Capacity building for climate action and ambition: what have we learned?


On 18 November, this IIED and ICCCAD webinar examined what we have learned from past capacity building initiatives and how we can ramp up climate ambition.

Last updated 18 November 2020
Woman in workshop points at a poster. Audience looks at her.

Participants at the CBA11 conference in Kampala, Uganda, learning about community-based forecasting (Photo: IIED)

To effectively adapt to the escalating impacts of climate change, support for locally led climate action is needed. Training, advocacy, and capacity building are proven pathways to change, but what do we need to do now to ramp up ambition?

This London Climate Action Week online event discussed what we have learned from past capacity building initiatives and how we can build on shared experiences to collaborate effectively with vulnerable developing countries in the face of growing inequalities.

Capacity building is often an essential component of climate change initiatives. In the least developed countries (LDCs), capacity building initiatives have empowered individuals and communities to influence climate action at the local and global scale.

Through collaboration and knowledge exchange across borders, capacity building initiatives have supported individuals, civil society networks, grassroots communities, and research institutions to act on climate.

COVID-19 has deepened the inequalities faced by communities that are on the frontline of any global crisis, including the climate emergency. As we move forward, what can we learn from past capacity building initiatives that support the LDCs to address climate change?

Hosted by IIED and the International Centre for Climate Change and Development (ICCCAD), this online event brought together stakeholders from four climate capacity building initiatives to reflect on experiences and what that means in a post-COVID world.

How can we use what we know and have achieved so far to ramp up our climate ambition for COP26? Drawing on lessons learned through capacity building, advocacy, and grassroots action, how can we catalyse a different future?

Event coverage

You can watch a video recording of the complete event below and on IIED's YouTube channel.

About the speakers

Andrew Norton (opening remarks) is director of IIED. He is an applied anthropologist working on a range of issues related to social and environmental justice.

Saleemul Huq (chair) is the director of ICCCAD in Bangladesh, and is an expert on the links between climate change and sustainable development, particularly from the perspective of developing countries.

Danise Love Dennis is a communications specialist with the Environmental Protection Agency of Liberia and one of Liberia’s youngest Climate Change Negotiators. Danise is a beneficiary of the European Capacity Building Initiative (ECBI) support programme for junior negotiators.

Shehnaaz Moosa is the director of the Climate and Development Knowledge Network programme that supports developing country decision-makers to design and deliver climate compatible development through capacity building. As a director at SouthSouthNorth, Shehnaaz has also overseen the Southern Africa Climate Finance Partnership Programme since 2016, focusing on improving climate finance access in southern Africa.

Mizan Khan is programme director of the Least Developed Countries University Consortium on Climate Change (LUCCC) which aims to develop South-South and South-South-North knowledge sharing and capacity development programme on adaptation to climate change in universities and training institutes in the 48 LDCs.

Susan Nanduddu is a development practitioner with a keen interest in climate change adaptation. Her journey into climate change work begun with the Capacity Strengthening of Least Developed Countries in Adaptation to Climate Change (CLACC) programme with 15 countries in the global South. Susan heads the African Centre for Trade and Development, a non-governmental organisation that promotes sustainable development, based in Kampala, Uganda.

About the series

This was the third online event in a series hosted by IIED and ICCCAD on the climate crisis and COVID-19 – working together for the change we need.

This event was also hosted as part of London Climate Action Week digital. In conversation with colleagues around the world, from civil society organisations, universities and governments, this series is looking at what we can learn to make us more ready for the new ways of working we need to tackle the climate crisis.

See other events in the series:

IIED events newsletter

Sign up to our mailing list for updates and invitations to events throughout the year, including webinars, critical themes and debriefs.


Juliette Tunstall ([email protected]), IIED's internal engagement and external events officer