How To Do Climate Risk Management

At USAID, doing climate risk management (CRM) entails more than just conducting a climate risk assessment. The assessment is important, but only part of a comprehensive, iterative four-phase process starting with planning and integrated into the design, implementation, and monitoring, evaluation and learning stages of the program cycle. CRM should not be viewed as a separate process but rather as an integral part of program design and implementation.

»Adaptively ManageIV. Implement &« III. Incorporate Results«Screening/AssessmentII. Conduct Climate Risk »Screening/AssessmentI. Plan for Climate RiskFour Phases of Climate Risk Management
Four Phases of Climate Risk Management.
These four phases apply to each stage of USAID’s program cycle: strategies, projects and activities. See below for brief descriptions of these phases and follow the links provided for further explanations of the steps within each phase. To walk through the CRM process in more detail, try our eLearning tool.

CRM includes designing and implementing for uncertainty through informed decision-making. CRM means programming for a range of possible future climate scenarios and building in flexibility to adjust and adapt to a changing climate during the time frame over which a strategy, project or activity is expected to confer benefits.

CRM and the USAID Program Cycle

Climate risk management is implemented at each stage of USAID’s program cycle:

  • Regional/Country Strategies (NEW!) – Climate risk management at the strategy level involves broad consideration of current and future climate risks and opportunities early in the development decision-making process. CRM at this stage helps flag and prioritize risks that should be considered in order to promote resilient development and ensure the effectiveness of USAID programming.
  • Projects – Climate risk management at the project level involves a careful examination of climate risks that can be addressed through project design as well as climate risks that may be possible to address during activity design and implementation. CRM at this stage also helps elucidate any further analyses that may be needed later in the program cycle to manage climate risks.
  • Activities – Climate risk management at the activity level should build on results of CRM at the strategy and project levels. CRM at this stage focuses on addressing and adaptively managing risks during activity implementation.

Four Phases of CRM

At each stage, climate risk management is implemented in four phases:

  1. Plan for Screening/Assessment – Planning to screen or assess climate risks and opportunities involves reviewing previous screenings/assessments (if they exist) and determining the screening/assessment approach. Learn more about planning for screenings/assessments at the strategy, project and activity levels.
  2. Conduct Screening/Assessment – Conducting a climate risk screening / assessment entails assessing risks, determining how to address risks, and planning for adaptive management. The assessment also involves consideration of opportunities to build climate resilience. Learn more about conducting the climate risk screening/assessment at the strategy, project and activity levels.
  3. Incorporate Results – Incorporating results of the climate risk screening / assessment refers to integration of CRM into the design of strategies, projects and activities. This phase enables design and implementation teams to address and adaptively manage risks. Learn more about incorporating results of the screening/assessment at the strategy, project and activity levels.
  4. Implement & Adaptively Manage – This phase entails integration of CRM into implementation plans and monitoring, evaluation and learning processes to ensure climate risks are addressed and adaptively managed. Learn more about implementing CRM and adaptively managing climate risks at the strategy, project and activity levels.


Resources, tools and training are available to support your implementation of climate risk management.