Climate change adaptation has become a central concern for sustainable development and economic policy, especially in emerging and developing countries. Not surprisingly, the provision of climate finance, especially for adaptation needs in vulnerable and local communities, is considered a key element and political goal in the international climate change space.
Effectively steering these resources to the local level where they are most needed and are likely to have the greatest impact remains oftentimes a challenge. This is particularly alarming as vulnerabilities to the effects of climate change are highly localised and/or regional which makes adaptation a mainly place-based activity. Despite being most in need of effective adaptation, local entities often lack financial resources to plan and implement adequate adaptation measures.
In this paper, several key challenges and potential solutions for channelling money from the international to the local level have been identified and analysed. The analysis sheds light on promising elements of so-called elevator functions (specific strategies or operating principles within programmes that aim to channel funding effectively through vertical administrative levels from the international to the local level where it is meant to unfold maximum impact) in existing financing mechanisms from different sectors that are potentially suitable for adaptation finance. Furthermore, the authors present options and recommendations for action for adaptation finance practitioners, project managers and experts from donor agencies and multilateral finance institutions in order to improve the channelling of adaptation finance to the local level.