New UNFCCC report highlights the state of play on NAPs

The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) has released a synthesis report on ‘Progress, experience, best practices, lessons learned, gaps, needs and support provided and received in the process to formulate and implement national adaptation plans (NAPs) ’. 
 
5 May 2018, Bangkok, Thailand: The NAPs synthesis report, released at the UN Climate Change Conference in Bonn in May 2018, provides an overview of progress made in the process to formulate and implement NAPs.
 
The Cancun Adaptation Framework (CAF), agreed at the UNFCCC COP 16 in 2010, established the NAP process to enable not only least developed country Parties (LDCs), but also non-LDCs to formulate and implement NAPs. Key decisions relevant to NAPs include the agreement on the overall framing on the NAP process, the development of the Least Developed Countries Expert Group (LEG) NAP Technical Guidelines, and the commitment of funds from the Green Climate Fund (GCF) to expedite support to countries to formulate NAPs and to implement NAP-related policies, programmes and projects. 
 
Here, we detail the key findings of this synthesis report.
 
National Adaptation Plans processes have been launched at country level, yet implementation lags behind
 
The report notes that “many developing countries have launched the process to formulate and implement NAPs”, but “none of the countries that have completed the formulation of their NAPs have yet implemented the prioritised policies, projects or programmes identified therein”. It is therefore “too early to assess whether and to what extent the objective of reducing vulnerability is being achieved”, and that more work remains to be done on implementation. 
 
Addressing vulnerability requires Parties to improve understanding of its elements and how to frame it within country context
 
Acknowledging that the main objective of the process to formulate and implement NAPs is “to reduce vulnerability to climate change by building adaptive capacity and resilience”, the synthesis report provides guidance for framing vulnerability to climate change, detailing the factors that must be considered when assessing countries’ vulnerabilities. This involves a greater understanding of what countries are vulnerable to, their own framing of vulnerability, and what the actions and measures that are in place for each country to address vulnerability within their national contexts. 
 
Efforts to reduce vulnerability build on past experiences
 
Referencing the previous effort on national adaptation programmes of action (NAPAs), the synthesis report provides a list of the most vulnerable sectors and communities and/or areas, acknowledging the “interconnected nature of vulnerabilities”, such as agriculture and food security, coastal infrastructure and tourism, energy and water. The report also identifies the key climate hazards previously highlighted by countries, which involve droughts, floods, erratic rainfall, higher temperatures, sea level rise, and storms/cyclones/hurricanes. 
 
Main adaptation measures and countries approaches to mainstream adaptation are identified 
 
The synthesis report provides a list of the five types of adaptations measures that are shared among countries. These are: 1) Undertaking sector-specific pre-emptive adaptation interventions in relation to agriculture, water, and coastal protection; 2) integrating adaptation into strategies, policies, plans and investment; 3) enhancing the information basis for adaptation; 4) strengthening national institutions and building institutional capacities, and; 5) identifying contingency measures to facilitate recovery from unavoidable impacts. 
 
The general approaches to integrate/mainstream adaptation into development planning are also highlighted, namely: 1) Consider climate risk when developing sectorial policies; 2) develop tools and institutions for mainstreaming adaptation; 3) provide policy makers with relevant training and information; 4) define disaster risk reduction guidelines; and 5) establish an inter-ministerial coordination mechanism to facilitate integration and/or mainstreaming). 
 
Adaptation must be prioritised within development efforts
 
The synthesis report emphasises that integration efforts should start “as soon as the mandate or directive has been issued to make adaptation a priority in the country” and that to achieve climate-resilient development, there needs to be “a continuum between development and additional adaptation”.
 
Adaptation action must also be aligned with other relevant frameworks, such as the 2030 for Sustainable Development (SDGs), the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, etc.
 
NAP successfully focuses on priority sectors following guiding principles 
 
The priority sectors in which integration and/or mainstreaming efforts are taking place include: Agriculture, coastal planning, fisheries, forestry, health, land management, urban planning and water.
 
Several examples are provided as evidence that the guiding principles of the process to formulate and implement NAPs (e.g. the inclusion of gender, participation, transparency, vulnerable communities, etc.) are being considered. 
 
Monitoring and Evaluation needs to be tailored to countries NAP needs 
 
The synthesis report highlights several experiences and lessons learned. The purpose of M&E needs to be clarified and key ministries must have ownership. In addition, the difference between monitoring outcomes and monitoring processes needs to be better acknowledged and M&E systems need to be tailored to the national context, to be most useful.
 
Progress made securing financial support for formulation and implementation
 
To date 47 countries have submitted NAP proposals to GCF, mainly with the support of UNDP and UN Environment. Meanwhile, the Global Environment Facility (GEF) has approved six projects related to NAPs, and four other proposals are in the GEF Least Developed Countries Fund (LDCF) pipeline. Countries continue to receive support from bilateral and multilateral agencies, while some countries are using domestic resources to implement activities, such as preparing concept notes, launching the NAP process, and coordinating among different ministries to develop project proposal to receive funding for NAPs.
 
NAP technical working group continues to assist countries’ work on NAPs
 
The strong collaboration between the LEG and the NAP technical working group is leading the way to “enhance the provision of technical support to countries”. The NAP-GSP, as member of the NAP technical working group, has contributed to the provision of technical assistance to developing countries (both LDCs and non-LDCs) through the provision of one-on-one technical assistance to initiate NAP process in several countries, sensitisation of national teams on tools to support key steps of the NAP process through regional trainings, and facilitating the exchange of lessons and knowledge through South-South and North-South cooperation. 
 
Gaps and needs identified to enhance the work on NAPs
 
The report concludes with a summary of the gaps and needs related to the process to formulate and implement NAPs, both at the COP and country level. At the Conference of the Parties (COP) level, the actions required include: Updating the LEG NAP Technical Guidelines, incorporating measures so all countries can access funding, and ensuring that there are no funding gaps between formulation and implementation phases. There is also a need to document more case studies and to better frame the linkages between NAPs and NDCs. 
 
At the country level, some of the gaps identified include: The need to have a comprehensive approach to advance and implement NAPs, closer cooperation for sharing good practices and lessons learned, and greater focus on capacity building for costing adaptation. Moreover, the report indicates that improved methods for decision-making, and enhanced synergies between adaptation finance flows and between adaptation and development finance, among others, are required.   Officials and stakeholders also require further training on the benefits and challenges of the monitoring and evaluation process, the identification of information need and data sources and the linkages monitoring the NDCs, the SDGs and other global frameworks. 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Last Updated: 18 May 2018