IKI 2020 – challenges and solutions

Since 2008, International Climate Initiative (IKI), under the auspices of the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU), has been supporting climate action and biodiversity conservation in developing and emerging countries. In those 12 years, International Climate Initiative has funded over 730 climate action and biodiversity conservation projects worldwide with a total of over four billion euro to date. The budget appropriation, which in the past has seen steady year-on-year growth, was set at 567 million euro for the year 2020. Even in this challenging ‘pandemic year’, these funds are likely to be used in full. So far, approximately 100 projects have been re-started, financially supplemented, or – in answer to pandemic-related setbacks – subject to cost-neutral extensions over the course of 2020.

This was and continues to be possible only thanks to the close worldwide cooperation between all IKI partners in communicating difficulties quickly and implementing solutions directly. We therefore want to thank all those across the globe who go out and make the IKI projects a reality. But we are equally grateful to those in offices and administrations who ensured the smooth processing of applications, evaluations, accounting, applications assessment, cooperation requirements and reporting duties. Their work helped maintain the high quality of IKI projects, allowing many countries and communities to profit from these joint efforts.

We are pleased with these successes despite and in the face of COVID-19. While it has been a difficult and effortful year, we are optimistic about the future and wish everyone a peaceful and healthy end-of-year season, a merry Christmas and a happy New Year.

IKI — current challenges and solutions 2020

For more information about the "IKI Year 2020", please see our paper "IKI — current challenges and solutions 2020". 

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Impacts of COVID-19 on IKI projects

Great communication, fast solutions

The lockdowns which began early in the year threatened IKI projects as well. However, the good communication between implementing organisations soon made it easier to adjust project duration and goal-setting, so that delays in reaching stated goals would not jeopardise the high level of project ambitions.

Cancelled business travel, meetings, seminars and workshops kept many projects from consistent successes, since digital formats were quickly established but proved unsuitable for some tasks.


Corona Response Package

Simultaneously, IKI assessed its project portfolio to determine where adjustment, increase in project funds, and extension of project duration could make the most rapid contribution to a climate-friendly restart in project countries. The result was the extensive 68 million euro ‘Corona Response Package’, which with its fast-track process offered partner countries immediate support in tackling the COVID-19 crisis.

The emergency aid delivered to 28 projects and two new programmes in 26 countries provides special relief for preservation areas and biodiversity hotspots, a climate-friendly economic re-start and the prevention of future pandemics.

This includes economic advisers who will advise the environment and finance ministries of 7 countries in order to contribute to an economic recovery in line with the stipulations of the Paris Agreement.nzministerien beraten, um zu einem wirtschaftlichen Wiederaufbau gemäß der Vereinbarungen des Übereinkommens von Paris beizutragen.

"Green Recovery" as an integral part of IKI funding

Thematic selection procedure, IKI Small and Medium Grants

COVID-19 also plays an important role in IKI’s thematic call this year. The motto of the annual IKI ideas competition, which is open from November 2020 to March 2021, is ‘Creating green societies in challenging times’. This focus on a green recovery sends the message that tackling the social and economic impact of the pandemic should be done within a framework of environment- and climate-friendly reconstruction. A total of 240 million euro is available for ambitious and transformative project ideas.

IKI Medium Grants and IKI Small Grants projects can also contribute to a future-oriented recovery effort.

NAMA Facility’s ‘Ambition Initiative’

But IKI’s greatest contribution to the global green recovery is the NAMA Facility’s ‘Ambition Initiative’, begun on the fifth anniversary of the Paris Agreement. This special initiative is meant to support especially ambitious countries in implementing their national climate action goals using innovative projects. Furthermore, the projects will support the countries’ economic recovery from the effects of the coronavirus pandemic. At 174 million euro, the ‘Ambition Initiative’ is the NAMA Facility’s largest call yet. It is primarily financed by Germany (100 million euro through the BMU under IKI) and the United Kingdom (68 million euro). The Children’s Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF) is contributing 5 million euro.

The international Adaptation Fund

Through IKI, the BMU is also the largest contributor to the international Adaptation Fund, which helps developing countries that are particularly exposed to the negative effects of climate change develop specific projects and programmes to adapt to climate change. The Adaptation Fund helps local populations in many countries increase their resilience to climate change and protect ecosystems. In 2020, the BMU paid an additional 50 million euro into the Adaptation Fund via IKI. This makes a total of 390 million euro paid into the Adaptation Fund via IKI since the fund was created.

Unbroken commitment in new projects

Mobilising private equity

In 2015, the Paris Agreement (PA) renewed the aim of the 2009 Copenhagen Accord to mobilise a joint total of 100 million US dollars annually starting in 2020 to support developing and emerging countries in climate action and adaptation. Signatories also resolved to bring global financial and investment streams in line with low-carbon and climate-resilient development strategies (article 2.1.c of the Paris Agreement).

To date, however, the mobilisation of private investment has lagged far behind expectations. Over the past years, IKI has engaged increasingly with questions of climate finance and mobilising private equity.

In 2020, this culminated in the creation of a large number of (funding) projects which contribute to the stated goals in various ways. The projects include: 

  • City Climate Finance Gap Funds II (total of 15 million euro in 2020)
  • Catalyzing private financing for climate impact in Africa - Climate Facility Afrika for Compact with Africa (20 million euro)
  • Scale Up Finance Sector - 30 by 30 Zero (20 million euro)
  • Regeneration Initiative (10 million euro from the Corona Response Package)

Net zero – support for mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions 

The central yardstick  for most IKI projects is the implementation of the Paris Agreement. Relevant projects support IKI partner countries in further developing their own climate policy as well as implementing specific, innovative instruments for the mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions. 

The following projects, for example, began in 2020:

  • PtX Pathways (20 million euro)
  • Clean, affordable and safe energy for Southeast Asia (CASE) (approx. 19.5 million euro)
  • Initiative for Climate Action Transparency (ICAT) (additional 20 million euro)
  • Creation of a support fund for the Climate Vulnerable Forum (CVF) (3 million euro)

Forest landscapes, biodiversity and ecosystem adaptation

The United Nations General Assembly has declared 2021–2030 the UN decade on ecosystem restoration. Its stated goal is to prevent the global degradation of ecosystems and resultant loss of biodiversity and reverse the  trend.

IKI is supporting the decade, which officially begins in summer of 2021, with many projects and initiatives. In particular, that includes supporting crucial processes in relevant UN organisations and the Seed Capital Assistance Facility (founded December 2019) to underwrite forest landscape restoration projects with private funding.

Current support for the Bonn Challenge, the Global Landscapes Forum (GLF) and the New York Declaration on Forests (NYDF) will also continue. These initiatives are central pillars of the international efforts to restore forest landscapes. 

Selected projects begun in 2020 to support the UN decade goals, further expand IKI’s focus on ecosystem-based adaptation to the impacts of climate change or which emphasise indigenous communities and biodiversity conservation include:

  • Restoration of forest landscapes across Africa (approx. 23 million euro)
  • Ecosystem-based adaptation and reforestation in vulnerable rural communities of the Mesoamerican Biological Corridor in the Caribbean (approx. 19.8 million euro)
  • Scaling up of ecosystem-based adaptation measures in rural Latin America (approx. 19.4 million euro)