USAID Advancing Climate-Resilient Development

During the past four years, the United States Agency for International Development’s Global Climate Change (GCC) Office has supported a project to understand and implement climate-resilient development around the world. That project, Climate Change Resilient Development (CCRD), recently hosted the Advancing Climate-Resilient Development Symposium from March 16-19. Nearly 350 people participated online and in-person at various locations across Washington, DC.

The Symposium brought together climate change adaptation and international development experts and decision-makers to: 1) share lessons learned from USAID’s CCRD project, 2) exchange adaptation-related approaches and experiences, and 3) identify new ways to advance climate-resilient development around the world.

“Climate-resilient development means ensuring that development gains are not put at risk by climate variability and change,” said Jonathan Cook, Climate Change Adaptation Specialist with the USAID GCC Office. “This is a critical challenge for many of the countries where USAID works, and an increasing focus of our efforts to support them.”

During his opening remarks at the Symposium, Rolf Anderson, USAID GCC Office Director, said, “We are integrating climate considerations into all of our development actions …. The President [Barack Obama] has taken some significant steps in the last year to advance the integration of climate into all of [USAID’s] work overseas.”

The centerpiece of USAID’s efforts to encourage its Missions and partners to mainstream climate into development planning and implementation is the Climate-Resilient Development (CRD) Framework (PDF) — released to the public in April 2014. The CRD Framework is a “development-first” approach organized into five stages – Scope, Assess, Design, Implement and Manage, and Evaluate and Adjust.

The CCRD project, implemented by Engility Corporation/International Resources Group with a consortium of 11 partners, supported USAID in the development of the framework and a suite of technical annexes. CCRD also applied the CRD Framework in activities with partners at the regional (West Africa), national (Jamaica and Tanzania), and sectoral (wheat sector in Kazakhstan) levels, and a series of local urban and high mountain settings.

“CCRD, as one of USAID’s largest climate change projects to date, had the opportunity and expertise to implement this Framework across a number of countries and sectors. The Symposium shared some of the lessons we have learned along the way,” said CCRD Chief of Party Glen Anderson of Engility/IRG.

Following Monday at the Wilson Center, the remainder of the Symposium included themed events focusing on the global Adaptation Partnership (AP), the High Mountains Adaptation Partnership (HiMAP), urban climate resilience and Climate Resilient Infrastructure Services (CRIS), and Climate Services. These Symposium sessions were hosted at the United States Department of State, Cosmos Club, and Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

CCRD has managed projects including AP Workshops in Thailand, Costa Rica, and Nepal; glacial lake management and local adaptation planning in Nepal and Peru (HiMAP); CRIS activities in the Dominican Republic, Peru and Mozambique, and the Climate Impacts Decision Support Tool in Vietnam (urban); and climate services-related reports, partnerships, and country assessments in Mali and Senegal (Climate Services).

Attendees of the Symposium included a range of U.S. Government agency staff, international development practitioners, NGOs, and international speakers from countries such as Costa Rica, Macedonia, Peru, and Vietnam.

USAID’s Global Climate Change Office has an array of climate change adaptation reports, factsheets, and videos to assist the climate and development community. Visit the USAID Development Experience Clearinghouse (DEC), or the Climate Change Resilient Development Project Library. If you would like to receive CCRD project updates, including an email with resources from the Symposium, please subscribe online. The Symposium was webcast; watch the archived sessions online.

images via Jamie Carson and USAID 
 

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Jamie Carson