Community Adaptation Small Grants Facility project concludes with a proposal to establish a ‘Locally Led Adaptation Grant Facility’ in South Africa

By Mpfunzeni Tshindane (SANBI)

Date: 31 January 2022

The Community Adaptation Small Grants Facility project, which was funded by the Adaptation Fund, has concluded with the development of a ‘Blueprint’ for the establishment of a ‘Locally Led Adaptation Grant Facility’ in South Africa.

The project supported twelve community-based organisations to conceptualise and implement locally led climate change adaptation responses, delivering a range of tangible benefits for 1 921 direct and 9 006 indirect beneficiaries. The experiences and insights that emerged from the project are captured in a series of nine Case Studies. These case studies, together with extensive consultations with other grant makers, intermediaries, academic institutions, the private sector, project partners and project beneficiaries, informed SANBI’s ‘Blueprint for Enhanced Direct Access in South Africa.

The ‘Blueprint’ proposes the establishment of a ‘Locally Led Adaptation Grant Facility’ that supports interventions that respond directly to the needs of vulnerable communities, and delivers tangible adaptation outcomes for those who are most impacted by climate change. The Grant Facility will enable the simultaneous management and governance of multiple investments, with anticipated efficiencies and economies of scale. It will do so through the creation of differentiated modalities, which respond to the nuanced nature of local vulnerabilities, and enable a range of adaptation responses, at different scales and with diverse objectives.

The modalities will be delivered through the existing systems of established grant makers in South Africa, capitalising on their strengths and complementing existing investments while integrating climate change responses into their programmes of work. A downstream goal of the Grant Facility will be to find ways for other co-financiers to support the Facility and its functions. This includes aggregating international and domestic financial resources in a single investment, and making the case for increased public sector expenditure and alignment with municipal budgeting processes.

A Policy Brief entitled ‘Improving Enhanced Direct Access to Climate Finance” captures the high level insights and recommendations that emanated from the project. Amongst others, these recommendations promote the integration of indigenous knowledge and gender mainstreaming in project development, empowerment of sub-national government, sufficiently resourcing capacity building and ensuring that there is flexibility around grant sizes and risk management mechanisms.

“The Community Adaptation Small Grants Facility project demonstrated the importance of developing and implementing locally led climate adaptation responses while working in tandem with community-based organisations and local government partners. The ‘Blueprint for Enhanced Direct Access in South Africa’ is an important step towards scaling up and replicating this work, in the context of international climate finance” stated Dr. Mandy Barnett of the SANBI at a stakeholder consultation workshop.

The project was led by SANBI as South Africa’s National Implementing Entity for the Adaptation Fund. SouthSouthNorth was the project’s Executing Entity whilst Conservation South Africa and CHoiCe Trust were Facilitating Agencies in the Namakwa and Mopani Districts respectively. Project implementation partners worked closely with the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment and the Namakwa and Mopani District Municipalities in the identification and implementation of locally led climate change adaptation responses.

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