Local Climate Adaptive Living Facility (LoCAL)

At a glance

2014-01-01 to 2019-01-12
Completed programmes
Solomon Islands
United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF)
Total budget
4,00 M€
GCCA priority area(s)

Local authorities in least developed countries (LDCs) are in a unique position to identify the climate change adaptation responses that best meet local needs, and typically have the mandate to undertake the small- to medium-sized adaptation investments required for building climate resilience. Yet they frequently lack the resources to do so – and even more to do so in a way that is aligned with established local decision making processes and public expenditure management cycles. In this context, the LoCAL programme seeks to support climate-resilient development by promoting:

  • the mainstreaming of climate change adaptation and climate resilience into local governments' planning and budgeting systems;
  • increased awareness of and response to climate change at the local level; and
  • increased amount of climate change adaptation finance available to local governments and local economies.

Planned activities include the provision of performance-based climate-resilient grants (PBCRGs) and technical and capacity building support to local authorities in selected LDCs. The process aims at ensuring that the voices of the communities and the poorest are reflected in local development plans and investments, so that climate finance reaches the ones who most need it.

LoCAL is implemented in three phases: phase I involves testing in a small number (2-3) of local government; phase II takes place in 5 to 10 of local governments; and phase III is a full national rollout based on the results and lessons of the previous phases (Phase III is expected to be financed by central government through a re-adjustment of the architecture of existing resources and/or through international climate finance).

  • Resilience and adaptation to climate change is a major issue for LDCs that threatens to slow down their growth and hamper their poverty reduction efforts.
  • One way of rapidly addressing climate change and building resilient communities and economies is to engage the local level more meaningfully, as this is where responsibility for small- to medium-sized adaptation investments typically lies, and local authorities are in the best position to identify the adaptation responses that best meet local needs and fit local circumstances.
  • Yet most local authorities in LDCs are not in a position to contribute effectively to climate change adaptation and resilience building as they lack appropriate budgetary allocations from the national level to do so, are unable to support the incremental costs of climate change adaptation with their own resources, and at best can only access climate finance through national programmes with specific arrangements rather than through mechanisms aligned with their own established decision making processes and public expenditure management cycles.
GCCA's action programme
Geographical scope
Country groups
Initial GCCA/GCCA+ contribution
4,000,000.00 €

Overall objective

Promote climate change-resilient communities by increasing financing for and investment in climate change adaptation at the local level in least developed countries.

Specific objective

Specific objective: Increase local authorities' access to climate finance to implement climate change adaptation activities in target countries.

Planned activities include the provision of performance-based climate-resilient grants (PBCRGs) and technical and capacity building support to local authorities in selected LDCs.

Within selected countries, primarily rural local authorities of the lowest or second-lowest tier in the government structure are targeted, as well as small towns of under 600 000 people.


Result 1: Climate change adaptation is mainstreamed into (local) governments' planning and budgeting systems.

Result 2: Increased awareness of the role of and response to climate change at the local level.

Result 3: Increased amount of climate change adaptation finance available to local governments and local economies.


Result 1

  • Climate information and vulnerability and adaptation assessments are reviewed or undertaken to inform the mainstreaming effort. Needs and capacities are assessed.
  • The flow of funds and mechanism for PBCRG operation is designed, ensuring that LoCAL grants are channelled through established systems (rather than parallel or ad hoc structures) and assessed on the basis of outputs and outcomes. The technical features of the PBCRG include a set of minimum conditions, performance measures and a menu of investments, which identify areas of action within the local authorities' remit that can promote climate resilience.
  • Local governments develop in a participatory manner local adaptation plans or programmes, integrate adaptation in their own local development planning and budgeting and cost and select adaptation measures to be financed through the PBCRG.
  • Grants are disbursed to support the implementation of LoCAL investments in the context of local authorities' annual planning and budgeting cycles, and selected measures are implemented.
  • Performance are appraised in terms of the degree to which additional resources have been used to build resilience and promote adaptation to climate change, and audits are undertaken.
  • Capacity building activities are undertaken at various stages according to identified needs; they target the policy, institutional and individual levels.

Result 2

  • Lessons learned, effective approaches to local adaptation and good practices emerging from the programme's experience are compiled and disseminated. To support this work, a database of LoCAL-supported actions will be developed to enable reporting by type of activity, by country, by type of ecosystem, by adaptation challenge, etc.
  • Technical assistance and knowledge resources are provided to participating countries and to a wider audience to explain and illustrate the role of local authorities in supporting effective and efficient adaptation.
  • The impact of the LoCAL project portfolio is monitored and evaluated to determine whether and how they lead to verifiable and meaningful increases in resilience to climate change.

Result 3

  • Development partners, national governments and local authorities are continuously engaged on resource mobilisation. This involves supporting national partners to identify potential sources of climate finance (including from an improved distribution of domestic fiscal resources), as well as working with the international community and in-country donors to increase the allocation of climate funding available and accessible to local authorities.

Achievements to date
  • From its inception to 2018, LoCAL observed an increase of 39 per cent in the number of local government authorities engaged in the mechanism, from 29 in 7 countries in 2014 to 107 in 14 countries as of December 2018, representing over 6 million people.
  • Some 637 climate change adaptation interventions were financed across 11 countries using LoCAL grants, mostly infrastructure investments (i.e. 64 per cent of total), of which 612 were successfully completed and another 25 are under implementation. The portfolio addressed a range of sectors – including water and sanitation, agriculture, disaster prevention and preparedness, transport and storage (which combined represent 79 per cent of the total) – as well as a diverse set of ecosystems, from the mountainous areas of Bhutan to the drylands of Niger.
  • LoCAL delivered close to $17 million, with grants and technical assistance to countries totalling $11.9 million.
  • UNCDF LoCAL has invested around $1 million of its own resources and mobilized $59.7 million from donors and parallel funding from governments.
  • Memoranda of understanding or project agreements were signed with national governments for the deployment of Phase I or II LoCAL programmes in Bangladesh, Benin, Bhutan, Cambodia, The Gambia, Ghana, Lao PDR, Lesotho, Mali, Mozambique, Nepal, Niger, Tanzania and Tuvalu.
  • The original LoCAL country, Bhutan, has reached Phase III and is implementing national roll-out with a target of scaling up the PBCRG programme to 100 local governments by 2020 with European Union (EU) budget support. Cambodia has also started Phase III. Its National Committee for Subnational Democratic Development Secretariat (NCDD-S) secured additional financing for scaling up PBCRGs through the International Fund for Agricultural Development's (IFAD's) Agriculture Services Programme for Innovation, Resilience and Extension (ASPIRE), which will now support climate change adaptation investments in 32 districts across the country.
  • In Benin, Bhutan, Cambodia, Mali and Tanzania – and with LoCAL support – an agency involved in decentralization and/or with LoCAL was nominated as the country's national implementing entity to pursue accreditation with the Green Climate Fund (GCF), with a view to scaling up LoCAL (Phase III) through direct access to GCF funding. To this end, three of these countries have, with support from the LoCAL Secretariat, submitted concept notes to the GCF.
  • Significant climate risk assessment activities took place during the referenced period. Bhutan, Cambodia and Ghana, with support from the Korea Environment Institute, began developing national scientific climate change reports. Benin, Ghana, Mali and Niger have benefited from a thorough review of their respective climate risk assessment landscape; and Benin and Niger have begun piloting a new, country-based methodology for climate risk assessments. These efforts pave the way for robust, science-based local climate assessments to inform local planning and investment.
  • The LoCAL Programme Board met five times during the reference period, providing a unique SouthSouth platform for LoCAL participating countries and development partners to learn and share experiences and good practices on subnational adaptation financing and implementation using the LoCAL PBCRG mechanism.
  • LoCAL and its participating countries advocated for better recognition of local government's role in addressing climate change through presentations at and participation in over 20 high-level events.
  • Important partnerships were established to advance cooperation in strategic areas such as adaptation monitoring with the World Resources Institute; enhanced support for nationally determined contribution (NDC) implementation in LDCs, small island developing states (SIDS) and African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries with the ACP Secretariat; climate risk assessments with the Korea Environment Institute; and improved technical capacities for water management in collaboration with the Korea Water Resources Corporation.
  • LoCAL's growing visibility and proven track record led to the mechanism's being featured in a guidance note – Vertical Integration in National Adaptation Plan (NAP) Processes; A Guidance Note for Linking National and Sub-national Adaptation – published by the National Adaptation Plan (NAP) Global Network
  • Benin has listed LoCAL as an adaptation measure under its NDCs. The country highlighted the LoCAL contribution in bridging 'the gap for financing adaptation to climate change on the level of local communities while building their institutional and technical capacity to address climate risks and challenges in the process of local development'. The alignment of LoCAL country initiatives with the NDCs has been analysed across 10 countries and documents in the publication 'LoCAL-izing' NDCs: Using LoCAL to Empower Local Governments in Contributing towards Achievement of Nationally Determined Contributions.
  • LoCAL continued to share information via country news, stories and videos on its website, in English and French. The LoCAL YouTube page has reached over 146,562 viewers to date.
  • The LoCAL publication Financing Local Adaptation to Climate Change: Experiences with Performance-Based Climate Resilience Grants documents LoCAL experience over 2014–2018 and serves as supplementary material to the NAP Guidelines developed by the LDC Expert Group of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
  • As a partner of the Global Centre of Excellence for Climate Adaptation, LoCAL was invited to share lessons and experiences in financing adaptation through local government globally.

Challenges and lessons learned
  • Several lessons, outlined below, can be drawn from LoCAL's experience in pilot countries and in expanding the portfolio to new countries.
  • By being fully aligned with the national fiscal transfer mechanisms, the PBCRG system can help strengthening the existing national allocation mechanisms. LoCAL funds follow the regular public expenditure and disbursement cycles thereby creating wider confidence in the system and strengthening national capacity. In Benin, for example, the PBCRG system in place is fully aligned with the countries' national investment funds for local authorities. In the long term, this will also improve confidence in the system more widely thereby helping local governments get access to global adaptation finance via the national allocation mechanisms if these are accredited by the relevant global climate finance institutions (such as GCF).
  • There is no one-size-fits-all approach to the size of the grant, which must take into account issues of fiscal sustainability and scalability, as well as the absorption capacity of the local governments concerned. This in turn can depend a lot on the capacities of the local governments as well as the national allocation mechanisms, which constitute important criteria to assess in determining the right size of the grant. For example, the PBCRG in Mozambique will constitute an average top-up of around 15 per cent.
  • Increasing the local government capacity in public finance management is essential in ensuring that they are able to meet the minimum conditions as part of the performance based grant mechanism. In Tuvalu, after a series of intervention on capacity building, the local governments (Kaupules) are expected to meet the minimum conditions for the PBCRG, allowing them to access LoCAL grants within the next few months.
  • Soft adaptation measures like awareness raising, training or climate information services represent a minority of LoCAL interventions. Yet, they they are crucial in ensuring that climate change considerations are adequately mainstreamed into local planning processes. In Niger for instance, the training of local early alert and resilience committees can act as a booster to improving the knowledge and understanding of climate change adaptation of the local population.
  • A high commitment of the national and local governments in communicating the results of phase I to the climate change community increases the chances of the respective countries to scale up their initiative. In fact, adequate knowledge sharing and learning as promoted via the LoCAL Board and its members, is crucial in highlighting the results and the impact of the mechanism and can help the national institutions access a wider pool of climate financing in the long-term through the demonstrated successes of the programme. It also improves the efficiency of the programme implementation by highlighting what does and does not work in specific circumstances.