A group of women and children gather over a poster-sized paper for discussion.
Farmers Gouri Golder (left) and Priya Goldar (right) of Jharvanga village in Batiaghata, Khulna district, Bangladesh are drawing a farm resource allocation map. This participatory tool enables farmers to understand the household’s main farming systems and how these may be affected by weather and climate.

Editor’s Pick: Building Local Capacity Tools and Resources on Climatelinks

By Isabela Barriga

This month we are exploring what it means to build local capacity to address climate change. Building local capacity starts with an understanding of the local stakeholders’ needs. Then, a tool, method, or approach can be developed or tailored to the local context together with the local stakeholders. This enables stakeholders to make decisions for themselves based on their needs.

Empowering local people and institutions to develop their own solutions ensures relevance and fosters sustainability, and is an important component of USAID’s efforts to build local capacity to address climate change. USAID’s 2019 Policy Framework articulates the Agency’s Journey to Self Reliance approach that fosters transformation by supporting capacity for local problem-solving, innovation, and community-minded leadership. This approach to development seeks to foster stable, resilient, prosperous, and self-reliant countries.

Climatelinks looked at efforts to build capacity to address climate impacts at multiple scales - from regional institutions to individuals. For instance, SERVIR, a joint development initiative of NASA and USAID, invests in regional organizations to strengthen their science and technology capabilities to solve climate-and weather-related challenges. SERVIR’s regional hubs empower decision-makers to develop solutions that use information from Earth-observing satellites. SERVIR is supporting 23 countries in five regions to manage food security, water resources, land use change, and natural disasters by developing custom tools and training individuals who can develop local solutions.

At the individual level, the USAID-supported Climate Information Services Research Initiative (CISRI) supports community-based decision-making by generating knowledge and evidence to provide African farmers with climate information services to help them make decisions in a variable climate. Their Learning Agenda for Climate Services in Sub-Saharan African Africa provides decision-makers with timely and accurate information on climate and weather variations that helps farmers make better decisions to enhance agriculture production and reduce or avoid harvest loss.

There are also resources on Climatelinks to help programs build local capacity to address climate change. Explore some below:

Evidence & tools

  • Global Climate Change Institutional Capacity Assessment is a structured tool for assessing an institution’s capacity to address climate change issues. A facilitator guides the organization or unit through the tool. It can be used to set a baseline and determine what aspects of capacity to support. It can then be used at a later date to assess the change in capacity.
  • Climate-Resilient Development: A Framework for Understanding and Addressing Climate Change outlines five stages to address climate adaptation goals and what is necessary to achieve. This helps decision-makers identify priority measures, incorporate them into planning, and implement them.
  • Resource Material for Training of Trainers on Forest Carbon Measurement, Including Community-Based Carbon Measurement was developed by the Forest-PLUS program to support a training with Forest-PLUS tools and protocols for remote sensing, inventory analysis, and data collection. Local trainees learn the fundamental principles of REDD+ safeguards and community benefits, this allows them to understand carbon as a forest resource that is essential to developing collaborative, participatory engagement with communities in measuring forest carbon.
  • SERVIR and SilvaCarbon launched a series of global workshops in 2018 on Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) applications for mitigating land use and land cover change challenges. To ensure outreach and impact, they developed the SAR Handbook which can provide local groups with methods for applying SAR datasets for forest monitoring and biomass estimation.
  • Ecosystem-based Adaptation (EbA) Evidence Summaries and case studies highlight the potential role of EbA in addressing climate vulnerabilities and contributing to development results. These resources can help decision-makers and development practitioners at the local level consider where EbA is likely to be a relevant approach.
  • The Adaptation, Livelihoods and Ecosystems Planning Tool is a computer-based tool designed to support users such as community members and local authorities to organize and analyze information to plan effective EbA options within a broader EbA planning process. It enables community members to understand linkages among ecosystems, livelihoods and climate change, which enables them to identify EbA options for community and ecosystem resilience.


Strategic Objective
Adaptation, Integration, Mitigation
Adaptation, Ecosystem-based Adaptation, Emissions, Low Emission Development, Reducing Emissions from Deforestation & Forest Degradation (REDD+), Climate Change Integration, Conflict and Governance, Disaster Risk Management, Forestry, Land Use, Mitigation, Monitoring and Evaluation, Resilience, Self-Reliance, Training, Water and Sanitation, Weather

Isabela Barriga

Isabela es gerente de redes sociales y coordinadora de contenido para Climatelinks a través del proyecto SEEK de USAID. Ella ayuda con la gestión de la información, la investigación y la redacción de blogs. Anteriormente, Isabela brindó apoyo de comunicación y gestión de contenido a organizaciones intergubernamentales, asociaciones público-privadas y misiones diplomáticas, incluidas las Naciones Unidas, GAVI (actualmente, la Alianza de Vacunas) y la Embajada de Ecuador. Isabela tiene un B.S. en Salud Pública y estudios completos en Desarrollo Internacional y Gestión de Conflictos (Universidad de Maryland, College Park).

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