World Resource Institute

Locally Led Action Track

For more information or to get involved, please contact Cristina Rumbaitis Del Rio (Cristina.RdelRio@wri.org) and Saleemul Huq (saleemul.huq@icccad.net).


While communities are at the frontlines of climate change impacts, they rarely have an effective voice in prioritizing, decision-making, and implementing the actions that most affect them. The Global Commission on Adaptation’s flagship report, Adapt Now, calls for increasing the volume of devolved and decentralized funding available to local governments, community-based organizations, and others working at the local level to identify, prioritize, implement, and monitor climate adaptation solutions. This is now even more important as local institutions are on the frontlines of responding to the COVID-19 crisis and its consequences, as well as the climate crisis.

Action Track Goal

The Commission’s Locally Led Action Track goal is to spur funders and intermediary institutions to expand financial resources available to local governments, community-based organizations, and other local actors, and to help create structures that support appropriate subsidiarity and give local groups greater influence on decision-making.

The Commission is mobilizing a wide range of partners to achieve this goal by pursuing five main activities in the Year of Action.

1. Mobilize international funding for locally led adaptation

We aim to increase the quality and quantity of devolved climate finance. To mobilize commitments, we will engage funders and support them in expanding, strengthening, or creating new or planned initiatives on finance for locally led adaptation action. We will convene dialogues to bring grassroots leaders into conversations with donors as they design mechanisms to support locally led action.

  • Key 2021 deliverable: A minimum of 3 major donors commit to expanding or creating mechanisms to fund locally led action, totaling at least $500 million.
  • Long-term target: Donors, aid agencies and governments significantly increase the quantity and quality of devolved finance available for locally led adaptation action by 2030, in partnership with grassroots leaders. 

2. Raise global ambition and establish foundational principles for locally led adaptation

To build upon and support the momentum already created on locally led action, we are bringing together a growing set of partners to endorse a set of principles for locally led adaptation for announcement at the Climate Adaptation Summit on January 25, 2021. Co-developed by civil society and grassroots organizations, funders and governments, these principles will serve as a foundation to guide effective and equitable adaptation and raise global ambition and priority for locally led action.  Through the process of engaging these diverse partners we hope to build political capital to develop an alliance of champions who would continue to support advocacy, accountability, and learning for locally led adaptation beyond the Year of Action.

  • Key 2021 deliverable: At least 10 institutions endorse principles for locally led action leading up to the Climate Adaptation Summit.
  • Long-term target: An alliance of major funders, governments, international, and local organizations provide ongoing learning, knowledge-sharing and improved accountability and cooperation for locally led adaptation. 

3. Improve finance tracking and monitoring, evaluation, and learning to enable locally led adaptation

Recognizing the importance of iterative learning to support decentralized finance and decision-making, and to enhance our collective knowledge of effective models, we are working with partners to develop monitoring, evaluation, and learning (MEL) guidance. This guidance will aim to support bottom-up learning and understanding of outcomes and effectiveness of locally led adaptation programs, and recognition of local knowledge and metrics of resilience. We are also assessing options for improved tracking of finance and finance decision-making to increase transparency and accountability of locally led action.

  • Key 2021 deliverables: MEL guidance document and paper outlining finance-tracking options.
  • Long-term target: Learning and tracking mechanisms exist to support donor and implementer capacity to monitor, plan, implement, innovate and evolve locally led adaptation practice by 2021.

4. Engage grassroots organizations

We will work with grassroots organizations and other partners to showcase the experience, knowledge and solutions that local leaders are pioneering to build resilience. Using a variety of mediums such as media, blogs, and video, we will leverage the platform of the Commission to help raise awareness of the imperative for locally led adaptation and evidence for effective and equitable adaptation strategies. We also will convene grassroots-donor dialogues to shape the design of more effective mechanisms to support locally led action, and consult with grassroots and local actors to shape the Action Track’s progress and deliverables.

  • Key 2021 deliverable: Partnership with grassroots organizations and Action Track partners to highlight and share local knowledge and adaptation solutions.
  • Long-term target: Increased awareness and understanding of the vital role of local leadership build resilience to climate change. 

5. Engage national government leadership for local action

We will identify barriers and solutions to enable governments to increasingly devolve climate adaptation funding. We will identify priority countries and provide them: 1) tools to support the devolution of climate funding; 2) knowledge products that fill information gaps; and 3) advocacy for increased public, private, and international funding for local adaptation actions. These efforts will give countries access to a network of partners that can help them better devolve climate funding and implement strategies for enhancing local community involvement in adaptation.

  • Key 2021 deliverable: At least 5 countries pledge to devolve climate finance and initiate measures to support devolution.
  • Long-term target: 50 countries have supportive national enabling environments for locally led adaptation action and finance by 2030. 

Current Partners

  • ACT Alliance
  • Adaptation Fund
  • Asian Development Bank
  • BRAC
  • CARE Denmark
  • Climate Justice Resilience Fund
  • Climate Wise Women
  • DFID (UK)
  • Gaia Foundation
  • Ghana Climate Innovation Centre
  • GIZ (Germany)
  • Global Resilience Partnership
  • Green Climate Fund
  • Huairou Commission
  • International Center for Climate Change and Development
  • International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies
  • International Institute for Environment and Development
  • Least Developed Countries Universities Consortium for Climate Change
  • Oxfam Novib
  • Pan African Climate Justice Alliance
  • Red Cross Red Crescent Climate Centre
  • Slum/Shack Dwellers International
  • South South North
  • Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency
  • UN Development Programme
  • Women’s Environment and Development Organization
  • Women in Informal Employment: Globalizing and Organizing
  • World Bank