On April 22-23, President Biden hosted a virtual Leaders Summit on Climate to catalyze global ambition to address the climate crisis. The Summit convened world leaders to galvanize efforts to keep the vital goal of limiting warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius within reach.

USAID plays a key role in the Biden-Harris Administration’s bold climate efforts by working with partner countries to reduce emissions, sustainably develop their economies, and increase climate resilience. USAID is accelerating our efforts to meet the urgency of this great challenge, building on a strong foundation of climate change programs and partnerships.

As part of the Summit, the White House announced the Climate Ambition Initiative. Launching a Global Climate Ambition Initiative, the U.S. Government (USG) will support partner countries in establishing net-zero strategies, implementing their nationally determined contributions and national adaptation strategies, and reporting on their progress under the Paris Agreement. The State Department and USAID, working with other USG agencies, will coordinate USG efforts to support countries around the world to meet their climate goals in ways that further their national development priorities. We will engage strategically with governments, the private sector, civil society and communities to support transformational policies and programs, build human and institutional capacity, and create momentum towards a zero-carbon, climate- resilient future. As part of this effort, USAID will launch new initiatives that help address the climate crisis, including:

1. Energizing a Net-Zero Asia

USAID is launching seven new next-generation clean energy programs, totaling more than $200 million, to establish foundations for a net-zero energy grid in Asia. The focus of these new bilateral and regional activities includes supporting power sector reforms, deployment of state-of-the-art energy technologies, grid modernization (smart grids, smart meters, digitization, cybersecurity, and resilience), and supporting the transition to electric vehicles and improved battery storage. The new programs will include work in Bangladesh, Indonesia, Mongolia, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka, as well as regional projects in South and Southeast Asia.

2. Advancing a Clean Energy Future in Southern Africa

Under the Power Africa Initiative, USAID will commit to transforming the Southern Africa region's reliance on fossil fuels and assist in a path to decarbonization. As part of this effort, USAID will partner with the Governments of Botswana and Namibia, the International Finance Corporation, the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (World Bank), and the African Development Bank to support the largest solar-generation project in Southern Africa -- estimated at 2 to 5 Gigawatts. This project will aim to reduce an estimated 6.5 million tons of CO2 annually - the equivalent of taking almost 1.5 million cars off the road - by displacing imported coal-generated electricity from South Africa.

3. Accelerating Natural Climate Solutions

USAID will advance new approaches to Natural Climate Solutions, a means to reduce emissions by improving the conservation, restoration and management of the natural environment, including carbon-rich tropical forests and other important landscapes. The new activities will blend forest protection, forest ecosystem restoration, and reforestation through commercial timber to protect and reforest 20 million hectares by 2025. These Natural Climate Solutions activities will focus on key landscapes in Latin America, Asia, and Africa to revolutionize forest conservation and reforestation with commercial investments that protect natural ecosystems, restore degraded forest ecosystems, and unlock private capital, including to reforest land.

4. Mobilizing Private Investment for Climate Solutions

USAID will leverage an investment of $250 million to attract $3.5 billion in private sector financing to address the climate crises over the next three years. USAID will support pathways to net zero emissions for up to 20 fast-growing economies by dramatically scaling up USAID’s private sector climate finance programs including through policy reform and institutional strengthening to achieve dramatic reductions in emissions by 2030. Specific targets for the next five years include helping 20 countries to mobilize up to 20 percent of needed funding to implement their nationally determined contributions, and helping 20 vulnerable countries double the private sector funds leveraged toward resilience and adaptation goals by 2025. USAID will support transactions and technical assistance to mobilize additional private capital in the climate space.

5. Release New USAID Climate Change Strategy at COP26

USAID commits to developing a new Agency climate change strategy by November 1, 2021 to be released at COP26. The Strategy will guide the Agency’s efforts to target climate change resources strategically, ramp up climate change mitigation and adaptation efforts, and further integrate climate change considerations into international development and humanitarian assistance programs across all sectors.

6. Supporting the Agricultural Innovation Mission for Climate

USAID will support the U.S.’s leadership in the Agricultural Innovation Mission for Climate (AIM4C) including through investments in the CGIAR system to accelerate global agricultural innovation and the use of climate smart technologies by smallholder farmers. The AIM4C initiative will be advanced at the UN Food Systems Summit in September 2021 and launched at COP26 in November 2021 through the UK’s COP26 Campaign on Adaptation.

For more information on USAID’s climate change work, please click here.