Innovation Facility

The Innovation Facility emerged from the innovation pillar of the Fund’s Medium-Term Strategy for 2018-2022 to further build on the Fund’s innovative aspects. The pillar’s objective is to accelerate, encourage and enable innovation for effective, long-term adaptation to climate change.

It is aligned closely with the Paris Climate Agreement, which calls accelerating, encouraging and enabling innovation ‘critical’ for an effective global response to climate change.

An innovative AF project is building resilience in vulnerable Colombian communities, and has been scaled up to achieve transformative impacts. (Photo by UNDP)

The Fund has supported innovation throughout its history. The Facility builds on the Fund’s core strengths and comparative advantage as a highly functioning and innovative fund established to finance concrete adaptation projects in developing countries that are particularly vulnerable to climate change. The Fund has demonstrated its capacity to innovate by pioneering new models for accessing finance such as Direct Access and Enhanced Direct Access, new services that empower national institutions such as the Fund’s Readiness Programme, and concrete adaptation projects that directly reach, engage, empower and benefit the most vulnerable communities and social groups.

Innovation themes covered will include but not be limited to advancing gender equality, disaster risk reduction, enhancing cultural heritage, inclusion of youth, enhancing communities, urban adaptation, nature-based solutions, social innovation, water and food security, innovative adaptation financing, and others.

The Facility offers small and large grants through three different windows

Small grants (up to US$250,000 each) will be awarded to vulnerable developing countries through two routes:

1. directly through the Fund’s accredited National Implementing Entities (NIEs), these grants were launched in December 2018 at COP24; and

2. through a Multilateral Implementing Entity (MIE) Aggregator Mechanism to other entities that are not accredited with the Fund (organizations, groups, associations, institutions, businesses, agencies, NGOs, youth, vulnerable groups, and others). The US$10 million mechanism, referred to as the Adaptation Fund Climate Innovation Accelerator (AFCIA), is funded by AF and carried out by its MIE partners UNDP and UNEP along with the Climate Technology Centre and Network. The mechanism was announced at COP25 in December 2019, and began running in November 2020.

3. A large grants mechanism (up to US$ 5 million each) to roll out proven solutions in new countries and regions or to scale up innovations already demonstrated to work. Large grants are available to all AF accredited implementing entities (NIEs, MIEs and RIEs), and an initial call for proposals for US$ 30 million (approved by the Board in October 2020) was issued in early 2021.

Vision and Definition for Innovation

At the 36th meeting the Board adopted through document AFB/B.36/8 a VISION and DEFINITION for innovation within the Fund as a way towards a more concrete understanding of how the Board pursues innovation through programming.


AGCID in Chile is innovating new approaches to water management, including establishing emergency water access stations during drought through an AF innovation grant. (Photo by Violeta Leiva Milanca)

A Task Force composed of Board members representing developing and developed countries has been established to further define and elaborate on the Fund’s vision for innovation, including review criteria, risk appetite, its focus on particularly vulnerable groups, countries and sectors, and innovation in the context of COVID-19.

Open Access Training the Facility also offers a new innovation training, which is available for free to vulnerable countries, implementing entities, interested partners and stakeholders to share insights on innovation and serve as a guide to help organizations prepare innovation grants. Click here for the training.

Innovation Days is a learning-and-sharing platform for innovation. Organized by the Adaptation Fund for the first time as part of Adaptation Futures 2023, it brings together a wide network of stakeholders, partners and communities. These actors bring real life examples to capture the diverse nature of adaptation innovation. Their knowledge inspires, engages, and opens up meaningful discussion. For more information, and to watch the videos of the sessions, click here.


Attachment Type Size
Adaptation Fund Innovation Facility-Brochure PDF 1 MB
AF Innovation Funding Windows PDF 264 KB