How USAID Is Improving Climate Resilience of Biodiversity Programming

Nature is our first line of defense against the climate crisis, and climate-resilient biodiversity conservation must be part of the solution.

Biodiversity Day at the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP27) recognizes the intertwined nature of the climate change and biodiversity crises–and provides an opportunity to highlight climate-resilient biodiversity conservation as part of the solution.

Conserving biodiversity is critical to maintain the ecosystem services that deliver climate mitigation, climate adaptation, and other human well-being benefits. At the same time, climate change undermines the resilience of terrestrial and marine ecosystems.

In response, USAID and its partners strive to conserve biodiversity and address climate change, while also achieving humanitarian and development objectives across sectors. Importantly, USAID recognizes the critical role of Indigenous Peoples and local communities in conserving ecosystems and sustainably managing natural resources.

USAID also aims to improve the climate resilience of its biodiversity programming. Recently, USAID conducted a review of problem analyses and theories of change from over a decade of biodiversity activities. More than 75% of activities either identified climate change as a threat to biodiversity conservation, addressed climate change in an intervention, or included goals for climate adaptation or climate mitigation–and about 25% did all three.

Fish Right is one of those activities. Through Fish Right, USAID has partnered with the Government of the Philippines to create and enhance networks of marine protected areas using ecological principles and participatory stakeholder processes. 

As part of activity design, Fish Right explicitly recognized the role that climate information could play in empowering fisheries managers, communities, and local governments to prioritize ecosystem resilience. Fish Right’s theory of change includes a strategic approach to integrate climate information into capacity-building, which has helped fisheries managers to mainstream resilience in their management plans and local governments to prioritize adaptation actions. Assessments of community vulnerabilities also informed these strategic adaptation actions.

By learning from shining examples in current USAID and partner programming, USAID is developing climate-resilient biodiversity programming design guidance to scale up best practices and build the capacity of staff to use climate information in biodiversity activity design. 

USAID invites partners and collaborators to share their best practices in climate-resilient biodiversity conservation by reaching out to