Also linking agriculture with other SDGs, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the UN released a set of four briefing notes on achieving countries’ Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) under the Paris Agreement on climate change in tandem with progress on SDGs 2 and 13 (zero hunger and climate action, respectively). The studies are a product of the joint Integrating Agriculture in National Adaptation Plans (NAPs) Programme (NAP-Ag), conducted in collaboration with UN Development Programme (UNDP) with support from the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMUB).
The first briefing note offers an overview of rigorous impact evaluation methods to ensure that sufficient evidence is collected on adaptation interventions’ effects. Impact evaluation is defined as “a special study that utilizes a counterfactual to attribute observed outcomes to the intervention as well as estimate the impact of a project.” The note titled, ‘Using impact evaluation to improve policymaking for climate change adaptation in the agriculture sectors,’ highlights that experimental and quasi-experimental methods, although reliant on the availability and expertise of technical staff such as economists and statisticians, are a preferred means of measuring impacts, and should be embedded early in projects’ design.
The second briefing note identifies and explores four entry points for gender in NAP formulation, building on suggestions made by the UNFCCC’s Least Developed Countries (LDC) Expert Group. The note titled, ‘Promoting gender-responsive adaptation in the agriculture sectors: Entry points within National Adaptation Plans,’ emphasizes that climate change does not impact everyone equally, that adaptation responses in the agricultural sector are shaped by both formal and informal institutions, and that a gender perspective can avoid reinforcing or exacerbating existing inequalities. The note uses examples from Uganda and Uruguay, each of which are also featured as country case studies in other publications we review below.
FAO and UNDP’s third briefing note introduces an approach for assessing “institutional capacity” to plan climate adaptation measures in agriculture. This approach, the note explains, enables the identification of country strengths and needs, and can improve coordination between ministries, as well as cross-sector collaboration across stakeholder groups. The note titled, ‘Institutional capacity assessment approach for national adaptation planning in the agriculture sectors,’ reviews technical capacity in five key areas: 1) climate information and risks assessment; 2) long-term vision and mandate; 3) planning and implementation; 4) coordination and partnering; and 5) monitoring and evaluation. The assessments are intended to be a participatory process that builds country ownership, rather than a prescriptive exercise conducted solely by external actors.
The final briefing note reviews, ‘Cost-benefit analysis for climate change adaptation policies and investments in the agriculture sectors.’ It notes that cost-benefit analysis (CBA) is one of the methodologies that can be used to rank or prioritize projects, and outlines the standard steps of a CBA geared specifically towards agriculture adaptation. Somewhat similar to impact evaluation, a CBA compares societal benefits and costs from a project to a business-as-usual scenario under which that project has not been implemented. However, it should be noted that CBAs face challenges in two areas: 1) they discount future costs and benefits, thus placing higher weight on short-term gains; and 2) they are required to go through the difficult process of monetizing that which holds intrinsic value.
The briefs build on a set of three country case studies released by the NAP-Ag Programme last year, which review actions and initial lessons since the Programme’s 2016 launch. Those studies highlighted: Uganda’s inclusion of gender in its NAP for the agricultural sector; Kenya’s legal and institutional framework for climate change and adaptation, and early lessons learned on identifying needs and working with multiple stakeholders and governance levels; and Uruguay’s experiences in safeguarding livelihoods and promoting resilience.
Relatedly, NAP Expo 2018 was held from 4-6 April 2018, in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt. IISD’s Elena Kosolapova reviews the event here. Additional information on adaptation is regularly published on the SDG Knowledge Hub, and can be found under the tag Adaptation and Loss and Damage Update.