Fostering a brighter future for cities and communities through the nexus of energy, agriculture, health, and water

Using multi-sectoral expertise and vast array of researchers in climate change adaptation and mitigation planning, urban planning, food security, energy market systems, and natural resources management, RTI is strengthening the climate resilience of both cities and communities. We provide these services as the global community rapidly seeks to develop climate-resilient infrastructure, sustainable food systems, robust supply chains, and basic service integration and efficiency across the nexus of energy, agriculture, health, and water.

Climate Change Planning

We model the effects of climate change using modern, academically robust, data-driven methodologies. Preparing for an uncertain future climate requires cities and communities to imagine what their reality would look like in a new climate paradigm. To facilitate this long-term thinking, in the USAID-funded Power Africa Off-grid Project, we spearheaded a foresighting activity in collaboration with leading researchers, technologists, and social scientists to envision potential scenarios and strategize actionable mitigation and mobilization strategies for off-grid energy stakeholders across sub-Saharan Africa. In our implementation of USAID’s Enhancing Capacity for Low Emission Development Strategies (EC-LEDS) program, to support the energy–water nexus of Albania, we modeled the inflows of hydropower plants using computer simulations to understand how shifts in climate will affect water availability for hydropower generation. Using geographic information systems (GIS), we also mapped watershed and reservoir topographies.

Urban Planning

For the USAID EC-LEDS program, we analyzed the current uses and impacts of subsidized financing mechanisms for energy efficiency implementation in North Macedonia, Serbia, and Ukraine, with a focus on multi-apartment buildings. We expanded the study by analyzing gaps and recommending residential investments to improve energy efficiency in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, North Macedonia, and Serbia based on the successful Slovak Republic experience. We also synthesized a wide range of data from these countries’ energy, housing, and banking sectors—including natural gas prices, housing structures, and mortgage loans—to recommend new interventions and regulations for improved climate resilience.

Under the USAID Energy Secure Philippines project, we support local governments in improved energy planning. For partner municipalities, we provide training and technical assistance, ranging from development and adoption of energy codes, creation of local energy plans for increased energy efficiency and integration of renewable energy, access to finance, and/or energy audits to guide efficient, resilient local development. 

For the InterAmerican Development Bank, RTI supported the cities of Tegucigalpa in Honduras and Brasilia in Brazil with implementing climate-informed management tools to analyze future conditions of water availability and scarcity in the face of a climate change, and analyze potential water sources and different management strategies to reduce the current water deficit and improve water security.

Refugee communities

As climate change increases the risk of displacement for individuals and communities, we engage with the private sector to increase its role in basic service delivery in refugee communities. Under the Power Africa Off-grid Project, RTI supports the Smart Communities Coalition (SCC), a public-private partnership, chaired by USAID and Mastercard, aimed at increasing access to basic services within communities of displaced persons residing in Uganda and Kenya, services which include energy access, connectivity, and digital finance. By fostering networking and collaboration within the public and private sectors, RTI is assisting in mobilizing resources for some of the most at-risk communities for climate change. 

Behavior Change

Meaningful climate action requires citizens and communities to make different choices about their consumption and production patterns. We use behavioral science to help governments and companies shift everyday actions toward more climate friendly practice. Under USAID’s Municipal Energy Reform Project in Ukraine, RTI conducted a public awareness and behavioral change campaign to promote energy efficiency and conservation.