Main Issue

The Strategic Priority on Adaptation program (SPA), which ran from 2004 to 2010, was a groundbreaking initiative to support pilot and demonstration adaptation projects. The SPA provided real benefits that could be integrated into national policies and sustainable development planning. Many of the lessons learned from those early projects have been integrated into the GEF’s ongoing adaptation programs.

The SPA sought to reduce vulnerability and increase resilience to the adverse effects of climate change. It targeted each of the GEF focal areas, while encouraging cross-sectoral approaches between biodiversity, climate change, international waters, land degradation, ozone layer depletion, and persistent organic pollutants.

What We Do

The SPA supported community-based adaptation, enabling beneficiaries to play an active role in the adaptation process. The SPA integrated community engagement, awareness and training, and traditional knowledge to build relevant and sustainable local projects. 

Below are some highlights:

  • Namibia adopted a wide array of adaptive solutions, such as irrigated vegetable production using harvested rain and floodwater to support families affected by HIV/AIDS. It also developed guides and tools on the need to involve all members of the community in adaptation.
  • Morocco improved resilience of a vulnerable rural oasis ecosystem through local participatory dialogue. 
  • Bolivia recovered the high-value and nutritious tarwi seed for use as a climate-resilient, commercially viable crop. It also shared knowledge with other developing countries.
  • Bangladesh established Women’s Resource Centers to strengthen the resilience of marginalized women through improved access to resources, health provisions, agricultural opportunities and diversified livelihoods. 

Results

Through the SPA, GEF provided US$50 million to fund 26 projects, which helped leverage another US$649 million from other partners. 

Key results include:

  • 91 percent of projects increased adaptive capacity and 55 percent reduced vulnerability on different levels. These achievements helped the GEF progress toward meeting objectives in the Climate Change Adaptation focal area.
  •  55 percent of projects involved technology transfer. This included the transfer of desalination technologies, coastal mapping, drip irrigation systems, coastal erosion monitoring stations and fire prevention technologies.

The GEF in Action: Early Warning for Forest Fires in Armenia

The mountain forest ecosystems in the Syunik region of Armenia are particularly vulnerable to climate change. Through the SPA, we worked on four pilot sites to enhance capacity for adaptation. Among its achievements, the project strengthened capacity for early response to wildfires through equipment, tools, training and awareness raising. It also supported an initiative by civil society to legally ban the burning of vegetation. The national government adopted the recommendation, and amended the relevant legislation in 2011.