Integrating Climate Change into USAID’s Development Portfolio Through Solicitations
USAID typically contributes to development outcomes through solicitations where a contract or grant is awarded to a partner to undertake the described work. One way to influence the consideration of climate variability and change across all sectors is to incorporate those requirements into USAID’s solicitations, as appropriate. But how often does incorporating climate considerations into the solicitation translate to action? And what does that action look like?
A recent assessment of non-climate funded USAID programs found that including climate change in solicitations resulted in actions to manage climate risk or address climate change during program implementation about half the time. This finding is important because climate-funded programs comprise a small sliver of USAID’s development portfolio. Yet climate variability and change impacts USAID’s development investments and interventions broadly—from agriculture and food security to health. Integrating climate change into USAID’s non-climate funded development programs can take many forms, can enhance project results, and can result in climate co-benefits, as documented in four case studies that accompany the 2017 integration assessment.
The 2017 assessment also found that where climate considerations appear in a solicitation matters, with the inclusion of explicit personnel or performance requirements being the most important. More generally, climate change integration was most successful when viewed as critical to the success of the program.
This assessment builds on a 2015 study that found climate change integrated to some extent in 16 percent of 268 randomly selected solicitations from 2009, 2012 and 2014. The recent assessment explored the extent to which climate change actions were taken during implementation of these solicitations. Those that took climate change action were in food security, economic growth and trade, and education programming. Climate change was integrated in a variety of ways, including through technical assistance and training, capacity building, applied research (including pilots and demonstrations), knowledge sharing and awareness-raising, and private sector engagement and job creation.
Just as the previous study, this assessment found that integration was most prevalent in agriculture and food security programs. Three such examples are highlighted in the climate integration case studies: USAID/Uganda’s Feed the Future Commodity Production and Marketing Activity (CPM), USAID/Senegal’s Feed the Future Naatal Mbay, and Assets and Market Access Innovation Lab.
The Uganda CPM and Senegal Naatal Mbay activities recognize that climate poses a risk to achieving their objectives of increasing smallholder production and market integration. Both activities employ a climate-smart agriculture approach, facilitate use of weather and climate information in decision-making, and support adoption of weather-indexed insurance. These efforts have enhanced activity results. For instance, as of March 2016 for CPM, 152,469 farmers had adopted climate-resilient practices and technologies, which contributed to a 24 percent increase in maize yields, 13 percent for beans and 173 percent for coffee.
Research by the Assets and Market Access Innovation Lab aims to help smallholder farmers in developing countries to manage production risks, adopt improved agricultural technologies and practices, and contribute to economic growth. The Innovation Lab recognizes continued climate change will require new approaches to manage climate risks as traditional coping mechanisms become inadequate.
A fourth case study on USAID/Jordan’s Jordan Competitiveness Program (JCP) explores how an economic growth program is reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Energy import prices in Jordan have increased, while supplies have become less reliable, encouraging Jordan to seek alternate energy sources to meet its goals for both economic growth and reduced emissions. Studies suggest good solar and wind energy potential in Jordan, in part because of its many engineers. JCP’s clean energy interventions are helping Jordan achieve several inter-related goals to spur economic growth, including: support for new, innovative businesses, job creation, reduced energy import dependence, and reduced emissions.