Financing local responses to climate change: the bridge that saves lives
  • October 22, 2015

Around the world, local governments are finding themselves at the frontlines of combating climate change. Yet, they seldom have the financial resources or capacities to take the necessary action and build local resilience.

In the Cambodian province of Battambang, most people are farmers and laborers. They stay in the village during planting season, and in the off-season they migrate to other places to find work as laborers.

O’Chamnap is a small village located near the main road. It is a passing point for many families that go to the fields. The location is strategic, but is exposed to flash, strong, and unpredictable floods, often occurring during the night. Few people know how to swim, making fast flowing waters a real threat to human life.

Thanks to UNCDF’s Local Climate Adaptive Living Facility (LoCAL), the O’Chamnap community was finally able to build a climate-resilient bridge. 

The LoCAL facility connects to existing national inter-governmental fiscal transfer systems and supplements capital grants to local governments with performance-based climate adaptation funding. In this way, the programme is supporting local governments to cope with the increased cost of building resilience to climate change and natural disasters.

As of today, LoCAL has provided $3.2 million grants to 38 local governments, representing a population of over four and half million across nine countries in Asia and Africa. The ultimate objective of this support is to reach over 230 million people across these countries. These investments are part of a wider initiative for local climate resilience in the least developed countries, in which UNCDF is supporting national efforts to secure Green Climate Fund financing for verifiable local resilience building.

The strength of the approach pioneered by LoCAL comes from the participation and inputs of local communities and local governments: with the support of central and provincial authorities, local governments learn how to mainstream climate change in their existing development plans. As a result, climate change adaptation becomes a natural part of local planning processes.