Photo of a light blue glacial lake surrounded by high rocky and snowy mountains.

Climate

Countries around the world are contending with a wide range of climate impacts, from more intense heat waves, droughts, storms, and floods, to slower-moving changes like sea level rise and ocean acidification. Climate variability and trends have profound impacts across sectors that undermine current and future progress towards development goals, such as food security, improved health and biodiversity, and economic growth.
 
To improve the effectiveness and sustainability of development efforts, national governments anticipate and adapt to expected changes in their development investments, and donors such as USAID practice climate risk management, whereby they systematically assess, address, and adaptively manage program risks for present and future climate conditions. Well-designed and accessible climate information services, tools, and resources are essential to prepare for and adapt to change. A well organized, forward-looking response by governments and the private sector, awareness and understanding of how best to adapt, and access to the necessary resources to take adaptive measures are all important building blocks to successful climate adaptation.
 
Sound land management and advanced energy solutions represent long-term solutions to climate change, while promoting economic growth and livelihoods here and now. These pathways help countries meet their targets for greenhouse gas emission reductions. Forest and soil conservation, management, and restoration are nature-based solutions that reduce land-based emissions, the source of approximately one-quarter of global greenhouse gas emissions. Cost-effective renewable energy and energy efficiency improvements present opportunities for addressing the largest, global source of emissions while building clean, reliable energy sectors that can grow economies, secure cleaner air and greater environmental sustainability, and support developing country partners on their journey to self-reliance.

Features

Sustainable Landscapes

Partnering with governments, USAID is assisting in planning and implementing policies to address drivers of land-based emissions. By building capacity for rigorous, transparent monitoring of forest and carbon stocks, USAID supports REDD+ project development.  Other activities work to identify better practices and on-the-ground opportunities for low-emissions agriculture.

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Adaptation

USAID has partnered with more than 24 countries to help reduce their vulnerability to weather and climate risks. Through technical assistance, USAID supports countries and communities to build their capacity to independently predict and prepare for climate variability and change so they can effectively deal with associated stresses and minimize losses and disruption.

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Energy

USAID partners with countries to establish the foundations for low emission energy systems. Private investment in clean technologies such as such as wind, solar, geothermal, and small-scale hydropower is helping to scale up deployment of these systems. Technical assistance from USAID helps countries plan for and design efficient ways of integrating variable renewable energy into national energy systems.

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Climate Risk Management

Climate risk management (CRM) improves the effectiveness and sustainability of USAID’s efforts, ensuring U.S. taxpayer dollars are well spent and more effectively supporting countries in their journey to self-reliance. USAID implements CRM by systematically assessing, addressing, and adaptively managing climate risk in new strategies, projects, and activities, facilitating resilience to both the current and future climate.

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Integration

A number of USAID activities are now contributing to both climate change and development objectives. In addition, USAID is systematically conducting climate risk management of all new USAID strategies, projects, and activities to improve their impact and sustainability. The agency also invests in formal and informal training of its staff on global climate change considerations to grow its technical capacity to address climate change across all sectors.

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Upcoming Events

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Between 2014 and 2015, Jamaica experienced one of the worst seasons of drought in recent history. The impact on the Jamaican economy, especially rural livelihoods, was devastating. According to reports, the annual agricultural production declined by 30 percent from 2013 to 2014. This, along with brush fires, resulted in a $J1 billion ($6.5 million) loss for the economy.
USAID is supporting renewable energy in Vietnam — through strategic, discrete interventions to remove barriers for the private sector.
As the 26th Conference of Parties approaches, many least developed countries have struggled to advance their National Adaptation Plan (NAP) processes. A decade after the introduction of the NAP process, now is an opportune time to reflect on lessons learned and consider how USAID and other development partners can most effectively support developing countries’ NAP processes into the future.