Supporting the LDC Initiative for Effective Adaptation and Resilience (LIFE-AR)

The LDC Initiative for Effective Adaptation and Resilience (LIFE-AR) aims to support a shift away from 'business-as-usual' approaches to a more effective and ambitious climate response. LIFE-AR is a least developed countries (LDC) led initiative, which serves as one of the primary vehicles for delivering the LDC 2050 Vision for a climate-resilient future.

Began August 2018
Sarah McIvor

Senior researcher, Climate Change

Stepping up global ambition for climate action and justice
A programme of work showing how IIED is supporting the most vulnerable countries to increase global ambition to stay below 1.5°C
A group of people stand together posing for a photo

Representatives from LDC 'frontrunner' countries and supporting partners signed the ‘Partnership Compact’ to support the achievement of the LDC 2050 Vision through LIFE-AR during COP25 in Madrid (Photo: Jérémy Davis, IIED)

Least developed countries (LDCs) have noted that to overcome the pressing and unprecedented challenge of climate change, a long-term focus is required, in order to ensure that resilience and adaptation are consistently built over time.

To date, climate responses have often been short-term, projectised and sectoral, with limited impact due to climate action requiring long-term, cross-sectorial and multi-level support. 

In addition, climate responses have often been defined and led externally and not by LDCs themselves, limiting opportunities for long-term building of LDC systems and capacities. Such approaches are deemed ‘business as usual’.

Aims of LIFE-AR 

LIFE-AR is driven by key principles to support the achievement of the LDC 2050 Vision and support a shift away from ‘business-as-usual’ practice. The principles underpinning LIFE-AR include:

  1. Equality: between LDCs and the international community, between government and non-government actors, involving equal decision-making and mutual accountability, that values all contributions to generate shared solutions
  2. Integration: uniting sectors and actors horizontally and vertically to deliver whole-of-society action through long-term planning and programmes. Donors and climate funds can play their part by improving their collaboration and integration, and simplifying procedures to minimise burden
  3. Ownership: emboldening LDCs and their communities to lead on the development of climate solutions, following their direction, guidance and pace, and working with existing LDC institutions, structures and systems in-country to build sustainable capabilities for delivery
  4. Placing local action at the heart, where resources are put into local hands with a target of 70% finance flows that support action on the ground in LDCs by 2030, and
  5. Inclusion: leaving no country and no one behind, challenging social barriers that exclude and limit people’s potentials with a focus on gender transformation and social justice.

The LDC Group has set out five ambitious ‘offers’ for the achievement of the LDC 2050 Vision, and five ‘asks’ to the international community to join with them under a shared vision and partnership.

Further information on the LDC vision, offers and asks are shown in the below video featuring the Least Developed Countries Group's then lead negotiator, Tenzin Wangmo. Watch the video below, or on IIED's YouTube channel.

What is IIED doing?

For IIED, LIFE-AR is an opportunity to learn from LDCs and reflect on how we can embed LIFE-AR principles and ‘business unusual’ in the way we work, and build our capabilities.

Following a request from the LDC chair, IIED provides on-demand technical, strategic, and logistical support to the initiative when requested and serves as interim secretariat and host. However, we aim to work ourselves out of these roles and will carry out these functions for a temporary period as determined by the LDC chair.

Who is involved?

The initiative benefits from the direction, oversight and guidance of the LDC chair, an LDC Ministerial Group, and LDC advisory and technical groups. 

The LDC Ministerial Group provides high-level political direction and oversight, and self-selected the initial LDC frontrunner countries to inform the LDC 2050 Vision at national level.

The LDC advisory and technical groups draw on expertise from across LDC Group negotiators and adaptation specialists, as well as from the experience and expertise of LDC practitioners and resilience partners that have been driving climate action forward in practice.

In December 2018, the then-LDC Group chair Gebru Jember Endalew spoke about LIFE-AR at the 2018 Development and Climate Days. Watch the speech below or on IIED's YouTube channel.

An international debate during London Climate Action Week in July 2019 saw progressive voices share how they’re showing leadership in tackling the climate emergency – and calling on the rest of the world to match their ambition. Watch videos of the two sessions below or on IIED's YouTube channel.