SDI at the COP27 African Regional Resilience Hub

Join SDI at COP27 African Regional Resilience Hub from the 19th – 22nd of September 2022, as we shed light on and discuss important priorities, and actions. and more to be amplified at this year’s COP.

The COP27 Africa Regional Resilience Hub will see partners come together to disentangle and communicate African priorities, actions, solutions and challenges to be amplified at the COP27 Resilience Hub.

The COP27 African Regional Resilience Hub is one of four regional hubs, which intends to offer a dynamic and diverse space at and between the UNFCCC Cops to advance inclusive and innovative action on climate adaptation and resilience.

The Resilience Hub aims to mobilise and create levels of ambition and action from across Africa on building resilience to climate change and serves as the home to the Race to Resilience campaign at COP. This represents more than 1500 non-governmental actors taking action on resilience around the world. 

Aims of the COP27 African Regional Resilience Hub

The Africa Hub aims to ensure the voices and perspectives of African communities and constituencies, most impacted by climate change, increasingly drive the global resilience agenda. The Hub aims to deliver a programme of in-person and virtual sessions and engagements on regional priority topics from August to September 2022, culminating in a virtual programme of events from 19-22 September.

This year’s COP27 Africa Regional Resilience Hub is led by the Climate Development Knowledge Network (CDKN), hosted by SouthSouthNorth.

The virtual programme will include 16 sessions on the priority themes of finance and investment, food and agriculture, resilient infrastructure, water and natural ecosystems, and cities and urbanisation. Cross-cutting themes include gender and social inclusion, and engaging and amplifying local voices.

The events SDI will be a part of:

Confronting the climate crisis in African Cities: How urban poor communities are driving locally led adaptation and building resilience

Date: Tuesday, 20 September 2022 

Time: 16:30-18:00 CAT/CEST

Register HERE.

Climate proofing locally led adaptation (LLA) solutions among the vulnerable groups in Sub-Sharan Africa

Date: Wednesday, 21 September 2022

Time: 13:30-15:00 CAT/CEST

Register HERE.

Inclusive community-led climate change adaptation financing in urban and peri-urban informal settlements

Date: Wednesday, 21 September 2022

Time: 15:00-16:30 CAT/CEST

Register HERE.

For general Africa Resilience Hub queries, please email Michelle du Toit:

For communications-specific queries, please email Emma Baker:

SDI Co-developed a Working Paper on Locally Led Adaptation

As part of our climate justice work, SDI co-developed a working paper entitled “Locally Led Adaptation From Principles to Practice”, highlighting the value of Locally Led Adaptation (LLA) in managing climate risks faced by local communities and Indigenous peoples.

The paper was co-developed by a consortium of global partners working together to deliver the Adaptation Action Coalition’s Locally Led Adaptation Workstream. These partners are Centro para la Autonomía y Desarrollo de Los Pueblos Indígenas (Center for the Autonomy and Development of Indigenous Peoples), the Caribbean Natural Resources Institute, ENDA, Huairou Commission, the International Centre for Climate Change and Development, the International Institute for Environment and Development, Save the Children Australia, Slum Dwellers International, SouthSouthNorth, and World Resources Institute.

Presently, LLA recognises that there is value in local knowledge and expertise in addressing climate risk and ensures that local actors on the front lines of the climate emergency have equitable access to resources to build adequate resilience.

READ |The Worlds Poorest Have the Strongest Resilience, yet Their Voices Remain Unheard

May 2022, saw more than 70 organisations and governments across the globe endorsing eight Principles for Locally Led Adaptation which provide foundational guidance for an approach to adaptation which emphasises priorities on the ground.

There is a growing focus placed on ensuring that adaptation finance is accessible by grassroots players. Simultaneously, there is a growing body of knowledge and research offering guidance for the implementation of LLA and underscoring it as a global priority.

What the working paper addresses

The working paper SDI co-developed, reviews 21 examples of approaches to implementing the Principles for LLA through interventions, programmes and policies across Africa, Asia and the Pacific, and the Caribbean and Latin America. The aforementioned paper provides real-life examples of how funders and governments can follow through on their commitments to fast-track and scale the implementation of LLA. Governance and financing processes that prioritise the agency of grassroots actors are vital for LLA. Adapting these processes to redress power imbalances and emphasise local priorities can be complex and challenging. This paper provides examples of approaches to make these shifts and demystify funders and governments’ steps to operationalise and scale adaption.

Subsequently, these approaches can be utilised to turn investments and commitments to LLA into policies, practices and actions to ensure that grassroots partners have equitable access to climate finance and are the centre of decision-making processes.

The Principles for Putting LLA into Practice

Principle 1: Devolving decision-making to the lowest appropriate level
Principle 2: Addressing structural inequalities faced by women, youth, children, people living with disabilities, the displaced, Indigenous peoples, and marginalized ethnic groups
Principle 3: Providing patient and predictable funding that can be accessed more easily
Principle 4: Investing in local capabilities to leave an institutional legacy
Principle 5: Building a robust understanding of climate risk and uncertainty
Principle 6: Flexible programming and learning
Principle 7: Ensuring transparency and accountability
Principle 8: Collaborative action and investment 

Recommended Strategies for Advancing LLA

Based on the review of 21 projects, the paper found recommended strategies for advancing LLA.

Early on funders and governments should pursue opportunities to scale LLA by increasing the amount of climate finance it allocates, improving the quality of finance by making it more accessible and flexible for grassroots actors, and adjusting governance and decision-making processes to ensure that those actors have agency in adaptation planning and implementation.

Undoubtedly, the Principles for LLA must be addressed holistically to ensure that adaptation investments, policies and interventions enable and scale LLA in a multitude of ways simultaneously.

Funders and governments are to commit to advancing active learning and research on LLA processes, outcomes and impacts to continue to fill knowledge and evidence gaps and improve the collective understanding of best practices for equitable and effective LLA.

We encourage funders and governments to ensure social equity is integrated into LLA efforts. This may include building such considerations into standard practices, processes and decisions, and investing in mechanisms which are specifically designed to support groups that experience disproportional vulnerabilities.

SDI co-developed this working paper alongside incredible partners. W encourage engagement around the implementation of the Principles of LLA and its importance in pro-poor urban development and ensuring grassroots players are at the fore of climate change solutions. 

Read the full report here

Zimbabwe’s Urban Resilience Programme

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Project Background

Dialogue on Shelter, the Zimbabwe Homeless People’s Federation (ZHPF) and the Zimbabwe Young People’s Federation ZYPF) are part of a consortium of non-governmental organisations implementing the Urban Social Assistance Programme in 3 Zimbabwean cities: Harare South, Epworth and Bulawayo. The Urban Social Assistance Programme has two complementary focus areas, namely the cash transfer (CBT) component and the urban resilience (UR) component. Since November 2019, the Zimbabwe SDI alliance has been implementing preliminary activities in order to roll out the urban resilience work with collectives in the targeted domains. The preliminary activities have centered on mobilizing and organising grassroots savings collectives which will spearhead vital community-led urban resilience interventions that are needed alongside cash transfers to improve food security.

What is urban resilience for the Zimbabwe SDI alliance?

Inadequate sources of income may lead to urban food insecurity, but urban poverty cannot easily be addressed by raising income levels. Limited access to safe and secure housing and services directly contributes to malnutrition and food insecurity. Meanwhile, poor tenure can further impair access to basic services and decent housing. The residents of low income and informal settlements are often overlooked by government. These communities often rely on collective organisation and brokered co-production partnerships to secure political visibility and voice to negotiate longer term structural solutions to their problems, for example, the regularisation of their informal neighbourhoods and/or access to affordable services. As a result of inadequate access to services and low incomes, those living in low-income neighbourhoods suffer from increased exposure and sensitivity to the environmental risks including those related to climate change. All these factors affect the ability to build resilience to a range of shocks and stresses. Effective practical responses and strategic policies are needed to address urban food insecurity in both its income and non-income dimensions. the Zimbabwe SDI alliance’s response to these challenges is to promote incremental and participatory slum/informal settlement upgrading through the following activities:

  • Building women-centred savings collectives
  • Community-led data collection processes
  • Emphasising participatory informal settlement upgrading
  • Promoting horizontal learning processes for capacity-building
  • Co-production of knowledge for policy-influencing and advocacy
  • Establishing co-created/co-governed settlement/city level urban poor funds
  • Promoting community-led livelihoods interventions


Complementing cash transfers with community action in urban areas

Whether in rural or urban areas, the focus of social protection efforts by both international and national organisations has been primarily on cash transfers to individual households. Where targeting has been used, there have been concerns that this selectivity reduces solidarity between households in any given neighbourhood and therefore leads to less collective action, whether to do with political pressure or to provide essential goods, rights and entitlements and/or to provide basic services through self-help. Hence, there is a tension between collective action and individual support. While this is not an exclusively urban problem, this tension is exacerbated in urban informal settlements because of the need to negotiate with the state for regularisation and improved access to services. 

More generally it is recognised that there is also a need to build collective social and political capital in order to enhance the resilience of communities in the long run. It is clear that no one financing mechanism can deliver resilient communities. Different social protection and finance mechanisms will continue to serve different purposes. Local savings collectives often provide a space for low income urban communities to save and borrow money, the revolving nature of these funds means that resources can go further. More effective approaches to poverty reduction including food security can be developed by converging and harmonising institutions (local gov, civil society, private sector and humanitarian agencies) to ensure coherent planning and to develop local alliances to enhance local resilience and well as improved development options

Layering urban resilience and cash-based transfer interventions

Under the urban resilience component, the Zimbabwe SDI alliance is implementing a set of activities which are aimed to building resilience amongst the targeted domains. Below, a summary of the activities is provided;

  • Establishment and strengthening of savings collectives – this activity entails the setting up of community-level institutional structures for facilitating savings and loan activities for supporting livelihoods and building resilience. The collectives are constituted on average by 20 households per group with members meeting regularly to save and discuss priorities for the membership. The savings and loan groups will, therefore, be geared towards building a pool of financial resources through which the groups will then, in turn, give out loans to members to meet household requirements such procuring food, meeting medical expenses and school fees. The savings collectives are also meant to contribute towards building the much-needed social cohesion for groups to better engage decision-makers regarding accessing improved urban services.
  • Community networking and exchanges – under this activity, the targeted communities undertake peer-to-peer exchange visits. The exchange visits include on average 5 people from a selected settlement visiting another settlement. The horizontal exchanges seek to provide learning opportunities for communities with similar conditions of vulnerability enabling them to learn how their counterparts are dealing with similar urban shocks. The exchanges, therefore, act as a capacity building and strengthening tool through sharing of experiences around, for instance, resilience-building activities implemented in other geographical parts of the project.
  • Participatory data collection processes – these constituted participatory data collection processes meant to generate information on socio-economic and spatial attributes of the targeted settlements. In particular, the assessments are meant to document urban shocks and community responses. For instance, the recent outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic has resulted in the need to understand its impacts as an urban shock. The findings from these participatory assessments were in the form of impacts, community responses and settlement development priorities that will help inform and sharpen the resilience building activities. It is also expected that the findings will help in defining a clear agenda on existing infrastructure needs during the engagement processes between the communities and decision-makers thereby enabling the access to improved urban services.

Urban resilience interventions should build on the on-going CBT activities in the targeted domains. Directly layering the urban resilience activities onto the same household that receive CBT proves to be challenging, given the different targeting methodologies associated with urban resilience and CBT activities. For instance, participation in savings collectives is voluntary under the urban resilience pillar, it is not a guarantee that everyone on CBT will join the savings collectives, and there may be some members who have not received CBT but are willing to join the savings collectives under urban resilience. However, given the settlement-wide focus of collective urban resilience interventions, the urban resilience activities have indirectly benefited households that have not been the subject of CBT interventions.