The IKI is a central pillar of Germany's climate finance and of its funding pledges under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). IKI programmes promote innovative solutions, develop new political, economic and regulatory approaches and foster technological options and cooperation models. The solutions used must have an impact beyond the programmes themselves and must be transferable.

Since 2008, the IKI has supported over 600 projects and programmes throughout the world, with total funding of more than 2.7 billion euros. A key focus is to support partner countries in implementing their commitments under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD).

One important aspect of selecting programmes under the IKI is respect for human rights and compliance with high environmental and social standards. That is why, since 2017, the IKI has applied a systematic, binding safeguard policy which organisations agree to adhere to in the planning and implementation of IKI programmes.

The IKI Secretariat

The Secretariat of the International Climate Initiative supports the BMU in implementation of the IKI. It coordinates the organisation of the IKI selection procedures, examines project and programme applications on which the BMU finally makes decisions, and assesses the interim and final reports submitted to verify the use of funds and the achievement of project objectives. It also supports processes to safeguard projects within the context of policy and international law, facilitates the exchange of experience and networking among IKI projects and actors, and oversees IKI's public relations work.

The International Climate Initiative is the first funding programme managed by Zukunft – Umwelt – Gesellschaft (ZUG) gGmbH. ZUG has been able to draw on well-established structures and processes developed by Deutsche Gesellschaft für internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) which managed the IKI programme office. The transfer of the IKI programme office to the IKI Secretariat at ZUG did not disrupt or change ongoing management of IKI projects in any way.