Investment in a partnership approach can leverage significant added value and additional resources. By developing this capability, you can achieve economies of scale, avoid duplication of effort and benefit from diverse skills and expertise. You can also build a strong case for securing new resources to build partnership working and deliver joint adaptation projects.

Key aspects include:

  • People

The partnership should include people from diverse backgrounds, including under-represented groups and put steps in place to ensure they are valued and can contribute actively. You will need people who can support, lead and co-ordinate activities and also people who can provide specific knowledge such as local knowledge, risk assessment, data and analytics or funding and finance expertise.

  • Assets and Communication Resources

Sharing assets such as data, technology and communication resources will enable the partnership to go further, faster. Where appropriate, large scale adaptation projects or assets such as hazard warning systems, blue and green infrastructure or coastal adaptation measures can be jointly owned, managed or developed.

  • Funding

Setting up, leading, and coordinating partnerships requires significant time and effort. Some partnerships are run by volunteers who give significant amounts of time. In many cases funding will be required to pay for staff time, and partners will need to make a strong case for funding co-ordination of the partnership. Many adaptation partnerships have a remit to deliver specific projects and initiatives and need to identify funding sources and develop funding models that draw in public, private and third sector finance.


Climate change is a wicked problem. This means that a diverse skill set across sectors, backgrounds and experiences is needed to adapt. A key element of an effective adaptation partnership is the identification, development and implementation of relevant skills and capabilities.

  • Identify the existing resources that partners have access to. This includes the finance, volunteers, staff and assets that are available to be redirected or modified to support adaptation. This can be supported by mapping out existing budgets, projects and skills. A competency assessment may help identify existing skills and competencies. Assessments may be self or manager assessments to identify individual strengths and weaknesses.
  • Develop capabilities and skills of partners, including identifying and securing funding and finance. The partnership will benefit from having a diverse range of skills, experience and leadership. Where partners include major organisations, it is important to acknowledge that climate change is not just the responsibility of one team but needs involvement and support across departments and levels of management.
  • Skills development within organisations can be supported by continuous professional development - ensure adaptation competencies are identified within role profiles and are supported within individuals’ professional development plans. Adaptation skills sets include managerial, technical and participatory. For example:
    • Managerial - Management skills include strategic leadership, financial management, conflict management, visioning, creating and inspiring, advocacy, time management, project management, human resources management and reporting skills. Management skills are needed to build an enabling environment, support identification and securing resources as well as making sure results are achieved and monitored and evaluated.
    • Technical - Skills are needed to understand the science of climate change, concepts of climate risk and ability to identify and prioritise options. Technical skills may be centred around specific knowledge and experience - special skills, such as GIS, meteorology, hydrology, and economics, law, forestry, water resources, land use management and risk management.
    • Participatory - Participatory skills include team building, public speaking, establishing relationships, training skills, community mobilisation, participatory planning and decision-making, gender mainstreaming. These skills are needed to promote and sustain cooperation, ownership and action. This supports the development of welcoming and engaging environment where diverse stakeholders feel comfortable voicing their opinion.

Develop case for dedicated coordinator role - There is significant amount of work associated with a climate adaptation partnership. Whilst successful volunteer led partnerships do exist, these rely on significant volunteer time and support. In many cases a dedicated coordinator role is needed to lead the secretariat, support delivering, build relationship and leverage additional investment. Work should be undertaken to make the case for funding a dedicated coordinator position in line with member organisation’s requirements and processes. This can be part of the wider business case development process (Partnership Action 1B).


Funding will be needed to support the partnership as well as take adaptation actions. Early work to identify existing funding opportunities and potential funders may enable quick-wins and build the foundations for future funding and financing opportunities.

Map funding opportunities and create shared strategy to ensure partner organisations are not competing against each other for resource. Utilise existing/established governance and delivery model to identify resources available. Certain funding opportunities may require formal partnership agreement.

Build relationships with funders to develop rapport and support co-design early on. Attend networking events and set up introductory meetings with relevant funding bodies.


Adaptation is inherently local and therefore needs to be locally relevant. Steps to understand the ‘place’ will be key to informing work programming and tailoring communication. Early action should be undertaken to highlight organisations and groups who may be able to contribute resource, as well as identifying those who may be most in need of such resources.

  • Understanding local power dynamics - (including disadvantage) via participatory methods such as local mapping exercises, community engagement workshops, semi structured interviews or stakeholder mapping. Bringing together stakeholders, or the people who live work and play in the area, is important for making sure any actions are contextually relevant, equitable, understandable and effective. Effective climate adaptation needs collaboration with actions across sectors and governance levels. Understand existing, underlying conditions and vulnerabilities within the place that climate change may exacerbate. This task relates to and supports Partnership Actions 1A and 1C as well as Leadership Action 1A.
  • Identify and overcome barriers to adaptation. Systemic injustice and oppression may create barriers for individuals, communities and systems to adapt. There is a need to identify these injustices (and their causes) so that they may be addressed within adaptation action planning and resourcing. Part of this is understanding where and who is most at risk and prioritising them. Understanding intersecting vulnerabilities, can highlight holistic solutions.
    • Examples of groups that are particularly vulnerable and often disproportionately impacted by climate change include the young, elderly, those already experiencing health issues and those with limited mobility
  • Communicate effectively - Use the insight gained on local context to design and communicate about the partnership work programme appropriately. Be conscious of language used. Ensure open and transparent dialogues occurring with shared terminology. Allocate resource for communications and commence communication activities early – mainstream adaptation messaging across departments / sectors.


Climate adaptation partnerships involve multiple members and activities. A coordinator who has oversight of the partnership and can lead on organisation, collaboration and delivery is pivotal. By developing and funding a coordinator position, the partnership will be supported by a key individual / have a clear focal point.

  • Seek and provide dedicated funding for a partnership coordinator or project manager who can convene, facilitate, and switch between the bigger picture and the finer details of adaptation and support the development of partnerships. Members should identify options for resourcing a co-ordinator role. These options should be implemented to secure the funding required. New staff may need to be recruited or this could be about identifying relevant staff to take forward this position. A key aspect of this role involves developing new resources - for example bringing in project funding and research collaborations. The role should therefore deliver a high return on investment for partners by leveraging in significant additional resources.
  • Workforce planning to enable appropriate ownership and capacity - for major organisations, time should be made available for staff to work on adaptation (not just on top of their existing commitments). Integrate climate considerations within employee’s job duties. Ways of working may also need to be altered. At this stage the climate and environment core competencies are being refined. Those working on the partnership have demonstratable knowledge or experience in climate resilience, development planning, mainstreaming, political economy and governance of climate change. According to the ACCO (Association climate change officers), core competencies of climate officers include: science literacy, knowledge of policy landscape, organisational experience such as strategic planning, decision-making, asset management, governance, engaging stakeholders and maintaining relationships. Different partner members and officers will have different responsibilities and therefore different competency requirements. Staff participate in peer networks to share challenges and learn from others.
  • Community members and those representing third sector organisations will be supported to actively participate in the partnership. There is a need to recognise that different partners will provide different types and levels of resourcing. Community and third sector leaders may have fewer resources available to contribute and the partnership should collectively provide support to enable their involvement – for example by providing funding to cover time and expenses related to participation in partnership decision making processes or key engagement events and projects. Be mindful of fairness, equity and power and take steps to enable fair and inclusive participation in partnership activities and decision making. Develop communications plans and activities to raise awareness amongst member organisations and wider community of opportunities available.


Description: The funding and finance landscape for adaptation partnerships can be complex. There is a need to commit time to learn about funding and finance generally. This will aid understanding and identification of what types of financing are most applicable to the partnership and its activities.

  • Get familiar with the basics of finance - Learn about key terms and concepts relating to finance by reading the highlighted resources and/or participating in an online course.
  • Learn from others - Review case studies of good practice, such as the IGNITION project in Manchester, and participate in peer networks, including IEMA, Nature Finance Pioneers and the Adaptation Scotland Finance Guide.


Diverse funding and finance options will be needed to sustain the partnership and implement the actions that partners develop. Alongside this, partners should put in place a transparent approach to selecting projects and agreeing resource allocations that is true to the vision, values and principles of the partnership.

  • Build on existing relationships with funders and financers (Action 1B) and seek opportunities to co-develop and collaborate on specific projects and actions. Working with funders in the early stages gives projects and actions the best possible chance of securing resources.
  • Build capacity among partners to identify a range of funding and finance options and seek opportunities for blended finance. This builds on actions in 1B to map funding opportunities and looks at opportunities for a combination of funding and finance streams to resource one or more projects/ actions. This could involve blending public sector, philanthropic and private sector funding and finance.
  • Where needed build the case for action and/ or business case for individual actions and/ or a portfolio of adaptation actions to support efforts to secure funding and finance.
  • Ensure that prioritisation of projects, actions and resources are guided by the vision, values and principles that partners have committed to (Leadership action 1A and partnership action 2A). This includes prioritising fairness, equity and climate justice:
    • Assess costs and benefits of adaptation actions - consider the distribution of costs and benefits. Explore how this may affect those who are already disproportionately impacted by climate change and other risks.
    • Do No Harm - Consider how adaptation actions could affect people and places over the immediate and long term. Adaptation doesn’t always protect from climate risks, but can also create risks, often referred to as maladaptation. Work should be undertaken to consider potential maladaptive responses and put measures in places to reduce these.
    • Fund and Invest where it’s needed the most - Prioritise allocation of adaptation funding to those who are most vulnerable. Mainstream adaptation into existing funding sources. Integrate adaptation into capital improvement plans and budgets.

Examples and Further Resources:

  • World Bank’s 2019 Municipal Public Private Partnership Framework
  • Green Angel Syndicate is one of the largest angel syndicates in the UK, and the only one specialising in climate change. The syndicate has launched an Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS) co-investment climate change fund. The EIS is a government scheme that provides a range of tax reliefs for investors who subscribe for qualifying shares in qualifying companies. A limited company is needed as a pre-requisite to apply for financing.

As the partnership evolves, so too should the staff and skills base. Committing resource for staff development ensures members are aware of new developments in the field, have the opportunity to progress personally and may be more inclined to stay involved with the partnership.

  • Coordinator, manager or partnership secretariat is adequately resourced and has time to identify partners and allocate personnel to specific roles
  • Ensure robust governance arrangements are in place to manage long-term resourcing, with dedicated staff responsible for income and servicing of the partnership.
  • Ongoing networking, collaboration as well as skills and competence development of staff. Explore professional membership and accreditation

Resources: Professional accreditation, where appropriate, should form part of the continuous professional development. Society for the Environment is responsible for awarding the title of Chartered Environmentalist (CEnv) through its 23 licensed member bodies. These include the Institution of Environmental Sciences (IES), the Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management (CIEEM), the Chartered Institute for Water and Environmental Management (CIWEM) and Institute for Environmental Management and Assessment (IEMA).

The partnership will be delivering major milestones or projects at this stage and will be able to show how the resources committed to the partnership are delivering multiple benefits. A crucial aspect of securing ongoing and future resources involves demonstrating the impact of previous and current funding and showing how future resource commitments will build on these investments and deliver further benefits.

  • Implement communication and engagement activities that focus on demonstrating the value of past and present resourcing. Activities such as progress briefings, website and social media updates and launch events to mark project milestones are all important opportunities to demonstrate impact alongside more formal monitoring and evaluation exercises,
  • Use profile raising opportunities and key milestones as opportunities to attract new resources to the partnership. This could include brining in new partners, forming alliances with research institutions or major private sector investors.
  • Apply rigorous monitoring and evaluation processes, and where possible quantify progress against agreed targets and indicators and communicate these. Use defined metrics and appropriate data and evidence to establish monitoring procedures in line with funding requirements.


Short term, smaller funders may have supported the undertaking of initial activities, but for the partnership, and the adaptation projects it supports, to grow and be sustainable in the future, the leveraging of long term funding and finance is required. Concerted effort from the partnership is needed to ensure funding and finance for adaptation projects and activities is directed at those people, places, and assets most in need.

  • Secure long-term (10–15-year) finance through mixing and blending financial instruments and developing new financial instruments and patents for innovation.
  • Stack a variety of funding and finance sources - Ensure appropriate finance mix based on the risk profile of the project and the funds available with the project proponent. Different instruments can be combined at different stages or for different deliverables. Financing the Resilient City: An ICLEI White Paper provides a sample investment structure for a climate resilience project highlighting which type of funding and finance may be best aligned at each stage.
  • Aggregate actions to create a pipeline of projects at a regional level and use grant finance to de-risk the investment pipelines rather than bank rolling projects. Developing a pipeline of projects that are ‘ready-to-go’ can help take advantage of funding and financing opportunities that may arise. Support may only be available to projects with a completed design (based on most available climate data). Public bodies and local governments thus may benefit from designing numerous resilience projects and getting them ready for funding – drawing on existing plans, policies and objectives. Work to develop a portfolio of resilience projects that align with organisational plans, community priorities and climate projections and are kept up to date with emerging data and evidence (ASAP, 2022).
  • Prioritise and package actions - confirm priorities, map opportunities based on goals and requirements, screen the project lists, categorise and package according to adaptation type, financial needs, funding requirements. Consider clustering small projects into components of a larger project to leverage funding. Projects may be bundled based on geography, project type, or hazard they are responding to , in order to create economies of scale. Bundling projects in this way can help improve eligibility for funding, attract increased diversity of investors, support cost-sharing, result in lower project development costs and mitigate financial risk. The Cities Climate Finance Leadership Alliance have also produced guidance on Aggregation Interventions to Increase Urban Climate Finance which provides a framework for aggregating interventions.
  • Identify a vehicle to support project aggregation - Work with regional facilitators to organise funding on a programme as opposed to project basis. A vehicle can attract and maximise funding and financing impact by pooling resources or creating blended financing. Intermediaries who can support this include green banks, national banks etc (America Adapts). Platforms for aggregation include CDP Matchmaker, ICLEI TAP and SDIP.
  • Ensure fair distribution of resource - actively ensure resources are being distributed to where it is most needed and helping the most vulnerable. Consider who benefits from the significant investment of resource.
  • Horizon scanning - keep abreast of emerging opportunities by committing time for regular review of funding calls. This can be supported by active engagement and collaboration with the finance sector, to identify leaders and collaborators with investment options to develop a portfolio of bankable, investment opportunities.


  • The Global Innovation Lab for Climate Finance (The Lab) identifies, develops, stress tests, and helps launch innovative financial instruments that address investment barriers and drive private finance for energy efficiency, renewable energy, sustainable transport, climate smart agriculture, nature-based solutions, adaptation & resilience, and other sectors key to a sustainable economy. In six years, the Lab has supported the launch of 49 instruments, which have collectively mobilized over USD 2.3 billion, including USD 800 million from the private sector (CPI, 2020).