Determine Screening Approach
USAID allows significant flexibility in how CRM is conducted. Therefore each mission or operating unit should consider carefully what approach to take, including when the screening will be conducted, how, and by whom.
USAID’s guidance emphasizes that climate risk screening should be “fit for purpose”—detailed enough to inform decision-making but not overly costly or operationally burdensome. Therefore, at the strategy level, CRM is not intended to be a comprehensive, costly climate change risk assessment. Instead, it should be a targeted participatory process that identifies and prioritizes risks that could negatively affect USAID’s ability to promote the journey to self reliance.
Identifying the most appropriate time to conduct the screening can be a bit of a balancing act. The design team will want to have at least an initial idea of the strategy’s overall objectives and geographies, but not yet have finalized the results framework (including the exact geographic locations for implementation). Assessing climate risks during this window of time enables the design team to use the screening to inform strategy design while avoiding spending time screening sectors or geographies where USAID is unlikely to work. Current experience suggests that conducting the screening while developing the theory of change can be ideal.
Screenings conducted internally in a participatory manner using the best available information are often the most effective. This is because the screening process can be as important as the screening product. The process helps to bring out the knowledge and expertise of mission staff while building capacity and interest in the screening’s findings. Capacity building is particularly important as the mission will likely need to conduct additional climate risk assessments during project and activity design.
For CRM at the strategy level, sufficient in-house climate expertise is likely already available for all of the countries in which USAID works. Mission staff, especially local staff, already possess most, if not all, the required expertise and knowledge. However, if in-house expertise is deemed insufficient, the design team should consult the climate integration lead (CIL) in the mission, and then technical staff in Washington, D.C. Current experience suggests that the greater the leadership role the design team takes, the more effective CRM will be.
When conducting a screening internally, it is helpful to form a multidisciplinary team to ensure consideration of multiple perspectives and diverse expertise. It is helpful if the team includes at least one person familiar with interpreting climate information (e.g., mission CIL), experts from the relevant technical offices, people familiar with the relevant geography and socio-economic context, and the person leading design and implementation. It should be noted that it is not the responsibility of CILs or mission environmental officers (MEOs) to conduct the screening, but they can be important team members.