Regional Climate Leadership Academy

From March 26 to 28, 2014, teams from eight cities in four countries gathered in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic for the Regional Climate Leadership Academy: Increasing the Climate Resilience of Infrastructure Services in Cities across Latin America and the Caribbean. The three-day workshop highlighted innovative and transferable infrastructure resilience practices from across the region through peer-to-peer learning and featured presentations.

Workshop Objectives 
The Climate Leadership Academy was designed to:
  • Foster peer-to-peer learning and creative invention within and across city teams.
  • Create opportunities for city teams to build internal and regional relationships.
  • Increase capacity and commitment of city teams to improve the climate resilience of infrastructure services using USAID’s Climate-Resilient Development Framework, CCRD and CRIS approaches, and other strategies employed across the region. 
  • Provide easy access to the best available climate change resilience ideas, approaches, strategies, tools, and resources.
  • Gather information and ideas to inform climate resilient development efforts in cities around the world through the CCRD project, CRIS program, USAID adaptation activities, and other development efforts. 
Workshop Outcomes
On the last day of the workshop, each city team developed an ambitious three- to six-month action plan. The plans particularly focused on mainstreaming climate adaptation and resilience into existing plans and processes, collaboration and coordination to accelerate urban resilience, and capacity building and education for stakeholders. Participants also expressed a newfound sense of community; increased motivation and energy to take climate change action; and new and strengthened connections with colleagues, peers, and other important stakeholders to leverage in support of future efforts. 

The workshop also produced a Resource Guide that contains case studies on urban resilience, profiles of the cities that participated, and resource lists with links to reports by topic area. The topics covered in the resource lists include: climate change adaptation basics, urban adaptation strategies, infrastructure adaptation, the economics of climate change adaptation, regional resources for Latin America and the Caribbean, and online tools, knowledge centers, and databases.

Next Steps
A number of key takeaways and next steps were highlighted by the workshop:
  • Attendees encouraged outcomes from CRIS’s work with pilot cities to be widely disseminated. 
  • Workshop participants identified a number of remaining needs, such as technical support for climate change adaptation efforts, access to climate information that is tailored to city decision-making, greater coordination among municipalities, and a better understanding of financing mechanisms and opportunities.
  • Workshop attendees expressed a strong desire to remain in close contact with one another, with CRIS technical staff, and with resource team experts. 
  • The workshop’s approach of combining peer-exchange workshops with direct technical support can be used to further promote global climate change adaptation. 
To follow-up on these takeaways, workshop participants suggested that the CRIS program disseminate the program’s tools and resources to the participant cities as well as other cities worldwide. They encouraged the program to support ongoing communication and resource sharing among cities.

The following workshop materials were created: