How to finance community resilience

By Oliver Mundy and Ilaria Firmian

Developed countries have committed to mobilising $100 billion in climate finance per year by 2020 to support climate adaptation and mitigation in developing countries. A large part of the money is meant for rural communities in developing countries, but how can the finance get to them?

This question was discussed at an event organised by IFAD as part of the Climate and Development Days in Bonn "How can communities access financial support for strengthening resilience?"

Public institutions, especially local governments, are in the best position to channel funding to vulnerable communities. They know the specific needs of their often very diverse communities. 

The county of Makueni in Kenya has established County Adaptation Planning Committees to help prioritise investments. Grass-roots committees guide the county by telling them what needs to be done. Alice Caravani from the Overseas Development Institute explained that similar activities are also being undertaken in Ethiopia.

IFAD's "Adaptation for Smallholder Agriculture Programme" channels climate finance to smallholder farmers by co-financing IFAD's regular agricultural programmes. 

Carl Wesselink, Director of South-South North said that attain results at scale we have to work within the system and work together with public institutions.

Many public institutions are often underfunded and lack the capacities to access and manage climate funding. Most do not have mechanisms in place to set up programmes and activities for their communities. At the same time funding procedures are complex.

Local governments require massive capacity building to be able to set up the right frameworks and design programmes that help their communities to adapt. Local communities have to participate in this process to express their diverse needs.

Financial institutions such as the Green Climate Fund, Global Environment Facility and IFAD have to help set up effective mechanisms to channel financing to communities through governments.