The AF’s Enhanced Direct Access project in Antigua and Barbuda is helping vulnerable communities in Antigua’s northwest coastal McKinnon’s watershed become more resilient to flooding, hurricanes, and higher temperatures by increasing the ability of the watershed to handle extreme rainfall through enhanced drainage and wetlands restoration. The project also provides vulnerable residents with the opportunity to access an innovative low-interest revolving loan program to climate-proof their homes.(Photo by AF)

Adaptation Fund Launches Call for Proposals for Projects Up to US$ 5M to Support Innovation and Enhanced Direct Access

Washington, D.C. (April 22, 2021) — The Adaptation Fund is now inviting proposals for projects and programmes up to US$ 5 million each to support innovation and enhanced direct access (EDA).

These projects are funded through new and additional funding windows that are available beyond countries’ regular project funding limits, and provide climate-vulnerable developing countries further opportunities to access adaptation funding and address the urgency of climate change. The window for innovation projects complements smaller innovation grants that the Fund launched previously.

All of the Adaptation Fund’s accredited National Implementing Entities (NIEs) are invited to submit proposals to seek funding for either of these types of projects. Additionally, Regional Implementing Entities (RIEs) and Multilateral Implementing Entities (MIEs) of the Fund are eligible to propose these larger innovation projects.

The deadline for this first round of proposals is August 9, 2021 at 18:00 (EST). Submitted proposals will be considered by the Board at its 37th meeting. The windows for the two types of projects, funded through Large Innovation Grants and the Enhanced Direct Access grants, were approved by the Adaptation Fund Board last October and are built on the Fund’s strategic pillars of Action, Innovation, and Learning and Sharing.

The Innovation Projects and Programmes will help countries roll out innovative adaptation practices, tools, and technologies or scale up innovations that are successfully working already. EDA Projects and Programmes will be concrete adaptation activities that address vulnerable communities’ urgent adaptation needs through locally led action, and that do so in a way that fosters devolved decision-making at the national and sub-national levels, while simultaneously building the capacity of local organizations to design and implement their own adaptation projects. The creation of an explicit funding window for EDA projects and programmes also builds and expands on several examples of ongoing Adaptation Fund projects that pioneered local EDA adaptation projects on the ground in countries such as Costa Rica, South Africa, Federated States of Micronesia and Antigua and Barbuda, and have fostered local and national partnerships in the process.

“The importance of innovation and local ownership in adaptation is pivotal, and these windows foster both,” said Adaptation Fund Board Chair Mr. Mattias Broman, of Sweden. “These larger innovation projects will help scale up and accelerate proven innovative solutions that are needed to address the climate urgency, and the Enhanced Direct Access projects build further on the Adaptation Fund’s pioneering Direct Access modality by directly empowering developing countries’ own institutions to allocate funding for local adaptation projects on the ground.”

“We’re seeing continued high demand for adaptation funding, especially among developing countries that have been hit hard by both climate change and the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Mr. Mikko Ollikainen, Manager of the Adaptation Fund.  “We are pleased to open these additional funding windows for vulnerable communities to accelerate urgently needed innovative and empowering localized adaptation actions on the ground and build broader resilience against climate change, environmental, health, and economic risks. The new types of projects complement the Adaptation Fund’s substantial portfolio of over 120 concrete adaptation projects and programmes by offering developing countries opportunities for new solutions to adapt to climate change in an efficient and sustainable manner.”

Innovation Projects through Large Grants

These innovation projects will be supported through grants of up to US$ 5 million each, under an initial total of US$ 30 million in available funding for this first round of proposals. The projects and programmes may have a single-country, regional, or multi-regional focus. They can address local adaptation challenges in various thematic areas, including but not limited to:

  • Advancement of gender equality (women and girls’ empowerment);
  • Agriculture;
  • Coastal zone management;
  • Disaster risk reduction;
  • Enhancement and protection of cultural heritage;
  • Focus on communities;
  • Food security;
  • Forests and Land Use;
  • Human health;
  • Inclusion of youth;
  • Innovative adaptation financing;
  • Marine and fisheries;
  • Nature-based solutions;
  • Rural development;
  • Social innovation;
  • Urban adaptation;
  • Water resources management; and
  • Wildfire management.

Each project proposal has to be accompanied by a signed letter of endorsement by the Designated Authority (DA) of the country, to confirm that the proposed activity will be in accordance with government adaptation priorities.

For more information about these Innovation Projects and how to apply, please visit this page.


Funding for EDA projects and programmes up to US$ 5 million per country will be available on an ongoing basis. The Adaptation Fund Board has provisionally set aside an initial total of US$ 20 million in available funding for the period between July 1, 2021 through June 30, 2022.

Following the objectives of EDA projects and programmes, the development, screening, review, and selection of local sub-projects will be done at the national and sub-national levels through NIEs involving multi-stakeholder engagement in the decision-making and financing processes. The funding window also encourages piloting innovative bottom-up approaches, generating replicable knowledge, and promoting public private partnerships. Final proposals will be reviewed by the Board.

To propose an EDA project or programme, a proposal completed in consultation with the guidelines on preparing an EDA proposal and a signed letter of endorsement by the DA have to be submitted.

For more information about the EDA projects and how to apply, please visit this page.

Contact:  For submission of proposals: Saliha Dobardzic,



Since 2010, the Adaptation Fund has committed nearly US$ 850 million for climate change adaptation and resilience projects and programmes, including more than 120 concrete, localized projects in the most vulnerable communities of developing countries around the world with 28 million total beneficiaries. It also pioneered Direct Access, empowering countries to access funding and develop projects directly through accredited national implementing entities.

Communications: Matthew Pueschel, or +1-202-473-6743



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