Training Guide: Climate Change Adaptation Project Preparation

Submitted by Edward Beddows | published 14th Dec 2020 | last updated 27th Jan 2022

Climate Adaptation Training Annotation

  • Level: Introductory
  • Time commitment: 2 days
  • Learning product: Guide
  • Sector:  Multi-sector
  • Language: English
  • Certificate available: N/A

This article highlights the training aspects of the Guide to Climate Change Adaptation Project Preparation. You can find a summary of this toolkit in the effective climate finance theme.

Front Cover of "Guide to Climate Change Adaptation Project Preparation"


This guide distils lessons learned from the USAID Adapt Asia-Pacific project and will help applicants identify and structure the information needed to build an adaptation project proposal. It is designed to help you plot a course to move from idea or concept to bankable project proposal. Different financiers have separate application procedures, and their templates are structured and phrased differently. However, their general information requirements are similar, and so this guide is applicable to all of them. 

The guide can be used by itself, or as part of a training program or workshop. It is applicable to large proposals prepared for submission to multilateral funds, and also for small grants awarded by national governments and donor organizations.

Institutional background and trainer

The USAID Adapt Asia-Pacific project has mentored many government and non-government agencies at all levels (national, provincial, regional, and local) in preparing and appraising climate change adaptation (CCA) projects. USAID Adapt Asia-Pacific has developed a range of capacity building tools (see Further Resources) to fill capacity gaps and has implemented project proposal workshops and other mentoring and support activities with partners throughout Asia and the Pacific. This guide distills lessons learned from these experiences.

Who would find this useful?

Government authorities (local, regional, provincial, national) and non-government agencies (NGOs) supporting adaptation projects.

Training material

  • Introduction
  • Key messages to bear in mind throughout the process, and finding your financier 

  • Common elements in project proposal documents: Background
    • "Boilerplate"
    • Climate change information
    • Context/impacts/identification of the problems
    • Description of "Ideal State"
    • Relationship to national development strategies
    • Relationship to national adaptation strategies/sectoral strategies
  • Project design elements
    • Recruiting your team
    • Project design format
    • Technical feasibility
    • Economic & financial aspects
    • Environmental and social safeguards
    • Budget and timeline
    • Co-financing
  • Implementation arrangements
    • Institutional arrangements
    • Financial and project risk management
    • Financial management and procurement
    • Monitoring, evaluation and reporting
    • Project sustainability
    • Project appraisal
  • Concluding remarks

  • Appendix A: Resources & further reading by section
  • Appendix B: Projects reviewed & referenced

Learning outcomes

The guide shows how to make your proposal stand out:

  • demonstrate the centrality of climate change to the problem you are attempting to address. You must also show that your project responds to a clear, urgent need that would not be addressed otherwise.
  • ensure your project is aligned with national and subnational development and climate change policy frameworks, as well as the priorities of the financier. Once you have met these conditions, you can then begin the rigorous process of actually designing your project. 

This guide provides a general overview of the information that is used in developing a climate change adaptation project, as well as how to use and structure that information. However, it is important to understand that planning, designing, and obtaining approval for an adaptation project takes time, sometimes as much as 1-2 years. This timeframe can be significantly reduced with some initial investments in developing a good knowledge base as well as the vertical and horizontal sector linkages and coordination with non-government stakeholders that will be required to design an effective project.

Further resources