A green scenery in a mountainous region, including a tree on the left side and a small water source in the middle of two rocky hills.


Strengthening climate and biodiversity action worldwide

The German Federal Government is committed to strengthening climate and biodiversity action worldwide. Through its funding programme, the International Climate Initiative (IKI), it supports ambitious projects on climate change mitigation, adaptation as well as forest and biodiversity conservation on an international level. Since 2022, IKI is implemented by the BMWK in close cooperation with the BMUV and the AA. The ministries jointly support approaches that implement and ambitiously develop the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) and adaptation goals anchored in the Paris Agreement. This includes measures to conserve and rebuild natural carbon sinks, taking into account environmental, economic and social concerns. The IKI also supports its partner countries in achieving the goals of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). The IKI Small Grants Programme is part of the IKI and commissioned by BMWK, AA and BMUV.

Why IKI ‘Small’ Grants?

Achieving the global and national targets formulated in the Paris Agreement and the CBD requires the active participation of all social groups worldwide, especially on the local and regional level. However, local organisations in ODA-eligible countries often lack access to international funding, or financing mechanisms are not tailored to their specific needs. With the IKI Small Grants programme, founded in 2019, the IKI strategy is extended and reaches out to small regional, national, and local organisations and their decentralized solutions. It is specifically aimed at organisations that already have experience in local project implementation and want to grow further.

Two approaches – one goal

IKI Small Grants comprises two components: ‘International Calls’ and ‘Funding Institutions’, accompanied by extensive capacity development measures. Both components share one common goal: supporting small-scale, local, or regional climate and biodiversity action in ODA-eligible countries. The component ‘International Calls’ seeks to reach projects directly through regular calls for proposals and the provision of direct funding. Over a 7-year period, about 15 million euros will be provided to approximately 120 selected projects. The component ‘Funding Institutions’ cooperates with 6 national and regional institutions engaged in the area of climate and biodiversity. It provides them with administrative and technical advice and funding of 5 million euros in total to implement their own calls for proposals and funding lines.

International Calls

From funding for solar-powered water pumps for women smallholder farmers in India, to the promotion of eco-schools in Malawi and ecological restoration of wetlands in Columbia. The component ‘International Calls’ supports local actors to mitigate greenhouse-gas emissions, adapt to the impacts of climate change and to conserve forests and biodiversity worldwide. It aims to promote small, context-tailored, and innovative ideas while at the same time supporting the implementing organisations in developing and expanding their own capacities and networks.

‘International Calls’ regularly conducts international calls for proposals which are announced on this website and via the IKI newsletter. In a one-stage selection procedure, small regional, national, and local organisations based in an ODA-eligible country can apply directly for funding of the implementation of local or regional climate and biodiversity projects. Organisations must have at least three years of relevant experience and the average annual revenue of the organisation should range between 60,000 and 500,000 euros.

‘International Calls’ is aiming to fund more than 120 individual projects by 2026 with a funding volume between approximately 60,000 and 200,000 euros each (depending on the call).

The funding is dedicated to support the implementation of small projects that address four areas of support:


Development and implementation of instruments to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions either directly or indirectly through developing mitigation capacities.


Implementation of measures to reduce vulnerabilities and to increase the adaptive capacity of the population or of affected groups.


Adoption of measures for the restoration and ecosystem-based adaptation of forests. Long-term reduction of emissions from deforestation and the degradation of forests.


Measures designed to conserve biodiversity directly or to build capacity for biodiversity conservation that adress the global loss of biodiversity.

Are you a member of a non-profit organisation engaged in climate or biodiversity action and you have a creative project idea? If your organisation is registered in an ODA-eligible country and you are active in the non-profit sector, please take a look at our International Calls’ section for detailed information on our funding opportunities.

Funding Institutions

The component ‘Funding Institutions’ strengthens the capacities of national and regional institutions in order to start local funding programmes in the respective countries or regions. Selected institutions receive technical support from GIZ as well as funding of up to 850,000 euros to implement their own call for proposals or funding line for small-scale projects and measures at local level.  In total, five million euros are available. The selection process has been completed.

National programmes to strengthen local initiatives

The selected national and regional institutions specifically link their funding programme to the NDCs and national CBD implementations and create suitable networks and partnerships. They have in-depth knowledge about conditions and feasibilities at local level and are experienced in the specific regional and country contexts.

The component Funding Institutions supports selected institutions in order to:

  • Strengthen institutional capacities at local level for implementing small-scale projects and other measures related to climate change and biodiversity
  • Initiate transparent and effective selection procedures for funding mechanisms in partner countries and regions
  • Promote the ownership of national, and regional institutions for the NDC and CBD implementation at local, national and regional level
  • Establish national/regional funding institutions as reliable partners in the international climate finance system and move them into the focus of (international) donors

The IKI Small Grants team in Berlin and the GIZ offices in the partner countries accompany each selected institution in developing their institutional capacities according to individual needs and advise them on technical and administrative procedures.

Capacity Development

Capacity Development is an integral part of IKI Small Grants: In addition to providing funding for projects at local level, IKI Small Grants aims to strengthen its partners and tapping potentials. Jointly with GIZ, each partner organisation identifies individual needs for capacity development – from acquiring specialist knowledge, skills and management expertise to optimising  organisational processes. In addition, GIZ country offices provide technical or administrative assistance in implementing the selected small-scale projects and funding programmes. The goal is to support the development of our partner organisations, its staff, and networks in order to foster them as agents of change for climate and biodiversity actions worldwide.

International Calls

The organisations selected through the ‘call for proposals’ are supported with various types of capacity building solutions: 

Individual capacity development activities: these activities are specifically tailored to the individual needs of each organisation. The needs are communicated in the project proposal and specific activities are defined during the application process.

Examples of capacity development measures might be advanced trainings on:

  • Carbon accounting methods
  • Conflict management
  • Fundraising and proposal writing
  • Presentation and negotiation techniques
  • Public procurement law
  • National budget and grant law
  • Internal control systems
  • Anti-corruption sensitisation

The activities are coordinated and implemented by the organisations themselves with professional and financial support of GIZ personnel in the respective countries of implementation and from the IKI Small Grants team in Berlin.

General information events: these events (mainly webinars) offer content that is of interest to the entire community of grant recipients, in some cases already during the application process: They provide specific information on professional and administrative topics, but also share important content on specific processes like the IKI Small Grants project development (logical framework and result chain) or the IKI Small Grants public relations guidelines. These events are organised by the IKI Small Grants team of GIZ in Berlin.

Networking activities: in order to integrate the activities of IKI Small Grants projects as best as possible into the respective national climate and biodiversity policies and to connect implementing organisations of these projects with other stakeholders and donors, the IKI Small Grants team also assists organisations in expanding their networks. To this end, GIZ draws on its national and international networks in all countries where IKI Small Grants projects are being implemented.

Funding Institutions

The context-tailored capacity development activities supported by the component ‘Funding Institutions’ focus on the administrative and technical support of selected funding programmes, where requested. Jointly with GIZ, each partner institution identifies relevant advisory services which are provided by the respective GIZ country office. Based on the individual request, GIZ may provide continuous on-the job support or be focused on very specific outputs. For example, GIZ may support a partner institution in developing and implementing the relevant process steps for a call for proposals. In another country, a partner organisation may require assistance in reviewing its environmental and social safeguards system as well as in developing relevant criteria for selecting the most-promising small-scale projects. This will support partner organisations to accelerate their potential in forwarding climate funds in a targeted and impactful manner and by lower transaction costs.

Advisory services of IKI Small Grants may include (but are not limited to) the following areas:

  • Design of calls for proposals (e.g., funding information, selection procedures, monitoring etc.)
  • Setting up a web-based outline procedure / application procedure / database
  • Incorporating gender aspects into the concept of the calls for proposals
  • Providing suitable Public Relations activities
  • Providing networking and learning spaces
  • Development/ Review of:
    • An internal process and quality management system
    • A monitoring and evaluation system
    • Anti-corruption policies
    • Safeguard standards
    • A knowledge management system

IKI Small Grants is implemented by Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH. The programme runs from 2019 to 2026. GIZ’s IKI Small Grants team in Berlin and GIZ country offices worldwide support the selected organisations through targeted, demand-driven capacity development. This approach aims to strengthen climate and biodiversity actors worldwide and encourages these organisations to accelerate their role as agents of change.

Contributing to global policy frameworks

IKI Small Grants, just like the overarching IKI itself, operates within the global framework of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). GIZ supports the selected IKI Small Grants projects to align their diverse approaches and activities with national transformation processes and climate policy initiatives. IKI Small Grants projects therefore contribute to the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) of the respective country, anchored in the Paris Agreement, or to the goals of the CBD to counteract the dramatic global loss of living natural resources. The activities of IKI Small Grants also contribute to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda with its 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Local initiatives for tailored solutions

Sustainable climate and biodiversity actions thrive best in a world where people think globally and act locally. IKI Small Grants supports active stakeholder involvement and local approaches to tackle threats caused by climate change and biodiversity loss. IKI Small Grants projects valorise local experiences as well as the integration of indigenous and traditional knowledge while recognising the diverse interests, circumstances, and socio-cultural contexts in specific local or national settings.

Strengthening gender justice

Gender justice plays an important role within the IKI Small Grants programme. Projects are therefore asked to reflect on their actions regarding the effects on gender justice and to explicitly address existing imbalances.


Many projects of the International Climate Initiative (IKI) have to cope with difficult contexts and conditions in the partner countries. Poverty, lack of participation, limited rule of law, low protection standards for workers or the rights of minorities must always be taken into account. Against this backdrop, the IKI wants to ensure that the measures carried out by the projects do not have any negative effects on the people, their living conditions, and nature.

IKI Small Grants follows the very same approach: Applying a ‘do no harm principle’, the programme aims to avoid or mitigate possible negative consequences of project activities. In addition, the application of the IKI safeguards is intended to enhance the quality of the projects and contribute to an overarching sustainability agenda. Safeguards are environmental and social standards that are intended to avoid potential negative impacts of projects on people or the environment, for example, the protection of human rights, compliance with occupational health and safety standards, the conservation of biodiversity, the prevention of environmental pollution or the protection of cultural assets in project work.

For example, if a project supports the set-up of a protected area to conserve biodiversity, questions like these could arise: Will the local population suffer a loss of income because hunting or gathering rights are restricted? Is there a risk of people being displaced or resettled? How can possible negative effects for the people concerned be avoided? Regardless of the project, be it on waste or electromobility, questions on the far-reaching consequences of the project activities could always arise.

IKI Small Grants safeguards are based on the Performance Standards on Environment and Social Responsibility of the International Finance Corporation (IFC). The IFC Performance Standards cover the following aspects:

  • Working conditions
  • Resource efficiency and prevention of pollution
  • Health, safety and protection of people
  • Land Acquisition and Resettlement
  • Biodiversity conservation and sustainable management of living natural resources
  • Indigenous communities and marginalised groups
  • Cultural heritage

For information on the specific implementation of IKI Small Grants safeguards in the components ‘International Calls’ and Funding Institutions’, please take a look at the Implementation section.