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Building capacity for climate finance access through municipal partnerships in Africa and Sweden

Active project


The Swedish International Centre for Local Democracy (ICLD) Network for Climate Action project aims to promote democratic participation, self-governance and resilience to climate change at the local level. SEI supports the project by providing expertise in designing and implementing training to help local governments secure funding for climate action.

SEI delivers workshops with municipal officials to enhance their capacity to develop, lead and implement climate change resilience strategies based on democratic principles and human rights. These skills will support Africa’s participation in the Making Cities Resilient 2030 (MCR2030) agenda and empower local government actors to continue involving their citizens in adapting to climate change.

A group photo of participants in the network standing outside Stockholm Environment Institute headquarters. They are from various international and Swedish regions and municipalities.
Group of twenty-five diverse participants posing for a group photo outside a modern building on the KTH campus, under clear blue skies. The group, wearing business casual attire and conference badges, displays a range of expressions from smiles to neutral, all united by their commitment to climate action training.

Swedish International Centre for Local Democracy (ICLD) Network for Climate Action project participants visited SEI to exchange experiences and sustainable solutions with partner municipalities and regions.

Photo: Temis Tormo / SEI.

ICLD and SEI participants during their international training programme at the KTH Royal Institute of Technology campus.

Photo: Erika Svensson Rössner / KTH.

To meet global climate goals, local governments need to engage communities in climate change adaptation planning. By empowering citizens, civil society, and businesses to work together on climate action strategies, partnerships can be formed to access climate finance and drive collective efforts. Securing funding for climate mitigation is crucial for reducing emissions in line with the Paris Agreement and supporting initiatives like the green and just recovery from the Covid-19 crisis.

The lack of practical guidance has led to a knowledge gap in designing and implementing co-production approaches for accessing climate action finance at the local level. To address this issue, SEI and the Swedish International Centre for Local Democracy (ICLD) developed a tailor-made international training programme (ITP) to increase sustainable climate economic governance through municipal partnerships.

In the ITP, teams are formed of African municipal policymakers from ICLD’s Network for Climate Action and typically consist of three to four local government officials in strategic decision-making roles. Swedish participants also joined some training sessions to support the exchange of knowledge between North and South. Over the first two years of the programme, teams used their municipal partnership projects as case studies during training and participated in two learning modules:

Module 1: Local government officials, mentors and Swedish participants met in Kismuyu, Kenya in November 2023 for a workshop in co-producing climate vulnerability assessments and action plans. Capacity development focused on enhancing the involvement of vulnerable groups in decision-making and assessment processes, by removing barriers hindering their active participation. This was followed by online meetings with stakeholders to monitor and evaluate the co-production process and provide support for strategic plans.

Module 2: A workshop took place in Sweden in May 2024 for participants from cities in Kenya, Uganda, South Africa and Zambia. The workshop aimed to provide an overview of international climate finance landscape and identify funding opportunities for thematic projects. Local government officials had the chance to reflect on co-production successes and challenges and evaluate the strategic plan’s effectiveness.

Parallels with SEI’s previous and ongoing work

This capacity building programme aligns with SEI’s 2020-2024 strategy to reduce climate risk by incorporating citizens’ perspectives into municipal planning. This project supports SEI’s objective of enhancing decision-making for resilience through inclusive participation and strengthening climate change adaptation capabilities. Collaboration with ICLD and UNCDF also reflect SEI’s commitment to establish strategic partnerships both in Sweden and beyond. This project builds upon a legacy of SEI Oxford work in the African context, including the Future Resilience for African CiTies and Lands (FRACTAL) Project delivered across the Southern African region. The capacity development modules developed in this project could potentially be adapted for use in other regions, supporting knowledge sharing for disaster risk reduction and climate adaptation efforts (e.g., under the Horizon EU project DIRECTED). Additionally, the project’s stakeholder engagement evaluation can be used to develop best practices for future vulnerability assessments.

The learning modules are designed and delivered in collaboration with:

Project team

Nelson Ekane
Nelson Ekane

Research Fellow

SEI Headquarters

Katherine Browne
Katherine Browne

Team Leader: International Climate Risk and Adaptation; Research Fellow

SEI Headquarters

Sukaina Bharwani

Senior Research Fellow and weADAPT Director

SEI Oxford

Janne Parviainen
Janne Parviainen

Research Associate

SEI Oxford

Romanus Opiyo
Romanus Opiyo

Programme Leader

SEI Africa

Design and development by Soapbox.