Since launching the Climate Strategy nearly a year ago, Administrator Power has made it very clear that USAID is a climate agency. To meet the ambitious targets of the new whole-of-Agency and cross-sector approach, everyone must see themselves as climate champions. The more that USAID succeeds at collaboratively integrating its structures and programming, the more effective the Agency can be at aligning non-environmental programs with climate goals – and fostering more climate champions.
USAID/Peru is taking just such an approach to integration. The Peru Mission has been working to foster a healthy biome for people and nature, particularly in the Amazon Region, which is home to 1.5 million Indigenous people and where about one-third of all plant, animal, and insect species can be found. The Climate Strategy provides an opportunity for all programs that work in the Peruvian Amazon to explore how they can integrate to contribute to biodiversity and climate goals, which are inextricably linked.
In November 2022, Measuring Impact II (MI2) facilitated a Climate, Biodiversity, and Agriculture Retreat on behalf of USAID/Peru. The goal was to increase cross-portfolio dialogue and to use evidence to integrate biodiversity and alternative development work toward improved climate action. We have outlined best practices for cultivating climate champions based on the recent retreat experience.
Whole-of-Agency to Whole-of-Mission
Supportive enabling conditions are key to any change management process. In Peru, the Mission made high-level institutional commitments to implement the USAID Climate Strategy and the Peruvian National Climate Change Policy. Unsustainable development and illegal activities, especially illegal logging, mining, and encroachment on forested lands, lead to biodiversity loss, deforestation, forest degradation, and waterway contamination. USAID/Peru identified integrating biodiversity and alternative development approaches as a key step to contribute to climate targets. The Mission’s alternative development work supports sustainable and licit livelihoods in Amazon communities, contributing to conservation outcomes.
USAID and MI2 worked hand-in-hand to design the retreat with the cross-portfolio dialogue and integration goal in mind. First, we focused on having the right people in the room – bringing together Mission leadership and representatives from multiple divisions and offices, including Alternative Development, Environment, Democracy, Rights and Governance, and Biodiversity. Representatives of USAID/Colombia’s Sustainable Ecosystems and Economic Development Office also attended and shared how they successfully merged their environmental and rural economic development offices to create greater impact.