The Government of Italy and UN Climate Change have signed a new Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to launch a new Fellowship Programme aimed at strengthening the institutional capacity of the Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) to respond to the challenges arising from climate change.

The new Programme titled “Capacity Award Programme to Advance Capabilities and Institutional Training in one Year (CAPACITY) will contribute to developing local professional expertise in the countries that are most vulnerable to climate change by:

  • Supporting innovative analytical work on climate change in the context of sustainable development
  • Promoting a network of experts who can bring creating and innovative options to bear on questions of climate change
  • Encouraging the leadership potential of young and promising professionals in the fields

Speaking at the MoU signing ceremony, Patricia Espinosa, UN Climate Change Executive Secretary, said: ”I would like to extend my deep appreciation to the government of Italy for providing support to launch this important fellowship programme. It marks an important step forward in our endeavor to ensure widest possible support to SIDS and LDC countries to combat climate change and help them build institutional capacity to build resilience to climate impacts.”

Gian Luca Galletti, the Italian Minister of the Environment, Land and Sea, said: “The Italian government firmly believes that enhancing the ability of individuals, organizations and institutions in developing countries to identify, plan and implement ways to mitigate and adapt to climate change is crucial to enabling developing countries to pursue our common objectives for sustainable development in a climate-friendly manner.”

The programme is specifically targeted at mid-career professionals in SIDS and LDC countries who are working in a broad range of national, regional, and local governmental organizations, ranging from educational institutions, research institutes and ministries. Italy has agreed to provide a funding of 2,500,000 euros for the fellowship programme, which will initially be launched for a period for five years.

Annually, up to five one year fellowships will be awarded that can be further extended by one year. Selected fellows will have the opportunity to gain exposure to a wide range of opportunities available the UN Climate Change Secretariat in Bonn, Germany. They will be able to work on projects relating to the Paris Agreement, including Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), global climate action agenda, finance, legal, regulatory and institutional framework.