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NBI Adaptation

Unlocking Private Sector Involvement in The Green Climate Fund Projects in South Africa: Building an Adaptation Project Pipeline


The National Business Initiative (NBI) and the South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI) are working together to develop a pipeline of adaptation projects for investment.  The project is divided into three phases. Phase 1 is focussed on the capacity building of companies and other stakeholders: we have created several informative videos which provide more information on the topics of climate science, adaptation and finance for sharing internally with your organisations. Phase 2 is about building a community of practice of multiple stakeholders who can work together to identify and scale projects – click here to fill out our webform and join this community of practice. Phase 3, yet to start, is about project implementation. Watch the summary video to learn more.

NBI Adaptation Summary Video

Watch the summary video to understand what “Building an Adaptation Project Pipeline” is all about.

Meet the challenges, act for a climate resilient South Africa

Adaptation Community of Practice 

As part of Phase 2 of the project, SANBI and the NBI are establishing a Community of Practice supported by collaboration convenings to identify specific projects which can contribute towards a national pipeline of adaptation, biodiversity and ecosystem-based adaptation actions. Companies will need to collaborate with each other and with other stakeholders in order to develop projects that are of the sufficient scale required to have a meaningful impact and attract significant investment. 

The collaboration convenings are scheduled to begin in early 2021. 

Kindly complete the form below to participate in the SANBI-NBI Community of Practice collaboration convenings and to receive notifications of upcoming convenings.


Phase 1

Phase 1 of this work grounds us all in the latest information on the climate science, adaptation and finance. Please click the learn more button to watch the exciting videos on these topics.


Phase 2

Phase 2 of this work is focussed on building a community of practice specific project identification, understanding what projects are suitable for adaptation finance and can be combined to provide impact at the necessary scale.  If interested, please click here to sign up to our community of practice.


Phase 3

Phase 3 will shortlist a few high promise projects with which the NBI & SANBI can approach the Green Climate Fund (GCF) for funding. Our ambition is to identify projects requiring US$50 million of funding.

Phase 1

Climate resilience requires organizations to develop adaptive capacity to respond to climate risks and impacts and to realise opportunities, including the ability to respond to transition risks and physical risks.  Phase 1 focused on building the maturity of the business community to channel business expertise and identify suitable biodiversity and ecosystem-based adaptation projects in South Africa that can be implemented at scale. While companies may have existing programmes that support the goals of adaptation and biodiversity-based adaptation, they may not use this terminology internally and may therefore not be aware of other stakeholder efforts in the field.

The NBI and SANBI convened business in a series of rich capacity building sessions covering the latest information on a range of biodiversity, climate resilience, adaptation and climate finance and ecosystem-based adaptation topics.

Building the Capacity of South African Business to Adapt to a Rapidly Changing World

The NBI and SANBI hosted 4 events:  one on climate change science, one on climate finance, one on adaptation finance specifically and one (hosted online because of Covid-19) on biodiversity and ecosystem-based adaptation. We recommend watching the videos in sequence, but you can jump around depending on your particular interests.

Event 1: An Update on the Latest Climate Science with Professor Bob Scholes and Professor Francois Engelbrecht

These videos provide a comprehensive update on the status of the latest climate science with two of South Africa’s leading climate scientists:

The Impacts of Climate Change:

“Hotter than ever in human experience – not just in terms of the instrumental records. The last time we had temperatures like this was somewhere around 3 million years ago.” ~Professor Bob Scholes (Systems Ecologist at the Global Change Institute- Wits)

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Why Southern Africa is a Climate Change Hotspot:

“Across our region [Southern Africa]: ALL locations recorded the warmest summer on record. We need to think seriously, broadly and ambitiously about what adaptation projects we can pursue to reduce vulnerability.” ~ Professor Francois Engelbrecht (Climatologist at the Global Change Institute – Wits)

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Event 2: An Introduction to and the State of Climate Finance

“There is plenty of money, just not the right projects.” Find out how climate finance is structured and how to access it in the following series of videos. This shortage of projects is particularly acute in adaptation, and even more so when considering the need for biodiversity-based adaptation.

Adaptation Finance Overview:

“We [SANBI]: are an accredited entity of two global climate funds – the Adaptation Fund and Green Climate Fund. This means we are able to access these funds as a national entity.” ~ Dr. Mandy Barnett (Chief Director- Adaptation Policy & Resourcing at SANBI)

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Global Climate Finance Landscape and Domestic Links:

“There is a lot of money out there, but no one is able to access that money. The question is why aren’t you able to access that money?” ~ Zaheer Fakir (Chief Director-International Relations & Governance at the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment (DFFE)

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Bridging the Adaptation Finance Gap (Panel Discussion):

“That is one of my key messages: All finance is trying to find a home and to be welcome. You need to figure out how to welcome that finance.” ~ Malango Mughogho (Managing Director- ZeniZeni Sustainable Finance)

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Event 4: The Role of Biodiversity and Ecosystem-Based Finance

Innovative eco-system based initiatives not only increase biodiversity, they can often save time, money and reduce environmental impact. Find out about some of South Africa’s most innovative climate change adaptation solutions in this next series of videos.

Welcome and Recap of Events:

“Our ambition has changed over time; we have gone from thinking about a few smaller adaptation projects to really wanted to develop some big $150 million projects. Let us do this right by finding great partnerships and projects that we can at scale and invest wholesale in the country.” ~ Steve Nicholls (Head: Environmental Sustainability at the NBI)

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Overview of the Ecosystem-based Adaptation in SA:

“In South Africa, EbA has been identified as an important component of the country’s overall climate change adaptation response, as indicated in the National Climate Change Response Plan.” ~Barney Kgope, Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries (DEFF).

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Entry Points for Mainstream Ecosystem Adaptation:

“Despite our significant progression as a country with regard to EbA, we have not really been monitoring the impacts of projects.” ~Dr Tony Knowles, The Cirrus Group

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Economic Development that Values Nature:

“This presentation will give you an understanding of how Ecosystem-based adaptation looks on the ground, where we are working to support eco-systems, to support people and to really development sustainable, flourishing green economies.” ~ Julie Levin (Executive Director, Conservation South Africa)

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Private Sector Investment in Eco-Restoration:

“Thicket restoration would cost US$150 million over a 5-year period, but over 50 years, this amount is estimated to yield a 10% return on investment.” Jessica Allen (Climate Change & Environmental Consultant, C4 EcoSolutions)

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Farming for the Future:

“We developed a system to ensure continuous improvement of suppliers through the application of an independently audited system to measure and report on farmer’s performance across a variety of performance areas.” ~Feroz Koor, (Group Head of Sustainability, Woolworths)

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Marine Eco-Based Solutions:

“There should be an openness to hybrid systems, there are times when you may look at combining nature based and engineered solutions, sometimes that’s the best route to go.” ~Alex Benkenstein, South African Institute of International Affairs (SAIIA)

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Private Sector Opportunities for Adaptation (Panel Discussion):

“I am hoping that in the next decade we will start to see some fairly large-scale [adaptation] projects that do incorporate carbon credits” ~Jessica Allen (C4 EcoSolutions)

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Phase 2

A thriving natural environment is fundamental to adaptation in every human enterprise. The natural environment is humanity’s first line of defence against floods, droughts, heat waves and hurricanes. A truly resilient business also works to protect nature and achieve resilient communities.  

Business climate resilience focuses on understanding, assessing and acting – based on physical and transition climate-related risks.

Phase 2 of this SANBI-NBI partnership aims to identify specific projects that can contribute towards a national pipeline of adaptation, biodiversity and ecosystem-based adaptation actions, convening companies who have adaptation-relevant projects into a community of practice to encourage partnerships to scale up projects.

Phase 3

Companies need to adopt resilience strategies that include ambitious measures to adapt to climate change impacts, as well as steps to strategically transform so that they can benefit from new opportunities and address unprecedented risk.  

Phase 3 will shortlist high promise projects for incubation and further development. SANBI and the NBI will provide support to companies in writing proposals for GCF funding for biodiversity and ecosystem-based adaptation projects.

We have created a series of video highlights from the live events. These are short videos with key messages, which can be used in internal comms campaigns:

Find the social media package for Event 1: An Update on the Latest Climate Science (Highlights), here.

Find the social media package for Event 2: An introduction to and the State of Climate Finance (Highlights), here.

Find the social media package for Event 3: Adaptation Finance Examples and Best Practice (Highlights), here.

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