2021 Climate Adaptation Action Plan - U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)
The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) recognizes the urgency of leveraging our expertise, experience, and partnerships to confront the climate crisis, which threatens to reverse years if not decades of hard-won development gains by exacerbating global inequities, increasing food and water scarcity, threatening lives and livelihoods, and contributing to conflict. With this new Climate Readiness Plan (CRP), USAID is revitalizing its approach to climate change adaptation, resilience, and risk mitigation across the Agency’s programs and operations and is also committing to ambitious mitigation targets and new adaptation actions in alignment with Biden-Harris Administration priorities, multilateral climate objectives, and the newest climate science. USAID’s approach to climate action includes both mitigation and adaptation.
Since 2015 and continuing today, in response to Executive Order (E.O.) 13677, Climate-Resilient International Development, USAID has systematically assessed, addressed, and adaptively managed climate risk in all new strategies and development programming. Over the coming years, USAID will further elevate and integrate climate variability and change considerations and implications in our Agency-wide policies, priorities, programming, partnerships, and operations. USAID will drive this work through a new and ambitious Climate Strategy, a draft of which USAID will release for public comment in November 2021 at the United Nations (UN) Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP 26). We will engage Missions and key sectors to ramp up our support immediately so that our partner countries— and USAID investments—are resilient to climate shocks and stresses, ensuring the necessary personnel and capacities are in place to position USAID to securely, effectively, and equitably advance development progress into the future and enable the transformations required to achieve shared climate goals. USAID is committed to increasing the resilience of our operations and helping countries achieve a prosperous, net-zero, and resilient future.
USAID developed this CRP in accordance with E.O. 14008, Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad. This plan includes a set of four priority adaptation actions USAID will implement on various timelines in the coming years, an assessment of the five biggest climate change vulnerabilities USAID faces related to its management functions, and a discussion of how USAID will enhance the climate literacy of its management workforce, ensure climate-ready sites and facilities, and ensure a climate-ready supply of products and services. USAID aligned this CRP with its budget priorities; existing Joint Strategic Plan (JSP), Fiscal Year (FY) 2018-2022, and forthcoming JSP, FY 2022-2026; forthcoming Climate Strategy; past Sustainability Plans and Reports; and forthcoming 2021 Sustainability Plan and Report. USAID’s Global Climate Change (GCC) Coordinator is responsible for leading the implementation of this CRP.
USAID developed its first Climate Change Adaptation Plan in 2012, in accordance with E.O. 13514, Federal Leadership in Environmental, Energy, and Economic Performance. The plan assessed climate change risks, vulnerabilities, and opportunities for USAID’s mission, programs, and operations; discussed USAID’s current and past activities to address those issues; and identified actions to understand and address internal climate change vulnerability. USAID’s Climate Change & Development Strategy set out principles, objectives, and priorities for USAID climate change assistance to help countries and communities prepare for and adapt to changes in climate.
USAID updated its Climate Change Adaptation Plan in 2013 to incorporate suggestions received during a 60-day public comment period and reported on progress on goals established in the first plan.
In June 2014, in compliance with E.O. 13653, Preparing the United States for the Impacts of Climate Change, USAID developed and published an Agency Adaptation Policy Statement and a supplement to its 2013 Climate Change Adaptation Plan. At that time, USAID also updated its 2013 Climate Change Adaptation Plan and Vulnerability Assessment. In its updated plan, USAID identified 35 adaptation actions it would explore and implement.
Since 2014, USAID has moved forward on those actions. As a result, USAID further integrated climate into program guidance and tools, training and capacity building, procurement, facilities management and operations, incentives, outreach and collaboration, and research and evaluation. Importantly, USAID developed and has implemented since 2015 its Climate Risk Management (CRM) policy, which is the means by which USAID has mainstreamed systematically assessing, addressing, and adaptively managing climate risks within all new Regional/Country Development Cooperation Strategies (R/CDCSs) and development programs, with nearly all new projects being screened at the design stage for climate risks.
Priority Adaptation Actions
USAID has identified four priority adaptation actions in this plan. USAID will seek to implement these adaptation actions on the specified timeframes and based on the specific variables detailed below. Some of these actions are ongoing, while some will require USAID to conduct additional research and explore new, more innovative approaches by collaborating with partners across the U.S. government (USG) and in the private and nongovernmental sectors. USAID will report its progress against these actions annually, as required by E.O. 14008. The four priority actions are:
- USAID Climate Strategy and Mainstreaming
- Climate Risk Management
- Ensuring a Climate-Ready Workforce
- Procurement and Supply Chains