Adaptation Fund Side Event at Bonn Climate Change Conference Highlights Concrete, Innovative Actions on Ground

Bonn, Germany (May 24, 2017) — As the Adaptation Fund continues to build momentum toward formally serving the landmark Paris Agreement, it hosted a well-received side event on May 11 during the SBI46 international climate change conference in Bonn. The event featured presentations of Fund projects that are building climate change resilience in vulnerable communities in Antigua and Barbuda, Morocco, South Africa, Senegal and Honduras.

The event, “Accelerating Implementation of the Paris Agreement through Concrete and Innovative Adaptation Projects in Vulnerable Communities,” was webcast with a video made available here.

“We were pleased to have such a high turnout and honored to have speakers from our National Implementing Entities showcase innovations of the Fund that are having positive impacts in countries while serving as models that can be scaled up with additional resources,” said Michael Kracht, Adaptation Fund Board Chair.

Presenters from three of the Fund’s 25 accredited National Implementing Entities (NIEs) highlighted groundbreaking experiences in Direct Access, which gives developing countries the opportunity to access climate finance and develop projects directly through NIEs while building their own capacities to adapt to climate change.

The Fund’s pioneering ‘Enhanced Direct Access’ project in South Africa was also discussed. Implemented by the Fund’s NIE for South Africa, SANBI (South African National Biodiversity Institute), the project is helping vulnerable rural communities adapt to rising temperatures and changing rainfall patterns through a US$ 2.44 million small grant facility (SGF) that directly empowers selection and funding of local level responses to climate change. Nearly 3,000 direct beneficiaries of the innovative project are benefitting from climate resilient livelihoods, climate smart agriculture and climate-proofed infrastructure. It has significantly increased country ownership and governance in adaptation, and led SANBI to develop a project concept for the Green Climate Fund to expand the work of the SGF.

“Without the Adaptation Fund we would not be able to do what we do in the climate finance space,” said Mandy Barnett, Project Director of SANBI. “The Adaptation Fund provides a very important stepping stone to allow entities to access climate finance. We hope that this will be something that other NIEs will be able to achieve, as well.”

 Meryem Andaloussi, Head of the Environment Service for Morocco’s Agency for Agricultural Development (another NIE of the Fund), discussed a US$ 9.97 million project funded by the Adaptation Fund that is improving adaptive capacities of vulnerable communities in Morocco to manage drought by reviving ancient underground water canals and restoring palm groves for agricultural purposes. It is diversifying incomes and improving living conditions, particularly among women and youth. After first being accredited as an NIE through the Adaptation Fund, the Agency for Agricultural Development further gained accreditation with the Green Climate Fund through a fast-track process that provides access to potentially more funds for other climate projects. “I consider the Adaptation Fund to be my first school or university in Direct Access to climate finance,” Andaloussi advised. “I visited the project beneficiaries and I’m delighted to share their thanks for improving the livelihoods and stability of the community. I have always believed in this Fund and will continue to do so.”

 A newly approved US$ 9.97 million Adaptation Fund project in Antigua and Barbuda to reduce climate vulnerability was also shared. It will provide revolving loans for low income households to raise homes to withstand flooding and stagnant water, and establish rooftop water tanks to address inconsistent water supply caused by droughts. Wetland areas will be created and rehabilitated, and drainage systems, retention ponds and storm shelters will also be built. Through door-to-door surveys and needs assessments, the project has closely involved the community.“This Fund is going to do wonders in our community,” said Ruth Spencer, a member of the technical advisory committee in Antigua and Barbuda. “I am very grateful for the strong involvement of the local community groups in all the processes, which in itself is so empowering.”

The event also featured discussion on the importance of civil society in raising awareness for and enhancing Adaptation Fund projects. Emmanuel Seck, Program Manager for ENDA Energie in Senegal and a member of the Adaptation Fund NGO Network, cited Fund projects where NGO engagement made positive impacts — including one in Senegal that helped vulnerable communities manage sea rise and another in Honduras that installed systems to manage water supplies through droughts and safeguard homes from mudslides during torrential rainfalls. “For the sustainability of projects, there is a need for stakeholders to take ownership of the projects,” Seck advised.

“This event was timely since we will commemorate the Fund’s 10th anniversary later this year to further highlight some of its pioneering innovations in climate finance and concrete adaptation actions,” added Mikko Ollikainen, Manager of the Adaptation Fund Board Secretariat.

The event followed recent successes of the Adaptation Fund, including positive results at COP22 in Morocco where it surpassed its US $80 million 2016 resource mobilization goal and made significant progress in its roadmap to serve the Paris Agreement when conference parties decided that the Fund “should” serve the agreement. Necessary preparatory work to move the roadmap forward continued during the Bonn conference, where country parties also discussed the topic of the Adaptation Fund serving the Paris Agreement and the third review of the Adaptation Fund.

The COP22 results recognized the Fund’s critical value in serving the goals of the Agreement by building national capacities and strengthening resilience in vulnerable communities through its 63 concrete projects that help fill a global adaptation funding gap.

Furthermore, the Adaptation Fund Board approved a record US$ 60.3 million in new project funding in March, and high demand for the Fund has continued with 54 proposals received over the last two board meetings. The Fund recently received high marks for its forward-thinking  Environmental and Social Policy from the UN Special Rapporteur as a possible model for a new human rights mechanism called for in the Paris Agreement. The Fund’s policy was singled out as having strong safeguards, which promote human rights, gender equality, marginalized groups, natural habitats and other principles in adaptation projects.


Since 2010, the Adaptation Fund has committed US $418 million to support 67 countries, with more than 5.3 million direct beneficiaries.

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


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