawi will be promoted in a locally appropriate and context-specific manner. Details on these interventions are presented below.

Outcome 3. Enhanced private sector investment in and strengthened market linkages for sustainable, climate-resilient enterprises to provide communities with alternative sources of income.

Output 3.1 A sustainable climate finance facility established to stimulate private sector investment for MSMEs, with a new CCA funding window opened under the MICF, provision of technical assistance and strengthening of the microfinance industry, for innovation in climate-resilient livelihoods, enterprises and technologies.

Under this output, access to finance for building climate-resilient livelihoods and businesses will be enhanced for MSMEs, farmers and fisherfolk in the Lake Chilwa basin. This enhanced access to finance will be achieved by establishing a new adaptation finance facility, by providing technical training and support, and by facilitating access to microfinance. Details on each of these sub-components of this output are provided below. The baseline upon which the project will build includes existing credit lines provided by funds, commercial banks and microfinance institutions. The additional and innovative interventions to be implemented by the proposed project include: establishing funding windows and financial products dedicated to climate change adaptation investments; training a wide range of stakeholders to access the credit lines and to climate-proof their business operations and value chains; and establishing community-based credit and saving associations to facilitate access to microfinance for artisanal farmers and fisherfolk with negligible collateral to implement adaptation interventions.

Finance facility. A new facility — the Sustainable Climate Finance Facility (SCFF) — will be established to enable private sector investors to invest in innovative, climate-resilient livelihoods, enterprises and value chains. GEF resources will be used to establish the facility and provide technical support for its management, but will not be used to capitalise it. The capital will be sourced from the private sector (in accordance with climate-resilient Framework Investment Plans (FIP) developed under Output 1.3), and in particular through the existing and well-established Malawi Innovation Challenge Fund (MICF) that is managed by UNDP. A dedicated window within the MICF will be created for climate change adaptation and for assisting in the capitalisation of the SCFF. While the MICF has already successfully launched and closed other funding windows — most recently for tourism — the SCFF will be focussed on the Lake Chilwa basin and will therefore be the first geographically targeted window under the MICF. This geographically targeted funding window will serve as a model for financing similar projects in the future. It should be noted that the MICF will only serve as the initial platform upon which the SCFF will be established, and that the SCFF will be upscaled nationally under the National Climate Change Fund (NCCF), which is currently under development. The vision of the GoM is that the operationalisation of the SCFF will be achieved under the MICF, but that the facility will be transferred to the newly established NCCF. The NCCF is envisioned to be financed through carbon levies collected by the GoM which have been earmarked for environmental actions, as outlined in the Environmental Management Act of 2017. Funds collected through these levies will be ring-fenced for these actions — including those aimed at improved climate resilience — which will ensure institutional permanence in the environmental sector. Currently, the NCCF is not yet fully operational, as further work on its governance arrangement and technical capacity for undertaking its work is required. Therefore, the MICF, which has a fully functioning institutional structure and comprehensive technical capacity, will be a more suitable platform for the initial stages of setting up the SCFF, until the NCCF has been fully operationalised. This arrangement will ensure the effective transfer of technical and institutional capacity from the MICF to the NCCF.

For the capitalisation of the SCFF through the funding window established under the MICF, the private sector in Malawi will be directly approached to assist in through, for example, socially responsible investment products within the banking sector. Such products include socially responsible mutual funds. If there is insufficient capital raised within Malawi, international banks and investors focussing on ethical investment strategies will be approached to invest in these products offered by the Malawian banks.

Based on extensive consultations during the PIF preparation it has been identified that there is considerable interest within the international community for investments that assist in uplifting poor communities in addition to providing nature-based solutions to climate change. However, given the limited technical and institutional capacity among local communities for engaging in high-value markets, such investments remain high risk. Consequently, there remains a need to de-risk investments into uplifting communities by increasing their knowledge of and skills for value-addition in agriculture and fisheries, as well as by improving their awareness of the impacts of climate change, and increasing social accountability in natural resource use. It is consequently envisaged that there will be a strong demand for well-structured, socially responsible investment products from Malawi. Such products would include a strong focus on gender and social safeguards. Local Malawian banks will benefit from the sale of these types of investment products, not only through the commissions earned on the products, but also because it will contribute to their corporate social responsibility objectives. The proposed project will assist the Malawian banks in developing the products in an appropriate manner for attracting local and international investors, and then in managing the products and disbursing loans to eligible stakeholders in the Lake Chilwa basin.      

Technical training and support. The project will provide technical training and support — through, for example, workshops, training events and continuous technical advisory services — to the MICF, SCFF, MSMEs, artisans, farmers, and fisherfolk. This wide range of stakeholders is necessary to ensure that the funding mechanisms function effectively and that local communities will be in a position to use these mechanisms to finance their climate-resilient livelihoods.

The training for the MICF and SCFF will focus on climate change adaptation and investment opportunities for building climate resilience in the Lake Chilwa basin, but also Malawi as a whole. In this way, the project will support the upscaling of the MICF’s activities country-wide[5].

Training for MSMEs, artisans, farmers and fisherfolk in the project’s target districts (with a strong focus on women and youth) will be tailor-made for their individual needs in a particular district and will include topics such as: climate change; financial literacy; business operations, including basic accounting; opening of bank accounts; accessing micro-finance through organisations such as community-based village banks and saving associations; accessing commercial bank loans; compliance with legal requirements; registering of companies; reporting on the performance of their operations to funders; management of natural resources under climate change conditions; reducing post-harvest losses despite climate change conditions; meeting quality standards developed by buyers such as supermarkets and restaurants; diversifying products under climate change conditions; accessing new and higher value markets; and attracting investors. This training will be complemented by the partnerships established between local communities, extension services, CBOs, farmers, buyers and private sector enterprises under Output 3.2. Through the above-described training and these partnerships, a wide range of investments for MICF, SCFF, commercial banks and micro-finance institutions will be derisked.

Access to microfinance. Community-based credit and saving associations will be established by the project where local communities are supportive of such an intervention. Such associations have been demonstrated to be highly effective in similar rural settings in Kenya, where models known as the ‘village banking model’ and ‘self-help group bank’ have been adopted. The advantages of these associations include the following: little or no collateral is necessary to take out a loan, as the group as a whole provides the guarantee for each individual’s loan; records on returns on investment and performance of individual members are filed and can be used by individuals or MSMEs for accessing more traditional sources of credit through commercial banks; and records from the associations can be used to show private sector investors the impacts of their investments at a granular scale. In the past, the functionality of community-based credit and saving associations would have been compromised in rural areas because of difficulties in accessing banks. Today, however, remote mobile banking services are offered in Malawi through services such as Airtel Money or M-Pesa[6]. Because these banking service providers use SMS’s to operate, it can provide village bank members with access to banking services, despite having no internet access or being in remote locations.

Examples of activities to build climate resilience in the Lake Chilwa basin that could be financed by the MICF, the SCFF or community-based credit and saving associations include: cold storage facilities to reduce post-harvest loss from fish catches under increasing temperatures; kilns used for the production of energy-efficient briquettes; beekeeping equipment, including processing machinery to derive multiple products from hives; mushroom-growing kits; and water-saving irrigation systems such as drip irrigation or micro-sprayers. These activities will not be considered in isolation, but rather analysed in relation to the value chains within which they are situated. The project will provide technical advisory services to assist the above funds and associations in ensuring that appropriate investments are made across entire value chains to prevent breaks in these chains having detrimental effects on businesses and operations situated elsewhere in the chains.

An important component of the training of MSMEs, artisans, farmers, and fisherfolk within the project will be to highlight how the long-term benefits from enhanced access to finance, the implementation of new technologies and improved efficiency of their operations will only accrue if there is sustainable management of their natural resources under climate change conditions. Through this training the project will ensure that the private sector in the basin understands that that natural resources underpin their businesses and livelihoods and that these natural resources are currently under threat from over-harvesting and climate change impacts. In so doing, the project will facilitate a shift in societal mindset so that private and public sector organisations and local communities work together to harvest the natural resources in the basin sustainably and seek to build the climate resilience of the various ecosystems present in the basin. This collaborative work will be undertaken in Output 1.1 and 2.1 through the development and implementation of participatory EbA plans with integrated management frameworks.

Output 3.2. Partnerships established between communities, extension services, CBOs, farmers, buyers and private sector enterprises, including through the development of a market information hub and introduction of technologies that will increase access to, and strengthen, high-value markets.

Building on Output 3.1, networks will be created to further encourage collaboration between and within all links in agricultural and fishery value chains. These networks will be developed in a gender-sensitive manner and will comprise partnerships that connect inter alia private sector entities, public institutions, small-scale producers and extension services, thereby enhancing interaction between currently siloed business operations within the Lake Chilwa basin. Partnerships will be fostered particularly through the establishment of information hubs, which facilitate knowledge transfer and provide networking opportunities. The hubs will promote the uptake of improved technologies, the accessing of support services (under Output 3.1) and other activities to enhance the investment potential of MSMEs and small-scale producers in the target area. This will in part be achieved by raising awareness on the potential economic and social development gains from increasing access of climate-resilient enterprises and alternative livelihoods to high value markets.

Output 3.3. Knowledge management hub established to enable documentation and dissemination of best practices generated under the project.

Under this output, knowledge-management and -sharing will be enabled through the collection and dissemination of best practices and lessons learned elucidated under the proposed GEF project. This will take the form of, inter alia, a knowledge-management hub that will gather, record and archive the successes and areas for improvement with regards to project interventions. As a result, communities within and between districts will be able to share information on enhancing the climate-resilience of alternative livelihoods, as well as advice on how to improve both the financial viability and environmental sustainability of their business ventures. In addition, an annual event will be hosted by the hub, bringing together local and national stakeholders. These stakeholders will include private sector entities, NGOs, CBOs, government departments, smallholders and MSMEs — as well as universities, and research and higher education institutions to spearhead knowledge generation. Knowledge management activities under this output will directly complement those implemented under the GEF-funded project entitled Malawi-climate resilient and sustainable capture fisheries, aquaculture development and watershed management project.

Complementarity will be ensured by using existing climate information services, developed under the previous project, to inform knowledge management and dissemination specifically for enhanced climate resilience of livelihoods. This will for example align with improved fisheries management through knowledge generation about climate risks and vulnerability in the fisheries sector at district level, under the previous GEF fisheries project. To provide a transformative approach, however, the proposed project will ensure the knowledge hub connects all value chain actors, using relevant technologies to establish and strengthen these linkages, as well as enabling communities to access high value markets. Finally, a further novel feature of the proposed project will be the development and integration of an IT-supported PC/smartphone application to drive the use of the hub.

[1] UNDP. 2014. Malawi Government launches National Climate Change Investment Plan.

[2] Republic of Malawi. 2017. Strategic Programme for Climate Resilience: Malawi.

[3] Reduced wastage improves efficiency, which reduces the need for expanding agriculture to meet demand.

[4] The previous project is entitled Malawi-climate resilient and sustainable capture fisheries, aquaculture development and watershed management project. Available at:

[5] As a traditional challenge fund, the MICF does not currently provide technical assistance to companies, but this may be redressed through a subsidiary contract with a technical assistance provider that will be identified during the PPG phase.

[7] UNDP. 2015. Report on the review of the second national decentralisation strategy. Available at:

[8] Please refer to Section 6: Coordination.


Muyeye Chambwera
Regional Technical Advisor
Display Photo: 
Expected Key Results and Outputs (Summary): 

Component 1: Enhancing cross-sectoral technical capacity for climate change adaptation in Malawi.

Component 2: Implementation of EbA and sustainable climate-resilient livelihoods

Component 3: Enhancing market linkages for private sector investment in adaptation options and climate-resilient enterprises

Project Dates: 
2021 to 2026
June 2021
Project Approval
SDG 8 - Decent Work and Economic Growth
SDG 13 - Climate Action
SDG 15 - Life On Land

Coastal Resilience to Climate Change in Cuba through Ecosystem Based Adaptation – ‘MI COSTA’

The Green Climate Fund-financed “Coastal Resilience to Climate Change in Cuba through Ecosystem Based Adaptation – ‘MI COSTA’” project responds to the coastal adaptation needs of Cuba due to climate-change related slow onset events such as sea level rise and flooding arising from extreme weather events. Impacts from these climate drivers are a matter of national security for the people of this small-island state and pose an existential threat to coastal settlements and communities. Projections show that if no intervention is made by 2100, up to 21 coastal communities will disappear with a further 98 being severely affected by climate related threats (flooding, coastal erosion and saline intrusion).

Cuba’s Southern Coast has been selected due its high vulnerability to climate change particularly in the form of coastal flooding and saline intrusion. 1,300 km of coastline, 24 communities, and 1.3 million people will directly benefit from the project. In protecting life on land and below the water, 11,427 ha of mangroves, 3,088 ha of swamp forest and 928 ha of grass swamp will be restored, which in turn will improve the health of 9,287 ha of seagrass beds and 134 km or coral reef crests.

The project will enhance adaptive capacity by holistically rehabilitating coastal land-seascapes, their interlinked ecosystems and hydrology. This will be achieved by rehabilitating ecosystem functions and connections within mangroves and swamp forests and reducing anthropic pressures to marine coastal ecosystems, thus enhancing the services supplied by integrated coastal ecosystems (particularly protection from saline flooding and erosion, and channelling freshwater to coastal areas and aquifers). It will also strengthen the adaptive capabilities of coastal governments and communities´ by building their capacity to utilize and understand the benefits of ecosystem-based adaptation, enhancing information flow between stakeholders and strengthening the regulatory framework for territorial management in coastal areas.

Level of Intervention: 
POINT (-78.594726920422 20.988793500139)
Funding Source: 
Financing Amount: 
Co-Financing Total: 
US$20,371,935 (US$16,242,488 MINAG, US$2,696,376 CITMA, US$1,435,071 INRH)
Project Details: 

Climate change impacts and threats

The Cuban archipelago’s location in the Caribbean, places it in the path of frequent tropical storms, and the long, narrow configuration of the country is such that no part of the country is very far from the sea (over 57% of the population lives in coastal municipalities).*

Coastal municipalities and their respective settlements are also extremely vulnerable to climate change (CC) due to increased storms and rising sea levels, resulting in increased coastal flooding caused by extreme meteorological phenomena such as tropical cyclones, extratropical lows, and strong winds from surges. From 2001 to 2017, the country has been affected by 12 hurricanes 10 which have been intense (category 4 or 5), the highest rate in a single decade since 1791. In the past 10 years the percentage of intense hurricanes affecting the country has risen from a historical average of 26% to 78% with accompanying acute losses. These intense hurricanes impacting Cuba since 2001 coincide with very high sea surface temperatures (SSTs) in the tropical Atlantic recorded since 1998.

The coasts of Cuba in the past three decades have also seen an increase in the occurrence of moderate and strong floods as a result of tropical cyclones and of extratropical systems; with extratropical cyclones being associated with the highest rates of flooding in the country.  Furthermore, warm Pacific El Niño events lead to an increase in extra-tropical storms which increase the risks of flooding along the coastline.

CC induced Sea Level Rise (SLR) will aggravate coastal flooding affecting in particular low-lying coastal areas. It is expected that through SLR, mean sea level will increase by 0.29 m by the year 2050 and between 0.22m and 0.95m by the year 2100 impacting 119 coastal settlements in Cuba. Combining increased storm surge and projected SLR, flooding of up to 19,935 km² (CC + Category 5 hurricane) and 2,445 km² (CC + normal conditions) can be expected by the year 2050.

These estimates could be higher when compounded by the impact of surface water warming on the speed of storms, and new research that links it to increased wave heights in the Caribbean. Under this scenario, storms could be more frequent and move at a slower pace thus increasing the impact on island states such as Cuba.

CMIP5 projections indicate that by 2050, mean annual temperature in Cuba will rise by a median estimate of 1.6°C; total annual extremely hot days (temperature >35°C) will rise by a median estimate of 20 days (RCP 4.5) and 20.8 days (RCP 8.5). Associated increases in potential evapotranspiration will further lead to more frequent severe droughts, as already observable in eastern Cuba.

Cuban coastal seascapes and landscapes are a succession of ecosystems that have coevolved under current climatic conditions, including current distributions of extreme events. The progression of coral reefs, seagrass meadows, beaches, coastal mangroves and forest or grassland swamps represents an equilibrium that confers resilience to each ecosystem separately but also to the coast as a whole. The current resilience of Cuban coastal ecosystems to extreme events and SLR, is being undermined by both climate change effects (increased extreme events) and other anthropogenic pressures, tempering their capacity to provide their protective services. Mangroves have further suffered high levels of degradation affecting their ability to colonize new areas, reduce wave impacts, accrete sediments and stabilize shorelines. Additionally, coral reefs have shown signs of bleaching and degradation that have been attributed to mangrove and sea grass degradation (including the alteration of hydrological natural flows, presence of invasive species, water contamination, and habitat destruction), climate-related increases in surface water temperature and to increased impacts of hurricanes.

SLR will further increase current vulnerabilities and stresses on ecosystems due to increases in water depth and wave energy which will increase coastal erosion, coastal flooding and saline intrusion risks.

Coastal erosion

Current coastal erosion rates are attributed to a combination of natural dynamics (waves, currents, extreme events, hurricanes, etc.) and human interventions (natural resources extraction, wetlands filling, coastal infrastructure construction excluding natural dynamics, habitat loss, water diversion, etc). An increase in the magnitude of extreme events and increasing SLR will accelerate erosion related to natural processes, which currently averages 1.2 m/year (calculated between 1956-2002). This erosion rate poses a danger to communities, infrastructure and natural habitats that are not tolerant to saline intrusion and provide services to landward communities.


Coastal flooding as a combination of high rainfall, high sea levels and storm surges has been identified as one of the primary climate change related threats to Cuba. Trends in the frequency of coastal floods during the period 1901-2011 have been observed in Cuba with the past three decades seeing an increase in the occurrence of moderate and strong floods, regardless of the meteorological events that generate them. Specific impacts and the extent of resulting damages depend on local bathymetry and topography, seabed roughness and coastal vegetation coverage and conditions, with the coastal regions of La Coloma- Surgidero de Batabano and Jucaro-Manzanillo being particularly vulnerable.

Hurricanes have also extensively damaged infrastructure. Hurricane Matthew, which crossed the eastern end of Cuba in October 2016, caused USD 97.2 million of damages (approximately 2.66% of GDP), making it the third most devastating hurricane to hit the island in the last decade, only behind Ike (2008) and Sandy (2012), with equivalent costs of USD 293 million (12.05% of GDP) and USD 278 million (9.53 % of GDP) respectively.

Saline intrusion

Saline intrusion into aquifers is the most common and extensive cause of freshwater degradation in Cuba’s coastal zones. Most of these aquifers, located near and beneath the northern and southern coasts, are open to the sea, making them very susceptible and exposed to saline intrusion as a result of SLR, and potentially leading to water that is too saline for human consumption and increasing the salinization of agricultural fields.  It is estimated that approximately 544,300 ha in the area of proposed interventions are already affected by saline intrusion.


Drought has been identified among the most important climate risks for all Caribbean islands, including Cuba. There has been an increase in drought events in the period 1961-1990 when compared to 1931-1960.  Severe droughts have been increasing in eastern Cuba and are projected to increase in the future. Future projections indicate a general reduction in rainfall by 2070 (particularly along the Eastern Coastline), along with an average reduction in relative humidity between 2% and 6% between 2030 and 2070, respectively. Reduced rainfall occurring mostly during the summer rainy season, with relatively smaller increases in winter and dry season rainfall. This situation adds an increase pressure on the aquifers, which cannot be filled by just one tropical storm, or during the rainy season.

Vulnerability Southern Coast of Cuba, project target site 

Cuba’s coastal ecosystems have been extensively studied through extensive research led by The Ministry of Science, Technology and Environment (CITMA), the Environmental Agency (AMA) and the Scientific Institute for the Sea (ICIMAR). ICIMAR’s research on coastal dynamics and vulnerability is the foundation for Cuba’s National Environmental Strategy (NES) and its State Plan for Facing Climate Change (“Tarea Vida”, 2017) which outlined coastal areas in eminent danger as national priority.

A research-based CC vulnerability ranking (high, medium, and low) was designed considering a combination of factors: geological, geomorphological and ecosystem degradation highlighting that vulnerability to sea-level rise and associated events is higher in the country’s low-lying coasts. Settlements in these areas are more vulnerable to SLR and more likely to be affected by extreme weather events (hurricanes, tropical storms) because of their low elevation, largely flat topography, extensive coastal plains and the highly permeable karstic geology that underlies it; hence more exposed and susceptible to flooding and saline intrusion. These areas have been targeted as the project’s area of intervention, prioritized within “Tarea Vida,” with attention being paid to two coastal "stretches" totaling approximately 1,300 km of coastline and 24 municipalities covering 27,320 km2.

Main localities for direct intervention of EBA include settlements with high vulnerability to coastal flooding, facing saline intrusion and with a contribution to economic life including those with major fishing ports for shrimp and lobster. Settlements with coastal wetlands that represent a protective barrier for important agricultural production areas to reduce the effects of saline intrusion on the underground aquifers and agricultural soils where also considered.

Southern Coastal Ecosystems

Coastal ecosystems in the targeted coastal stretches are characterized mainly by low, swampy and mangrove-lined shores surrounded by an extensive, shallow submarine platform, bordered by numerous keys and coral reefs. In these areas mangroves and marshes could potentially act as protective barriers against storm surges, winds and waves and therefore reduce coastal erosion, flooding and salt intrusion associated risks. These ecosystems can keep pace with rising seas depending on sediment budgets, frequency of disturbances, colonization space, and ecosystem health.

There are numerous reported functional relationships between coastal and marine ecosystems, including sediment binding and nutrient absorption, which combined with water retention, create equilibrium dynamics and coastal stability. Freshwater infiltration is favored by swamp forests reducing saline intrusion risk and organic matter exchange facilitates favorable conditions for healthy seagrass beds and coral reefs. Restoration of these fluxes and connections is required to increase these ecosystems resilience to a changing climate and strengthening their protective role.

Coastal ecosystems and their complex interconnections provide a variety of services to communities, including coastal protection and disaster risk reduction. These services can be enhanced with healthy ecosystems, functional connections and when adequately integrated into land/marine planning policies.

Project focus

The project will focus on actions along Cuba’s Southern Coast that has been selected due its high vulnerability to climate change (open aquifers, low lying coastal plain, degraded ecosystems and concentration of settlements), particularly to storms, drought and sea level rise, which result in coastal flooding and saline intrusion.

Targeted shores cover approximately 89,520 hectares of mangroves (representing 16.81% of the country's mangroves) followed by 60,101 hectares of swamp grasslands and 28,146 hectares of swamp forests. These in turn will contribute to improving 9,287 ha of seagrass and 134 km of coral reefs and their respective protective services.

There is evidence of reef crests degradation which in turn could cause significant wave damage in both mangroves and sea grasses reducing further their ability to offer protection against the effects of CC on the coast of Cuba.

Restoration of degraded red mangrove (Rhizophora mangle) strips along the coastal edges, in stretches 1 and 2, is crucial. During wind, storms and hurricane seasons, the sea has penetrated more than 150 meters inland in these areas, exposing areas dominated by black or white mangroves, which are less tolerant to hyper-saline conditions, potentially becoming more degraded. During stakeholder consultations, communities highlighted the consequent loss of infrastructure and reduced livelihood opportunities (both fisheries and agriculture).

Coastal Stretch 1: La Coloma – Surgidero de Batabanó (271 km – 13,220 km2)

This stretch is made up of  3 provinces (Pinar del Rio, Artemisa and MAyabeque) and 13 municipalities (San Juan y Martinez, San Luis, Pinar del Rio, Consolacion del Sur, Los Palacios, San Cristobal, Candelaria, Artemisa, Alquizar, Guira de Melena, Batabano, Melena del Sur and Guines). The main localities along this stretch are: (1) La Coloma in Pinar del Rio Province; (2) Beach Cajío in Artemisa province; and, (3) Surgidero Batabanó in Mayabeque Province.  

The vulnerability assessment concluded that, by 2100, 5 communities in this stretch could disappeared due to SLR. Extreme events, waves’ strength and salinity have also been identified in this area; hence appropriate adaptation measures need to be in place to reduce the impact.

These risks are being exacerbated by the impacts of ecosystem degradation related to changes in land use, pollution past logging, grey infrastructure and inappropriate measures of coastal protection in the past, urbanization, and the reduction of water and sediments flows.

The impact of saline intrusion into the karstic aquifer is particularly troubling along this coastal stretch with important implications at a national level, as the main aquifer, in the southern basin which supplies water to the targeted coastal communities and agriculture, is also an important source of fresh water to the capital, Havana. To address the issue of saline intrusion in this area, the GoC has experimented with grey infrastructure (The Southern Dike), a 51.7 km levee built in 1991 aiming to accumulate runoff fresh water to halt the infiltration of saline water in the interior of the southern aquifer. The USD 51.3 million investment, with maintenance costs of USD 1.5 million every 3 years and a once-off USD 15 million (20 years after it was built), had a positive effect in partially containing the progress of the saline wedge. However, the impact of the dike resulted in the degradation of mangroves in its northern shore reducing the mangroves function to protect the coastline.

Coastal Stretch 2: Jucaro- Manzanillo (1029 km – 14,660 km2)

This stretch is comprised by 4 provinces (Ciego de Avila, Camaguey, Las Tunas and Granma) and 11 muncipalities (Venezuela, Baragua, Florida, Vertientes, Santa Cruz del Sur, Amancio Rodriguez, Colombia, Jobabo, Rio Cauto, Yara and Manzanillo).The main localities to intervene along this stretch include (1) Júcaro in Ciego de Avila Province; (2) Santa Cruz del Sur in Camagüey Province; (3) Manzanillo in Gramma Province (4) Playa Florida.

The communities in this coastal area are located within extensive coastal wetlands dominated by mangroves, swamp grasslands and swamp forest.

Water reservoirs for irrigation have reduced the water flow towards natural ecosystems, it has also been directed towards agricultural lands altering the natural flow indispensable for ecosystems.

Mangroves have been highly impacted by degradation and fragmentation, which has undermined their role in protecting the beach and human populations from extreme hydro-meteorological events, saline intrusion and coastal erosion. Only 6% of mangroves are in good condition, while 91% are in a fair state, and 3% are highly degraded. Wetlands in the prairie marshes have begun to dry due to a combination of climate drivers and land use management with a direct impact in reducing their water retention and infiltration capacity.

Coral crests of the area’s broad insular platform, have been classified as very deteriorated or extremely deteriorated and it is predicted that if no intervention on the sources of degradation from the island, is made, they will disappear by 2100. Reef elimination will increase communities’ flood risk to potentially settlements disappearing.

Saline intrusion is becoming increasingly significant in this area due to a combination of CC-related SLR and the overexploitation of aquifers.

Climate change vulnerability is exacerbated by construction practices (such as people building small shops and walkways) along the shoreline where fully exposed infrastructure can be found within flood zones, between the coast and the coastal marsh. This situation is aggravated by the limited knowledge of local actors and a false sense of security that was perceived during community consultations.

Baseline investment projects

Traditionally, Cuba´s tropical storms response and management strategies have focused on emergency preparation and attendance rather than on planning for disaster risk reduction. The GoC has successfully introduced early warning mechanisms and clear emergency protocols to reduce the impact of storms in the loss of lives. The development of Centres for Risk Reduction Management (CGRR) has also been successful in mobilizing local actors when storms are predicted to hit ensuring that emergency resources are available to address storms’ immediate impacts. While these are important steps in the face of an immediate emergency, they are insufficient to manage multiple ongoing threats (some of slow consequence of climate change).

In 2017, GoC approved its State Plan to Face Climate Change (“Tarea Vida”) in which identified and prioritized the impacts of saline intrusion, flooding and extreme events to the country coastal zones, focusing strategic actions for the protection of vulnerable populations and of key resources including protective ecosystems such as mangroves and coral reefs. The GoC has begun to look into various strategies to mainstream local adaptation initiatives using existing successful national mechanisms for capacity building and knowledge transfer and international cooperation best practices.

Initial investments made by the GoC have identified the country´s climate vulnerability, including drought and SLR vulnerability and hazard risk assessment maps. The development of the “Macro-project on Coastal Hazards and Vulnerability (2050-2100)”, focused on these areas´ adaptation challenges including oceanographic, geophysical, ecological and infrastructure features, together with potential risks such as floods, saline intrusion and ocean acidification. Cross-sectoral information integration was a key tool to identify climate risks and potential resources (existing instruments, institutions, knowledge, etc) to manage it. While this is an important foundation it has yet to be translated into concrete actions often as a result of lack of technical equipment.

International cooperation has financed projects that have further allowed the GoC to innovate on various institutional mechanisms such as the Capacity Building Centres (CBSCs) and Integrated Coastline Management Zones through active capacity building incorporating municipal and sectoral needs. Table 1 summarizes the most relevant baseline projects and highlights key results, lessons learned, and gaps identified. The proposed project aims to address such gaps, and incremental GCF financing is required to efficiently achieve efficient climate resilience in the target coastal sites.

* Footnotes and citations are made available in the project documents.

Expected Key Results and Outputs: 

Output 1: Rehabilitated coastal ecosystems for enhanced coping capacity to manage climate impacts.

1.1 Assess and restore coastal wetland functions in target sites by reestablishing hydrological processes  

1.2 Mangrove and swamp forest rehabilitation through natural and assisted regeneration for enhanced coastal protection

1.3 Record and asses coastal and marine ecosystems‘ natural regeneration and protective functions based on conditions provided through restored coastal wetlands

1.4 Enhance water conduction systems along targeted watersheds to restore freshwater drainage in coastal ecosystems and aquifers to reduce and monitor saline intrusion in target sites

Output 2: Increased technical and institutional capacity to climate change adaptation in coastal communities, governments and economic sectors.

2.1 Develop a climate adaptation technical capacity building program for coastal communities and local stakeholders to enable adaptation actions and capacities

2.2 Integrate project derived information,  from EWS  and national datasets into a Knowledge Management Platform, to provide climate information products to monitor, evaluate and inform coastal communities on local capacity to manage climate change impacts.

2.3 Mainstream EBA approaches into regulatory and planning frameworks at the territorial and national levels for long term sustainability of EBA conditions and investments for coastal protection

Output 3: Project Management

3..1 Project Management

Montserrat Xilotl
Regional Technical Advisor
Signature Programmes: 
Display Photo: 
Expected Key Results and Outputs (Summary): 

Output 1: Rehabilitated coastal ecosystems for enhanced coping capacity to manage climate impacts.

Output 2: Increased technical and institutional capacity to climate change adaptation in coastal communities, governments and economic sectors.

Output 3: Project management.

Project Dates: 
2021 to 2028
March 2021
Project Approval
SDG 13 - Climate Action
SDG 14 - Life Below Water
SDG 15 - Life On Land