Environmental Procedures & Climate Risk Management

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Extreme weather and climate impacts can undermine development gains and future development progress. USAID has developed a climate risk management (CRM) process to address these impacts and improve the effectiveness and sustainability of USAID’s efforts. This CRM process is document in the environmental compliance process..

USAID CRM Requirements

Agency requirements and official guidance for CRM throughout the program cycle are found in two ADS Mandatory Reference chapters: Climate Change in USAID Strategies (ADS 201mat) and Climate Risk Management for USAID Projects and Activities (ADS 201mal). A critical component of the CRM process is conducting a climate risk and opportunity screening or assessment. USAID provides Climate Risk Screening and Management Tools that elaborates the CRM screening process and supports the systematic identification, assessment, and management of climate risks at the strategy, project, and activity levels. Results from a CRM screening are captured in a CRM summary table and narrative.

CRM Integration into 22 CFR 216 (Environmental Compliance) Documentation

CRM screening results must be documented in the 22 CFR 216 documentation. In general, CRM results are typically integrated in the following documents:

  • Request for Categorical Exclusion (RCE): In cases where an RCE is appropriate, the CRM summary table and narrative must be included with the RCE.Climate Risk must be addressed in the narrative. 
  • Initial Environmental Examination (IEE): For projects/activities that require an IEE, the CRM summary table and narrative must be included with the project or activity-level IEE. Climate conditions and risks should also be discussed in the “Baseline Environmental Information” and “Analysis of Potential Environmental Risk” sections. It may also be appropriate to include conditions to ensure climate risks are adequately addressed. 
  • Environmental Mitigation & Monitoring Plan (EMMP): When appropriate, particularly for moderate or high climate risks, CRM measures can be included in an EMMP. 

Projects/activities that receive a Categorical Exclusion are not exempted from CRM and are not automatically low climate risk. Similarly, CRM results and risk ratings do not necessarily impact the 22 CFR 216 environmental determination.

Note: this integration is fully consistent with the principles of Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), of which USAID’s 22 CFR 216 process is a specific implementation. Good practice requires that EIA consider both how activities could affect climate through greenhouse gas emissions and how climate change could exacerbate an activity’s environmental impact (e.g., climate-induced water scarcity may heighten the impact of a project that affects water quality or availability). Additionally, 22 CFR 216 requires USAID to define and address “environmental limiting factors that constrain development.” The CRM process is responsive to this good practice and to this mandate by:

  • Providing a framework for assessing, addressing, and adaptively managing climate risks that may impact the ability of USAID programs to achieve objectives; and 
  • Integrating this framework into the environmental compliance process

CRM Resources

The resources below provide additional information on the CRM process:

Last updated: June 25, 2019

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