Climate resilient infrastructure services: lessons learned

Climate resilient infrastructure services: lessons learned

The Climate Resilient Infrastructure Services (CRIS) program was an initiative of USAID’s Climate Change Resilient Development (CCRD) project. CRIS worked to improve the ability of cities in developing countries to provide reliable and sustainable infrastructure services that support smart and lasting development, even in a changing climate. For two-and-a-half years the CRIS program worked with cities to develop, test, and implement approaches to improve the climate resilience of infrastructure services. These services—which include transportation, water, sanitation and waste management, energy, communications, and shelter services—are essential to cities’ ability to create healthy, sustainable, and thriving communities. This report shares 17 lessons from CRIS program activities that reflect the following themes:

Implementing USAID’s Climate-Resilient Development Framework:

  • cities need technical support to implement a “development-first” approach using USAID’s Climate-Resilient Development Framework Supporting climate-resilient institutions and capacity in cities
  • support for cities should focus on building internal technical capacity, improving access to local experts, and strengthening relationships with provincial and national decision-makers. Internally, capacity needs to be built among technical staff, particularly within capital investment, planning, public works, emergency management, and environment departments
  • city staff can be empowered to take action by learning from their peers and participating in interactive training
  • the private sector is a large funder of public infrastructure and requires a distinct strategy for engagement on urban climate resilience. Involving the private sector requires a different approach and level of effort than that for civil society groups and academics
  • engagement should start with current city priorities and be tailored to local decision-making processes. Developing approaches and tools for climate-resilient infrastructure
  • cities are eager for user-friendly tools, tailored to their needs and processes
  • tools should be replicated through modular components that can be tailored to different local contexts. Building a better pilot: program design and implementation
  • well-designed city pilots enabled USAID to develop and test innovative climate resilient solutions in different contexts over a relatively short period of time


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