WASH-FIN supported a topographical survey and design of the Kitanga and Makyau water projects in preparation for a proposal to leverage commercial financing for the Machakos Water and Sanitation Company in Kenya.
WASH-FIN supported a topographical survey and design of the Kitanga and Makyau water projects in preparation for a proposal to leverage commercial financing for the Machakos Water and Sanitation Company in Kenya. | Credit: USAID/WASH-FIN Kenya

USAID PREPAREs for Climate Resilience

By Ella Lazarte, Natalie R. Gill

At COP26 in 2021, USAID launched and committed to a whole-of-government approach through the President’s Emergency Plan for Adaptation and Resilience (PREPARE), which aims to support more than half a billion people by helping them adapt to and manage the impacts of climate change by 2030 through locally led development. COP27, which concludes in Egypt today, provides an important moment to reflect on the action that USAID has taken over the past year to advance its COP26 commitment, which includes supporting the mobilization of $1 billion in climate-resilient water and sanitation services by 2030.

Over the past year, USAID has worked with partner governments and service providers in local contexts to: 

  • Unlock public climate finance. In the Philippines, USAID is supporting provincial governments by helping them prepare water security plans and increase their ability to access finance to implement them.
  • Enhance domestic public budget allocations. USAID assisted Cape Town, South Africa, in establishing a partnership with The Nature Conservancy to create the Cape Town Water Fund, a co-funded effort to raise over $8 million to remove invasive plants that contribute to the depletion of the city’s water supply.  
  • Mobilize commercial finance and private sector investments. In Mbombela, South Africa, USAID helped renegotiate the terms of an existing public-private partnership to significantly increase private sector investment for the expansion of water and sanitation services. The private sector concessionaire committed to invest approximately $15 million over five years to expand services, reduce water losses, and upgrade existing infrastructure to ensure long-term resilience. 

In Kenya, the USAID Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene Finance (WASH-FIN) activity mobilized over $600,000 for climate change adaptation in 2021 by helping sanitation service providers access capital to develop fecal sludge treatment infrastructure, reducing sanitation-related emissions and creating biomass fuels in the process.

At COP27, USAID launched its global water finance and governance program, the Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene Finance 2 Activity (WASH-FIN 2), which will mobilize $375 million by 2027 for climate-resilient water and sanitation services and strengthen at least 165 sector institutions and service providers. The program will work in collaboration with government, development partners, financial institutions, service providers, and local stakeholders to close financing gaps and improve governance structures. This will enable targeted countries to access reliable sources of capital for sustainable, climate-resilient water and sanitation infrastructure.

From the drought in the horn of Africa to the floods that left one-third of Pakistan underwater, climate change is both slowing and undoing progress made on increasing access to water and sanitation around the world. That is why climate solutions are water solutions.

USAID continues to work with partner governments and local actors to set the global trajectory toward a vision of a resilient, prosperous, and equitable world with net-zero greenhouse gas emissions. Through WASH-FIN2, USAID will pair commitments to mobilizing finance with investments in climate-resilient water and sanitation services and infrastructure. This approach will result in more beneficiaries over time than the direct provision of climate-resilient services will alone.

More information on USAID’s approach to Climate and Water can be found in the Climate-Resilient, Low Emissions Water Security and Sanitation Technical Brief and the 2022-2027 Global Water Strategy.

Climate Finance, Climate Finance and Economic Growth, COP27, Water and Sanitation

Ella Lazarte

Ella Lazarte is a Senior Water and Sanitation Advisor in USAID’s Center for Water Security, Sanitation, and Hygiene in the Bureau for Resilience and Food Security. She leads the Agency's private sector engagement and finance work in the water security, sanitation, and hygiene sector and supports USAID missions in program design and implementation globally. Prior to joining USAID in 2016, she worked at the World Bank, strengthening governance and private sector participation in the water and energy sectors in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. Ella has a bachelor’s degree in Political Economy from the University of California, Berkeley, and a master's degree in Urban Planning from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Additionally, she received a Fulbright Fellowship in Brazil to work in Rio's favelas. Ella grew up in Asia (the Philippines), but she has a soft spot for Africa and Latin America, where she has spent a significant amount of time working and of course, dancing salsa, samba and marrabenta.

Natalie R. Gill

Natalie R. Gill is Program Specialist in the Global Strategy and Leadership Division of USAID’s Center for Water Security, Sanitation and Hygiene. Before coming to USAID, Natalie was a researcher and program coordinator for an international urban development and housing nonprofit; her concentration on equitable cities and safe and affordable housing included a focus on the critical need for safe and sustainable water, sanitation, and hygiene. Natalie earned her bachelor's and master's degrees in history from the University of Maryland.

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