Shortlisting Climate Change Adaptation Projects

Submitted by John Chandratat | published 10th Aug 2017 | last updated 11th Jan 2021
Shortlisting Climate Change Adaptation Projects


With the effects of climate change increasingly impacting Asia-Pacific countries, many governments have been developing strategies and plans to prioritize and take actions to address climate change.

However, just having a plan isn’t enough to turn priorities into concrete, implementable projects. First and foremost, accurate costing needs to attributed to the plans and realistic potential sources of funding identified, whether domestic or international. Only then can plans start to be narrowed down to decide which adaptation priorities will be turned into projects for implementation.

Given the extent of adaptation needs and their high costs, how should government ministries or line agencies go about deciding which projects to finance? And how can they then decide which projects to bring to scale at the national level?

This USAID Adapt Asia-Pacific knowledge product helps to answer those questions. This document shares an example from USAID Adapt Asia-Pacific’s experience working with India’s National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) to design an easy-to-use tool – or checklist – for selecting projects to be financed by the Adaptation Fund. 

This experience is transferable to a wide range of government agencies in Asia-Pacific, especially those seeking to determine which adaptation priorities to turn into full project proposals. 

Key messages and the checklist from the document are provided below. See the full text (download from the right-hand column) for more detail. This is the third publication in the USAID Adapt Asia-Pacific Adaptation Finance Knowledge Series. For related resources see the Further Resources section below.

Lessons Learnt

  • The best way to begin is to start small: Piloting a small set of projects in local communities is an important first step to demonstrate the effectiveness, relevance, and necessity of climate change adaptation. More significantly, the success of these pilot projects can help raise awareness among communities and leaders, gaining political traction and commitment. For more information on pilot projects see page 4 of the document.
  • Attaining National Implementing Entity (NIE) status at the Adaptation Fund is just the first step. Receiving actual financing, however, is a completely different ball game. NIEs have to decide which project concepts to turn into full project proposals.They then need to submit project proposals that are up to standard, proceeding logically to make key decisions regarding what to present, in what sequence, at what level of detail, and, importantly, how to respond to any queries from the Adaptation Fund. In addition, NIEs also need to support and guide their on-ground project partners – also known as the Executing Entities (EEs).  

Shortlisting Criteria

Below is a set of general criteria for shortlisting adaptation projects that will be helpful and applicable for anyone seeking international climate change financing. For further explaination of eahc of these criteria see page 7 of the document.

  1.  Urgency and vulnerability to climate change impacts
    The urgency of the need for adaptation in a sector or location is the first priority.
  2. Technical aspects are sound
    Proven technologies endorsed and recommended by national agencies are preferable.
  3. Logical design by an experienced agency
    The proposal is based on consistent logic that clearly links the background information and context to the anticipated project outcomes, outputs, and likely activities.
  4. Livelihood adaptation options are understood
    In rural areas where agriculture, livestock, fisheries, aquaculture, and natural resource management-based livelihoods predominate, a good understanding of the baseline situation is needed.
  5. Socio-economic aspects are well-defined
    The socio-economic and demographic features of target communities require thorough analysis for well-designed projects.
  6. Environmental issues are well-defined
    In addition to the climate analysis, the proposal should outline the core environmental constraints and risks that need to be addressed.
  7. Knowledge management is included
    A specific knowledge management component is advisable to provide a baseline of knowledge from existing sources on the climate change issues, vulnerabilities, and options for future solutions in the location or sector concerned, bringing together the work of the project.
  8. Fund template requirements
    International funds, like the Adaptation Fund, usually have templates for program and project submissions.

Further resources