IKI-Safeguards - Environmental and social standards

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Climate action and biodiversity conservation often take place in challenging contexts involving weak rule of law, structural inequalities and fragile ecosystems. To ensure projects operate with caution in these contexts and to ensure optimal protection of both the environment and people, the International Climate Initiative (IKI) is committed to complying with international environmental and social standards as part of its due diligence obligations.

This is ensured through the IKI environmental and social safeguards system, often referred to as the IKI Safeguards. These are protective measures designed to prevent, minimise or mitigate adverse impacts of project activities on people and the environment.


The objectives of the safeguards system are:

  • prevent adverse impacts on people and the environment and ideally maximise the positive environmental and social impacts of projects;
  • strengthen stakeholder engagement and participation, especially of marginalised, vulnerable and indigenous groups or individuals;
  • enhance the effectiveness, sustainability and quality of projects;
  • increase transparency and accountability for IKI stakeholders and the public;
  • transparently communicate criteria which are excluded from IKI funding.

Core elements

The core elements of the safeguards system include:

  • Safeguards standards: the environmental and social standards that projects must meet. The IKI applies the Environmental and Social Safeguards Standards of the Green Climate Fund (GCF), which currently uses the IFC Performance Standards on Environmental and Social Sustainability.
  • Safeguards policy: the document that sets out the principles and procedures to ensure environmental and social standards. The Safeguards policy was subject to a public consultation process prior to its publication.
  • Exclusion criteria: includes a variety of activities not funded by the IKI as they are either too risky to ensure compliance with environmental and social standards or are not ethically justifiable.
  • Complaint mechanism: The IKI Independent Complaint Mechanism is a tool which persons adversely affected by the project’s activities can use to report any breach of the environmental and social standards. This provides for external monitoring.

Guiding principles

For the design of projects, it is crucial to follow the guiding principles. These include:

  • Positive impacts: projects should aim to maximise the positive impacts on the environment and people and where possible to go beyond preventing, mitigating or reducing adverse impacts.
  • Biodiversity conservation: projects should protect and conserve biodiversity, critical habitats and ecosystem services.
  • Fundamental rights: human rights and labour rights should be respected and promoted more so the rights of indigenous, vulnerable, and marginalised groups and individuals.
  • Non-discrimination: adverse impacts of project activities must not disproportionately affect marginalised, vulnerable or indigenous groups.
  • Compliance: projects must comply with existing national law and/or obligations of the country under international treaties and agreements. The highest standard applies.
  • Transparent stakeholder participation in projects should be ingrained throughout the entire project cycle.

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