Climate Risk Management at the Strategy Level
Climate risk management (CRM) at the strategy level seeks to enhance the sustainability, resilience and impacts of USAID’s strategic development objectives while safeguarding US taxpayer dollars. To do this, climate risk screening early in strategy development allows USAID to assess, address and adaptively manage current and future climate risks and opportunities. For example, a strategy that envisions promoting agriculture-led economic growth as a pillar to support self-reliance may be at risk due to changing rainfall patterns or an increasing frequency of drought. By screening for climate risks early in strategy development, USAID ensures these risks are identified in time to be addressed and managed, as necessary. This prevents climate risks from undermining USAID’s development objectives, and thus supports the journey to self-reliance.
CRM at the strategy level should also lay out the framework for conducting CRM at the project and activity levels of the program cycle. Specifically, climate risk screening should highlight programmatic areas that will need to address climate risks through project implementation and identify areas that require additional analyses during project or activity design.
CRM at the strategy level also helps identify those programming areas that are at a low risk from climate stressors. Any development objectives and intermediate results (IR) rated as low risk do not require additional screening later in the program cycle. For example, if a governance IR that seeks to enhance the effectiveness of a national judicial system is rated as low risk at the strategy level, any projects or activities designed under this IR will not require further climate risk assessment.
Although USAID policy allows flexibility in the application of CRM, the process generally comprises four phases (with several steps within each phase):
The graphic and eLearning tool aim to help USAID staff think about how these phases and steps are integrated into strategy development and implementation. The order of the steps within the phases is flexible and may be tailored to each mission’s or operating unit’s situation.
External climate expertise is not necessarily required to conduct CRM at the strategy level. In fact, current experience has shown that often mission staff, especially local staff, already possess most, if not all, the required expertise and knowledge. The processes and tools outlined here are intended to help organize that embedded knowledge in a systematic manner, provide resources to complement in-mission expertise when appropriate, and document in a transparent manner how identified climate risks are addressed.
Current experience suggests that the best way to make CRM effective is to ensure that those responsible for strategy design and implementation actively participate in the process. In the explanations below and the eLearning tool, we refer to these people as the “design team.”
CRM Resources for Strategy Design
- Climate Change in USAID Strategies: A Mandatory Reference for ADS Chapter 201
- Climate Risk Management at USAID (video )
- Climate Risk Profiles & Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Emissions Fact Sheets
- Climate Risk Screening & Management Tool and associated sector-specific annexes
- Climate Risk Management: Monitoring, Evaluation, Learning and Knowledge Management guide
- Primer: Using Climate Information for Climate Risk Management
- Climate Risk Management in Action (examples of CRM)
- Frequently Asked Questions
- USAID staff may consult internal resources such as the Agency intranet or their mission’s Climate Integration Lead.