On Thursday, as part of President Biden’s whole-of-government approach to confronting the climate crisis, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) released its Climate Readiness Plan. The Climate Readiness Plan outlines actions USAID will implement across the Agency’s operations management functions and programs to adapt to the effects of the changing climate.
USAID developed its Climate Readiness Plan in response to Executive Order 14008, Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad. This Executive Order instructed Federal Government agencies to take a wide range of actions to combat the climate crisis: from placing climate change at the center of U.S. foreign policy, to leveraging the Federal Government’s buying power, procurement policies, and real property management to support robust climate action.
Through the Climate Readiness Plan, USAID will implement priority climate adaptation and risk mitigation actions across its management functions and program processes to increase the resilience of the Agency’s core mission to known climate threats and vulnerabilities. These core actions include:
- Mainstreaming climate into USAID’s strategies, policies, processes, programming, and operations;
- Improving climate risk management implementation, accountability, and supply chain resilience;
- Enhancing climate staffing, training, and capacity building to ensure a climate-ready workforce; and
- Deploying a variety of tools and scientific data to ensure both climate-ready sites and facilities, as well as a climate-ready supply of mission-critical products and services.
The Climate Readiness Plan supports and aligns with USAID’s forthcoming Climate Strategy, which the Agency will release for public review in November 2021 and will serve as a blueprint to guide USAID’s international programs and partnerships as part of a whole-of-Agency approach to combating the climate crisis. In the Climate Strategy, USAID will elaborate on its plan to support the Biden-Harris Administration’s environmental justice objectives to build a more equitable future.
As a complement to its Climate Strategy and Climate Readiness Plan, USAID will soon release its annual Sustainability Plan to guide the Agency’s efforts to minimize its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from its operations, including from its facilities, motor vehicles, employee air travel, utility consumption, waste management, information technology, and more, while expanding the Agency’s use of clean energy. Through the Sustainability Plan, USAID is setting ambitious goals for GHG emissions reductions by 2030 to advance the United States’ goal of achieving net-zero emissions. USAID’s goals include:
- Using 100 percent clean energy in USAID’s domestic leased properties;
- Transitioning 100 percent of the Agency’s domestic vehicle fleet to be more energy efficient and transitioning the overseas fleet as country conditions allow;
- Maximizing opportunities to reduce emissions from USAID’s global supply chains; and
- Supporting USAID’s implementing partners to reduce their emissions and work toward becoming net-zero organizations.
USAID is one of 20 federal agencies that developed plans.