International Climate Initiative

Document Summary: 

Organizational profile: 

International Climate Initiative (IKI) is one of the most important instruments of the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU) for the international financing of climate change mitigation and biodiversity. IKI operates within the framework of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), financing climate change mitigation and biodiversity conservation in developing, emerging and transition countries. Since 2008 IKI approved more than 750 climate and biodiversity projects in more than 60 countries.

IKI supports through two main funding pillars: the thematic selection including IKI small scale project programmes (IKI Small Grants & IKI Medium Grants) and the country-specific selection procedures. Mostly, idea competitions are applied to select innovative projects.

Within the funding area ‘Preserving and restoring natural carbon sinks’, an important part of the work of International Climate Initiative (IKI) is supporting other countries to implement the REDD+ framework. IKI is also funding projects for forest and landscape restoration (FLR) as part of the Bonn Challenge and the UN Decade for the restoration of ecosystems. The support targets strategies intended for the implementation of the nationally determined contributions (NDCs) in partner countries. Priorities here include funding sustainable business models and mobilising private investments. One central aim of this work area is to utilise synergies between forest conservation, biodiversity conservation and livelihoods of the people living in the project regions as well as between mitigation of emissions and adaptation to the effects of climate change.


Financing Instrument: Grants


Project scale: In the thematic and country specific selection procedures, projects can receive a grant between €5 million and €30 million with project durations of up to eight years. IKI Medium Grants projects can receive a grant of between €300,000 to a maximum of €800,000 over a period of two to three years. IKI Small Grants funding line “International Calls” range under certain circumstances up to €200,000 for organisations based in an ODA-country. IKI Small Grants second funding line “Funding Institutions” distributes around €700,000 for financial and technical assistance to national or regional funding institutions based in ODA-countries.


Recipient countries regions/country groups: Global, ODA eligible countries


Recipient categories: civil society organisations (foundations, federations, associations, trade unions), university departments and institutes of state-owned and private universities, non-university research institutions and think tanks, as well as non-profit enterprises


Eligibility Criteria: For the thematic oriented and country specific selection procedure:

The thematic and country specific selection procedures are open to a broad range of participants from all over the world. They support projects carried out in partner countries by non-governmental organisations, commercial enterprises, universities and research institutions, implementing organisations in the Federal Republic of Germany, institutions in cooperation countries (including national implementing organisations accredited at international or multilateral organisations) as well as international intergovernmental organisations and institutions, such as development banks or United Nations organisations and programmes. The implementing organizations are obliged to apply in a consortium with other eligible institutions. Consortia leading institutions must prove their experience in the field of the projects goals and in handling the amount of the funding sum. Furthermore, they must comply with the IKI Safeguards. Governments in cooperation countries are not eligible to apply for IKI funding – neither as a consortia leader, nor as a partner. IKI supports mechanisms for mobilising additional funding, private investments in particular, as well as sustainable business models for climate change mitigation and biodiversity conservation measures.

IKI Medium Grants:

The IKI Medium Grants programme funds projects that are implemented jointly by German-based organisations with their local partners in selected ODA-eligible (Official Development Assistance) countries. For IKI Medium Grants, funding is provided to civil society organisations (foundations, federations, associations, trade unions), university departments and institutes of state-owned and private universities, non-university research institutions and think tanks, as well as non-profit enterprises, all of them with their headquarters and business activities based in Germany. As a rule, implementing organisations, which submit applications, must have been continuously active in international cooperation in climate and biodiversity protection for at least three years. They must also have a proven capacity to jointly develop and implement projects with the extensive involvement of implementing partners in the target countries.

IKI Small Grants:

IKI Small Grants funding line ‘International Calls’ is aimed at small organisations in developing and emerging countries. Applicants must be based and registered in countries that fulfil the criteria for Official Development Assistance (ODA) defined by the Development Assistance Committee (DAC) of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). The proposed projects must be non-profit. Projects with a global focus are not eligible. The funding line ‘Funding Institutions’ aims to support both, national and regional funding institutions, in developing their institutional capacities. Eligible funding institutions have to be based in an ODA country.

Application guidelines: IKI supports through two main funding pillars: the thematic and the country-specific selection procedures for large scale projects and the IKI Small and Medium Grants as funding mechanism for small-scale projects. Both procedures use idea competitions to select innovative projects.

The IKI thematic selection procedure, country specific selection procedures as well as the IKI Medium Grants, which are administered by the ZUG, follow a two stage process:

  • Stage 1: For the first stage of the selection procedure, coherent project outlines need to be submitted in English through the IKI online platform using the corresponding online form.
  • Stage 2: The lead implementing organisations of promising project outlines receive a written invitation to present a formal, detailed project proposal. The full proposal will be subsequently evaluated by BMU and serve as a basis for its final approval decision. For the thematic and country specific selection procedures funding for a preparation phase of the project proposal can be requested.

IKI Small Grants is administered by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH. The funding line ‘International Calls’ offers a single-stage selection procedure, where small sub-national, national and regional organisations based in an ODA-country can apply directly for a grant to implement local or regional climate and biodiversity projects. The funding line ‘Funding Institutions’ selects the partner organisations according to a set of criteria in the framework of intensive selection interviews.

Applications for all IKI selection procedures (except for IKI Small Grants funding line ‘Funding Institutions’) can only be submitted via the IKI online platform which will be available for access on the IKI website once a new call for proposals has started. Project outlines submitted via other channels, i.e. email, cannot be considered. For each call, the required templates will be provided on the IKI online platform.

Publication Date
Wednesday, 10 March 2021
Applicable location
Biodiversity conservation
Climate change
Forest conservation and management
Sustainable land use
Forest landscape restoration
Financing opportunities