Module 2: Climate policy, finance and private sector engagement Copy


Welcome to module 2! Now we have a basic understanding of climate change, it is time to look deeper at some of the important frameworks and partners we can work with to address the climate crisis.

Learning Objectives 

In this module, you will:

  • Be introduced to climate policy.
  • Be introduced to climate finance.
  • Learn why and how to engage with the private sector.

Key video lectures

2a. Climate policy

This video lecture provides an introduction to climate policy and addresses the following questions:

  1. What are global agreements on climate change? Look especially at: mitigation, adaptation and loss & damage
  2. What do the global agreements mean for humanitarian action on the ground?
  3. How to engage in national-level dialogue on adaptation?
  4. What are IFRC’s climate related policy messages (2021)?

This video lecture features Carina Bachofen from the Red Cross Red Crescent Climate Centre.

2b. Climate finance

This video lecture provides an introduction to climate finance and addresses the following questions:

  1. What is climate finance?
  2. Why is climate finance for adaptation important?
  3.  How can we support communities to become more resilient through climate finance?

This video lecture features Yoko Okura from Mercy Corps.

2c. Private sector engagement

This video lecture provides an introduction to private sector engagement and addresses the following questions:

  1. What are benefits of working in partnership with the private sector? 
  2. Which factors need to be considered in setting up a partnership with the private sector?

This video lecture features David Nash from the Z Zurich Foundation.

Key Resources

1. How to engage with National Adaptation Plans

This practical guide with step by step explanations and checklists aims to support National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies’ engagement on national level policy discussions regarding climate change adaptation, particularly through the development of National Adaptation Plans by their respective governments. 

2. Accessing climate finance

National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies have expressed the need to gain better understanding of how to access existing climate funds that will enable them to mainstream climate change in their programmes.

This document aims at providing National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies with an overview of some dedicated funding sources for climate change. The guide also provides some basic information on how to access these funds.

3. Companies and Climate Resilience

The private sector is an essential partner in reducing the impacts of climate change and extreme weather events on vulnerable people. This 2019 working paper explores key entry points for meaningful engagement with the private sector.

Recommended Exercises

The recommended exercises in this course are exercises you can do with groups of people to consolidate some of the learning.

1. Mapping known climate change effects on vulnerable people

People tend to already have a lot of – maybe unrecognised – insights on how changing weather patterns are affecting vulnerability and risks in the country and in particular areas; the sources of information may be from the Enhanced Vulnerability and Capacity Assessment (EVCA) or other assessments. This exercise brings out the experiences from all participants.

2. Identify the issues to promote in local and national policies

Based on the insights from exercise 1 on how changing weather patterns are affecting vulnerability and risks in the country, you can shape key messages to use in policy dialogues. This will include how the specific, changing vulnerabilities observed in communities need to be addressed.

3. Explore how climate finance flows in your country

At the end of the exercise, you can answer a variety of questions about climate finance based on the data you can find in the OECD DAC data visualisation database.

Supporting materials include this presentation.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What’s the difference between the three main UNFCCC themes – Mitigation, Adaptation and Loss & Damage?

Climate Change Mitigation focuses on avoiding unmanageable climate change by reducing the amount of greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere by human activities; the Paris Agreement binds nations to undertake ambitious efforts to limit global warming to well below 2°C, preferably to 1.5°C, compared to pre-industrial levels. Climate Change Adaptation is about managing unavoidable climate change, i.e. by preparing for and protecting people and assets from the impacts of changing climate and extreme weather events. Loss & Damage is growing in prominence, where “Loss” can refer to irreversible impacts (such as the death of coral reefs due to warming oceans) while ‘Damage’ can refer to the destruction of infrastructure where reparation is possible. In UNFCCC negotiations focus is on how to “minimize, avert, and address” loss and damage – for example how do we deal with people who have lost their livelihoods due to adverse impacts of climate change. It is a hot debate issue, and the developed countries consider it a sub-issue under ‘Adaptation’.

2. What is the difference between NAPs and NDCs?

Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) and National Adaptation Plan (NAP) are complementary and can reinforce each other. Both can be the starting points for dialogues for National Societies. The NDC is a country’s formal commitment under the Paris Agreement and, therefore, the most authoritative – and all countries have an NDC. NDCs largely define the ‘what’ while the NAPs are more specific on the ‘how’. An NDC will be updated every five years (most recently 2021), whereas a NAP will be revised as governments and stakeholders see the need. The NAPs are formally only required (in the UNFCCC process, Cancun Agreement) for the so called Least Developed Countries (LDC) while non-LDCs are ‘invited’ to produce adaptation plans (see overview on UNFCCC website). In practice, most countries have some sort of adaptation plan – albeit they come in many different forms and titles. The formal NAPs usually guide the priorities (i.e. which activities can be funded by) the Green Climate Fund in a given country (LDC). See IFRC’s National Adaptation Planning: Why should the Red Cross and Red Crescent engage? and Using NDCs, NAPs and the SDGs to Advance Climate-Resilient Development from the NDC Partnership.

3. How are these policy developments relevant for humanitarians on the ground?

Through the local volunteers and community-based engagement civil society actors, including National Societies, have unique knowledge about the local risks and the impacts of climate change on the most vulnerable people. This knowledge is critical for ensuring that climate finance enables more local action, reaches those most vulnerable, and focuses not only on adaptation measures for managing long-term climate impacts but also on measures that can help communities manage current climate impacts – those unfolding now. Humanitarians also have a critical role to play in ensuring Disaster Risk Reduction plans and policies at national and sub-national level consider changing climate risks.

4. How to engage in national-level dialogue on adaptation?

The national adaptation planning often involves government units that humanitarians traditionally have not been working with (e.g. departments of environment etc.) so the new engagement requires identifying the relevant entry points and contact persons (climate focal points). Then the key steps involve: a) Understanding the key impacts of climate change affecting the country as well as the key policies in the: what climate impacts are being felt now? What is expected in the future? Does a NAP exist? What is the status of the NDC? b) Gather the evidence and local experiences from communities on the risk reduction and adaptation needs – and bring the evidence to the decision-makers. It can be valuable to partner with like-minded organisations for wider evidence-gathering.

5. Are there some examples of outcomes of policy dialogue?

es. As auxiliary to their governments, National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, with support from the IFRC and the Climate Centre, have provided technical advice to governments to strengthen disaster risk governance through laws and policies, and have strengthened the capacity of domestic stakeholders on disaster law and climate-related plans and policies. Based on their proven expertise, some National Societies have been invited to comment on the NDCs prior to submission, and others have succeeded in having their vulnerability and capacity assessments used in adaptation planning. And ongoing engagement in NAP planning has also in some cases enabled National Societies to access climate funding through their government.

6. What is ‘climate finance’ and what can it be used for?

Climate finance refers to local, national or international financing – from both public and  private  sources – that seek to support climate mitigation and adaptation action. In global funding, there is a huge imbalance between mitigation and adaptation, and overall there is a huge funding gap to help countries, communities and people to adapt to the rising risks. Only about 10% of the climate finance available from international donors is channelled to the local level, and vulnerable communities are not receiving finance at the volume or pace needed to adapt effectively (see news piece from 2018). Within the allocation to adaptation there is a risk that high-profile infrastructure projects may be favoured by planners, so for humanitarians the main task is to help ensure that climate finance enables more local action and reaches those most vulnerable people. Examples can be funding for activities such as capacity training to farmers on climate resilient agriculture practices, investment in technology to better conserve water in drought prone areas, early warning systems and disaster preparedness for more extreme events, general resilience building, or infrastructure (grey or green) that helps mitigate the impacts of  floods and erosion.

7. Can a National Society access climate funding?

Yes and no. The global funding programmes such as Green Climate Fund (GCF) and the Adaptation Fund (AF) channels all support through pre-approved partner institutions, so-called ‘Accredited Entities’ (in the case of GCF) or (National or Regional or Multilateral) ‘Implementing Entities’ (the AF) – the Red Cross Red Crescent Movement is not among them. However, the local implementation of programmes funded by GCF, AF (and others) requires local presence and capacity: National Societies could often play that role in relation to DRR, health and broader resilience building. A prerequisite is that the National Society has a convincing track record of incorporating practical climate change adaptation in their national and local projects (‘climate-smart programming’) – when that is in place, the National Society could be an attractive partner, both the government (with international or national funding) and the international partners.

Quiz (note: did not put this in the actual Quiz format)

  1. Does every country have a formal ‘National Adaptation Plan’?
    1. Yes, a NAP is required reporting under according to the UNFCCC Cancun Agreement
    2. No, only the so called Least Developed Countries shall produce a formal NAP under UNFCCC guidance, but other countries are invited to also develop a similar plan for their adaptation priorities
    3. No, countries do all their own adaptation planning without any UNFCCC guidance and reporting
    4. Yes, all countries have adaptation plans, but they may not formally be called ‘NAP’
  1. Can a Red Cross Red Crescent National Society apply for funding through the Adaptation Fund established under the UNFCCC Kyoto Protocol?
    1. Yes, the Adaptation Fund is open to application from all national and international agencies implementing adaptation projects in areas at high risk of climate change impacts
    2. Yes, the Red Cross Red Crescent Movement is approved as a partner organisation and National Societies can, therefore, apply for support to national adaptation activities
    3. No, only National Implementing Entities (NIE) can manage Adaptation Fund grants, but National Societies can potentially be a local partner and deliver the practical adaptation actions through their community outreach and volunteer network
    4. No, only the governments can access the Adaptation Fund
  1. What is a key difference between the NAPs and the NDCs?
    1. NAPs and NDCs are the same – ‘NDC’ is just a new name for the second generation of the adaptation plans according to the Paris Agreement
    2. They cover two different themes: NDCs define mitigation commitments only, while NAP defines the adaptation priorities only
    3. The NDC is a country’s formal commitment under the Paris Agreement and, therefore, the most authoritative; NAPs shall only be produced by Least Developed Countries in line with the Cancun Agreement
    4. NAPs are compiled by the national governments while NDCs are the formal documents from the UNFCCC 
  1. What is the main objective for the NAP policy dialogue?
    1. To convince the national governments to raise their ambitions on reducing the national greenhouse gas emissions
    2. To have the country ratify the Paris Agreement
    3. To have the National Society approved as ‘National Implementing Entity’ for the global Adaptation Fund
    4. To ensure adaptation planning and climate finance enables more local action and reaches the most vulnerable people
  1. What is the main benefit partnership with the private sector can offer?
    1. Funding – direct support for the programmes
    2. Expertise – bringing in different skills and experience to that normally available within the National Society
    3. Access – to wider resources and to influencing networks
    4. All the benefits listed above