Office of Global Climate Change

Training workers to properly install solar panels at health clinics in Rwanda provides clean energy and creates green jobs.
Training workers to properly install solar panels at health clinics in Rwanda provides clean energy and creates green jobs.
Walt Ratterman, Sunepi


USAID’s mission is to promote human development and stable, free societies around the world. But, as climate change brings more frequent and intense storms and less predictable rains and harvests, it is critical to promote development based on climate-smart plans and technologies. Otherwise, advances in global security and prosperity could be at risk.

USAID’s climate change program supports a range of development programs and activities. Key results so far include:

  • Enhancing Capacity for LEDS, an interagency program, has established high-level engagement with 25 partner countries and agreed work programs with 14. These partners will collaborate with the U.S. to develop or improve national Low Emissions Development Strategies, or LEDS.
  • SERVIR-Global has three satellite data centers so far—in Africa, Mesoamerica, and the Himalaya region–which serve as regional hubs that expand access to geospatial data, information and tools.
  • The Tropical Forest Alliance brings together more than 400 retailers from 70 countries with $3 billion in sales to work on reducing tropical deforestation from palm oil, soy, beef, and paper and pulp, among other commodities. TFA was founded by the U.S. government and the Consumer Goods Forum in 2012 and is open to new government, corporate and civil society members committed to curbing deforestation.
  • Powering Agriculture has raised $20 million so far from USAID, Sweden, and Duke Energy to promote and attract private finance to innovative ideas for integrating clean energy into the agriculture sector in developing countries. PoweringAg collaborates with the African Development Bank, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the Overseas Private Investment Corporation, OPIC.

USAID Strategy and Program Focus

With the growing importance of climate change, USAID released a comprehensive, five-year Global Climate Change and Development Strategy in 2012, with three overarching objectives: adaptation, mitigation and integration.

  • Adaptation means building the climate resilience of people, places and livelihoods by identifying and addressing vulnerabilities to climate risks in key sectors like food security, water, coastal management and public health.
  • Mitigation means working to curb greenhouse gas emissions while also supporting sustainable economic growth. USAID’s mitigation efforts include the following core activities:
    • Low emissions development strategies (LEDS) are national plans that help countries evaluate climate change risks and opportunities and choose priority actions within a comprehensive framework.
      • Clean energy work promotes the development of clean and renewable energy sources and the efficient use of energy from all sources.
      • Sustainable landscapes work promotes conservation of carbon-rich landscapes and the sustainable use of all landscapes by supporting robust land management governance and practices.
  • Integration means ensuring all USAID programs – in global health, food security, disaster preparedness, democracy and other priority areas – are climate resilient.

Bureau for Economic Growth, Education and Environment (E3)’s Role

The Bureau for Economic Growth, Education and Environment supports other USAID Bureaus and Missions, as well as partner countries and communities around the world, to help them access the data, tools and support they need to address climate change. E3 also works to integrate climate change considerations across USAID’s development portfolio through training, applied research, and support for mission-led pilot projects.

In all, USAID’s climate change program reaches about 50 countries with climate change knowledge, programs and support. Much of the support comes as technical backing, capacity building and training; still more support comes through our flagship programs.

  • Integration Pilot Projects. USAID’s Global Climate Change Coordinator is currently funding ten mission-led pilot projects around the world to test new ways to integrate climate change into food security, health, disaster preparedness, gender, democracy and governance, and other development priorities.
  • EC-LEDS. Enhancing Capacity for LEDS is a flagship interagency program led by USAID and the Department of State. E3 coordinates the EC-LEDS program within USAID and manages technical assistance provided by U.S. government agencies to the 14 partner countries collaborating with the United States to develop Low Emission Development Strategies, or improve LEDS already in place. These strategies help ensure that climate investments support a coherent national framework that promotes low-carbon growth and decelerates or reduces national emissions.
  • SERVIR-Global. Through SERVIR-Global, USAID works with NASA and regional partner institutions to establish satellite and earth observation hubs around the world. These hubs are expanding access to geospatial data, mapping tools and modeling applications, helping scientists and decision-makers around the world access the best available information and technologies for managing climate change risks.
  • SilvaCarbon helps more than half a dozen tropical forest nations identify and fill critical gaps in their capacity to map, measure and monitor the carbon stored in tropical forests.

E3’s Partners

USAID’s climate change program works with dozens of partners inside and outside the Agency to deliver the best available expertise and support to USAID Missions, partner countries and communities. Our climate team also works closely with the Department of State, NASA and other U.S. agencies to support the Global Climate Change Initiative, GCCI, a broad U.S. commitment to engage with global partners to curb greenhouse gas emissions and build resilience to climate change.

USAID plays a key role in the GCCI, delivering programs and support to over 50 bilateral and regional Missions. Our on-the-ground programs provide important backing for U.S. positions in the international climate negotiations taking place under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.  For a comprehensive account of GCCI programs and support provided by USAID and other government agencies, see the U.S. Fast Start Finance Report (2010-12).

For More Information

  • Climate Change & Development Strategy - Global Climate Change Coordinator, Kit Batten
  • Climate Change Technical Programs - GCC Analysis, Innovation & Demonstration, Bill Breed
  • GCC Program Support - GCC Planning, Evaluation & Learning, Kathryn Stratos

Last updated: March 07, 2014

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