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Step Change launched at COP27 to support locally led adaptation to climate change

A new and innovative partnership between Canada and the Netherlands was announced during the 27th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP27) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. The CAD28.5-million Step Change initiative will accelerate equitable and inclusive locally led adaptation to climate change in the Global South.
A boy carries a water can across a dry field on a small farm in Pakistan. A calf stands in the background.
IDRC/Tom Pilston
On a small farm in Pakistan, a boy carries a water can from a solar-powered pumping system that replaced the animal-powered system for drawing up well water.

Funded for five years (2022–2027), Step Change will support the integration of gender and social inclusion in climate policies and practice, strengthen the implementation of eco-system-based adaptation, advance access to equitable adaptation finance, and strengthen capacity for locally led adaptation. 

Co-funded by IDRC and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands, Step Change rises to the global call for an all-of-society response to adaptation that catalyzes locally led action, harnesses the power of nature and ensures adequate and equitable adaptation finance. 

“I am delighted to continue our partnership with the Netherlands, which continues to be a good example of the friendship between our two countries,” says Dominique Charron, IDRC’s vice-president, Programs and Partnerships. “Evidence of the urgency of the climate crisis is all around us, especially in low- and middle-income countries. Step Change will take what we’ve learned about supporting evidence-based decision-making in these countries to the next level by improving the resilience of the most climate-affected communities, and it will generate the momentum for locally led climate action that is so sorely needed.”   

Step Change scales the impact of a previous Canada-Netherlands partnership by increasing support to the Climate and Development Knowledge Network (CDKN). CDKN is a global network of climate knowledge brokers led by SouthSouthNorth, in partnership with Fundación Futuro Latinoamericano  and ICLEI South Asia.  

“As a Southern-led network, CDKN is uniquely positioned to provide added value in the knowledge brokering space on the juncture of science, policy, practice and innovation to accelerate equitable and inclusive locally led adaptation,” says Rene van Hell, Director of Inclusive Green Growth and Ambassador for Sustainable Development at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands. “Our renewed partnership with IDRC builds on and scales out the success of previous years and is designed to strengthen the resilience of the most climate-affected people.”   

Through Step Change support, CDKN will advance gender-responsive and socially inclusive climate-resilient development by mobilizing knowledge into action and strengthening climate leadership and capacity from local to global levels. 

“We are living in a decisive decade in human history, where what we do now to tackle the climate crisis and achieve sustainable development will have long-lasting implications," says Shehnaaz Moosa, CDKN’s CEO. “l am excited that CDKN is in a position as a Southern-based program to forge solutions for the South led by the South and to build on 12 years of experience to deepen our impact and focus on community-led climate action that is both gender-responsive and socially inclusive. We look forward to continuing our successful collaboration with IDRC and the Dutch government over the next five years.” 

Step Change also advances lessons learned about how to build bridges between climate evidence and climate action. The  “Field Builder” component of the Step Change initiative will increase the number of organizations and individuals capable of ensuring that evidence drives the urgent climate actions needed on the African continent.  

Step Change is part of Canada’s efforts to support adaptation to climate change for the most vulnerable and women’s leadership in climate action, including through locally led solutions that increase resilience. 

Learn more about Step Change