Climate Change Learning for USAID Staff

Since 2010, USAID has offered face-to-face training and workshops, online courses and interactive webinars on climate change and development for all staff. Face-to-face events are held in Washington, DC and at missions globally. All training is mapped to specified learning objectives and technical competencies in climate change and development.

The Climate Resilient Development 101 online course builds a foundation of common understanding of climate resilient development, including how climate impacts are affecting key development sectors. Climate risk screening is a required part of USAID strategies, including Country Development Cooperation Strategies (CDCSs), Regional Development Cooperation Strategies (RDCSs), Mission strategies, country strategies, or equivalent. The Climate Risk Management training provides information on how best to comply with ADS 201, the requirement to screen all development programs for climate risk. This training will help ensure that the development gains made throughout the Agency programs are not eroded by climate change. For additional information and resources, please visit see Climate Risk Management at USAID.

Other courses and webinars cover special topics in greater depth, such as climate-smart food security, climate change and health, and economics and planning of climate change mitigation and adaptation.

Climate change courses available to USAID staff and their descriptions can be found below. USAID staff should register for all courses in USAID University. For questions about these courses, contact climatechange [at] usaid [dot] gov.

Global Climate Change Core Courses:

Climate Change Integration:

Special Topics:

Climate-Resilient Development 101
Dates: Ongoing
Audience: All USAID staff
This 2-hour online course, intended for USAID staff and partners, uses interactive features and videos to introduce fundamental concepts of climate resilient development, including how climate impacts are affecting key development sectors. The course aims to equip this audience with the knowledge and skills to identify climate risks to development programs, communicate effectively about these risks, and apply existing resources and information to solving climate-related development problems with the ultimate goal of making USAID’s development efforts climate resilient. The course consists of two modules that have many interactive features and knowledge checks.
 

Climate-Resilient International Development
Dates: TBD
Audience: USAID staff, including: Climate Integration Leads, Mission Environmental Officers, Program Officers, Agreement/Contract Officer Representatives (A/CORs) in all sectors of USAID programming, Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) Specialists, Procurement Specialists and other USAID staff involved in the management of USAID funded projects across sectors

USAID/RDMA, Asia Bureau and E3 are excited to offer this intensive, five-day participatory, field-focused training workshop on climate-resilient international development. USAID will achieve more sustainable results by assessing and evaluating climate-related risks in our planning and programming. As such, starting October 1, 2015, USAID began systematically screening and addressing climate risk in new strategies to ensure they are resilient to current and future climate. Beginning October 1, 2016, new USAID projects and activities in all sectors will need to be managed for climate risk.

This training will strengthen the capacity of USAID team members that have a role in the successful implementation of climate risk management. The learning event will include field visits, a "learning by doing" approach, interactive exercises and a development partners exchange. The course objectives are to:

  1. Strengthen design and management of USAID funded activities to ensure activities are managing climate risks.
  2. Implement climate risk management over the full project life cycle, with extended practical exercises focusing on:
    • Assessing climate vulnerabilities and risks in developing strategies.
    • Integrating climate risks into Initial Environmental Examinations (IEEs).
    • Developing Environmental Mitigation and Monitoring Plans (EMMPs) to implement actions that manage climate risks.

Applied Cost Benefit Analysis
40 Continuous Learning Points
Dates:
TBD
Audience: All USAID staff (other US Government staff as space available)

This week-long course will teach the fundamentals of cost-benefit analysis with application to specific sectors of interest, including infrastructure projects (water, electricity, roads and irrigation), agriculture, or global climate change, depending on student interest. The course will be split between classroom-style instruction in the fundamental concepts of discounting, financial and economic analysis of projects and CBA modeling techniques, and small group work focusing on one of three case studies. Students will spend a significant portion of the course in small groups (5-7 people) working with instructor guidance on an in-depth CBA case study in one of these sectors, to be presented at the end of the course.

Economics and Planning of Global Climate Change Mitigation
32 Continuous Learning Points
Dates: TBD
Audience: USAID staff (other US Government staff and partners as space available)

This four-day, classroom-based course was developed for USAID staff involved in the design, implementation and monitoring of activities using Global Climate Change Clean Energy (CE) and/or Sustainable Landscapes (SL) pillar funding. This is an advanced course for staff who have already taken the GCC core courses and have some background in economics. This course is also open to governmental and non-governmental partners and other donors on a space-available basis.
 
This course will provide USAID staff and other selected participants training on the economic and financial analysis of climate change mitigation projects. Mitigation projects in climate change include clean energy, energy efficiency and sustainable landscape actions that reduce greenhouse gas emissions over a projected “Business-as-Usual” (BAU) situation. Economic and financial assessment of mitigation projects involves knowing and applying the following analysis methods:

  1. Cost-benefit analysis (CBA) of the mitigation option as contrasted with the BAU or “without” project option;
  2. Marginal abatement cost curve (MACC) analysis to determine the net benefits of a mitigation option per unit of greenhouse gas emission reduced; and
  3. Co-benefit and/or environmental valuation to internalize into CBA and MACC analysis benefits or costs associated with environmental and health effects associated with a mitigation option.

There is an additional pre-day that is optional for participants who have already taken a USAID training on cost-effectiveness analysis or had comparable material elsewhere, but is otherwise required.
 
Economics and Planning of Global Climate Change Adaptation
32 Continuous Learning Points
Dates: TBD
Audience: USAID staff (other US Government staff and partners as space available)

This four-day, classroom-based course was developed for USAID staff involved in the design, implementation and monitoring of activities using Global Climate Change Clean Adaptation (AD) pillar funding. This is an advanced course for staff who have already taken the GCC core courses and have some background in economics. This course is also open to governmental and non-governmental partners and other donors on a space-available basis.
 
The course will provide methods and tools to conduct economic assessments of  climate change adaptation projects to more fully capture the socio-economic benefits from valuing contributions to economic growth from implementing climate resilience activities and programs in a country. It will also discuss technical issues, strategies and planning for climate change adaptation.
 
There is an additional pre-day that is optional for participants who have already taken a USAID training on cost-benefit analysis or had comparable material elsewhere, but is otherwise required. 

Energy Sector and Communications: Energy 101
Dates: TBD
Audience: USAID and USG personnel with outreach, communication and program development responsibilities

The purpose of this workshop is to build greater capacity and deeper knowledge of the energy sector in a development and Power Africa context. Participants will learn how to better communicate USAID media messages both to showcase our energy programs and to sustain energy policy initiatives that will improve the sector. This workshop is designed to provide staff with a basic understanding of the energy sector, how the power sector works, along with an understanding of effective communications strategies designed to engage stakeholders. The workshop will also provide new tools to better communicate powerful human interest stories so important to Power Africa’s new initiatives in Africa. 

Fundamentals of Energy Systems for Program Managers
Dates: TBD
Audience: USAID staff with energy, economic growth, program management and/or infrastructure development responsibilities

This course introduces program managers to fundamental concepts associated with energy systems (including electricity, gas, hydrocarbon fuels, renewable energy and energy efficiency) and explains how the scale, cost and function of energy provision can influence development outcomes. Major topics include understanding the electricity value chain and assessing energy costs; understanding the promise and limits of clean and renewable energies; implications of renewables for grid design and utility regulation; understanding energy sector reform best practices and market development; and review of energy subsidies, best practices in tariff design, the implications of the resource curse and sovereign wealth funds.

Integrated Resource and Resilience Planning (IRRP) for the Power Sector
Dates: TBD
Audience: USAID and other US Government energy staff (clean energy implementing partners as space available)

This training is intended to help USAID staff and implementing organizations understand and communicate IRP concepts and develop activities to introduce or strengthen IRP activities in USAID supported countries.   In addition to overviewing IRP best practices from around the world, the training will share experiences from USAID fieldwork that is currently supporting policy-makers, regulators, and utilities in developing robust energy planning processes.

 
As a result of this training, participants will have the ability to:
  1. Explain why IRRP is a fundamental building block of scaling clean energy and how it supports the other building blocks;
  2. Articulate what questions an IRRP can answer and what elements are necessary to make an IRRP effective;
  3. Detail the typical components of an IRRP and what emerging best practices are in treatment of these components;
  4. Understand the IRRP planning process--what the tools, inputs, outputs, and stakeholders look like and require in terms of data and capacity;
  5. Understand and communicate how IRRPs can be used to direct investment or other outcomes;
  6. Incorporate IRRPs into the design of clean energy technical assistance programs.

Integrating Variable Renewable Energy into the Grid
Dates: TBD
Audience: USAID energy staff, USG Staff, and if space is available, USAID clean energy implementing partners

Variable renewable energy, such as wind and solar, provides a clean, carbon-free source of power. At high penetration levels, however, wind and solar variability, uncertainty and geographic concentration can affect the planning and operation of the power system. This training is intended to help USAID staff and implementing organizations understand and communicate grid integration concepts and develop a portfolio of grid integration activities that enable large scale-up of renewable energy on the grid. In addition to overviewing emerging grid integration strategies from around the world, the training will share experiences from USAID fieldwork that is currently supporting policy-makers, regulators and grid operators in integrating wind and solar to meet renewable energy and climate change mitigation targets. Upon completion of this course, participants should be able to:

  1. Explain why grid integration is a fundamental building block of clean energy and low emission development.
  2. Articulate the importance of flexibility to integrating variable renewable energy to the power system and identify sources of flexibility that are available to a power system.
  3. Detail steps that can enable grid integration through improved planning, forecasting, regulation and financing, at both the transmission and distribution levels.
  4. Understand the value of a grid integration study, how to ensure grid integration study quality and how to sequence studies with other interventions.
  5. Navigate and utilize the GreeningTheGrid.org toolkit.

Renewable Energy Building Blocks
Dates: TBD
Audience: USAID staff, USAID clean energy implementing organizations and other USG organizations supporting developing countries in scaling up renewable energy. Previous expertise is not required for this training.
 

Scaling up grid-connected renewable energy can enable countries to meet their renewable energy and climate change mitigation targets. Based on international experience, there are six fundamental and complementary building blocks that can help countries to establish the policy, regulatory, and investment environment needed for large scale-up of renewable energy. This training is intended to help USAID staff and implementing organizations understand and communicate the building blocks concept and develop a portfolio of activities that accelerate the scale-up of renewable energy on the grid. The training will also include hands-on training on the System Advisor Model (SAM), a tool used to simulate the technical and financial performance of renewable energy projects. In addition to overviewing the building blocks concept and highlighting emerging strategies and tools from around the world, the training will share experiences from USAID fieldwork that is currently supporting policy-makers, regulators, and grid operators in scaling up renewable energy deployment.

Climate Risk Management
8 Continuous Learning Points
Audience: All USAID Staff

This one-day, classroom-based course has been developed for USAID staff involved in the design and implementation of programming, to understand the requirement of climate risk screening for projects, activities, and strategies. Each course delivery will focus on a single sector, e.g., food security or health. Upon completion of this course, participants should be able to:

  1. Understand the basics of climate change science, the current and projected risks of climate variability and change, and the concepts of climate risk management. 
  2. Articulate how climate change relates to development work in the sector of focus and help others to make these connections.
  3. Understand the requirements of the ADS on climate-risk screening and how climate risk management integrates into strategy and project design.
  4. Identify concrete practices, next steps, and resources and partnerships needed to integrate climate change into programming in the sector of focus.