Under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the Cancun Adaptation Framework, adopted at the COP 16 in 2010, invites all Parties to enhance action on adaptation by planning, prioritizing and implementing adaptation actions. To facilitate the least developing countries’ formulation and implementation of their national adaptation plans (NAPs), the Cancun Adaptation Framework established ‘NAP process’ as a means of identifying medium- and long-term adaptation needs and developing and implementing strategies and programmes to address those needs. Other developing country Parties were also invited to employ the modalities formulated to support NAPs.
History of NAP under the UNFCCC
The NAP process under the UNFCCC was introduced in the Cancun Adaptation Framework and adopted at COP16 in 2010. It invites all Parties to enhance their action on adaptation by planning, prioritizing and implementing adaptation actions. To assist the least developed countries to formulate and implement their national adaptation plans (NAPs), the Cancun Adaptation Framework established the ‘NAP process’ as a means of identifying medium- and long-term adaptation needs, as well as the developing and implementing strategies and programmes to address those needs. Other developing country Parties were also invited to employ the modalities formulated to support NAPs.
Following the agreement on the Cancun Adaptation Framework, the NAP process was officially framed by a decision at COP17 indicating the initial guidelines. According to the initial guidelines, the NAP process consists of four steps: (a) laying the groundwork and addressing gaps; (b) preparatory elements; (c) implementation strategies; (d) reporting, monitoring and review. To further facilitate countries to develop plans, COP had requested the Least Developed Country Expert Group (LEG) to come up with the technical guidelines in 2012. Since COP20, least developed country Parties and other interested developing country Parties have been invited to forward outputs, including NAP documents, as well as outcomes related to the NAP process to UNFCCC NAP Central. This has been established under the guidance of LEG, with inputs from the Adaptation Committee.
Paris Agreement and Adaptation
Under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), Parties have been working to enhance adaptation actions and support. The Paris Agreement, adopted at COP21 is a critical milestone in terms of facilitating adaptation actions and support on a global scale. It also raises the importance of adaptation along with mitigation by stating that “increasing the ability to adapt to the adverse impacts of climate change and foster climate resilience” as one of its objectives. In fact, the whole of Article 7 of the Agreement is devoted to climate change adaptation, with the first paragraph establishing the global goal on adaptation aiming for “enhancing adaptive capacity, strengthening resilience and reducing vulnerability to climate change”. The progress of the global goal on adaptation is supposed to be reviewed through the Global Stock Take (GST), a five-year cycle for taking stock of the implementation of the Paris Agreement.
Article 7 paragraph 9 indicates that “each Party shall, as appropriate, engage in adaptation planning processes and the implementation of actions, including the development or enhancement of relevant plans, policies and/or contributions”. In addition, the following two paragraphs 10 and 11 encourage countries to submit and update ‘adaptation communications’ that include adaptation priorities, implementation and support needs, plans and actions. Adaptation communications can be developed as a component of or in conjunction with other communications including NAPs, Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) and National Communications (NCs).
Under the UNFCCC, a number of useful tools, technical works and activities are developed. Further information is available below.
Why is the NAP process important under the Paris Agreement?
The NAP process is a valuable mechanism to meet the objective of the Paris Agreement as it assists countries in developing adaptation plans in the form of NAPs or others. Engagement in the NAP process also provides countries with an opportunity to identify comprehensive adaptation needs and necessary actions, informed by the latest climate science, enabling better access and more effective use of finance for adaptation.
Individual efforts to promote adaptation actions are also critical for achieving the collective global goal. Under the UNFCCC, progress has been made on aggregating efforts through discussion at the Glasgow Sharm el-Sheikh work programme on the global goal on adaptation (2022-2023) and considering how to better link the GST and global efforts on adaptation. Developing adaptation plans including policies, programmes and actions is the first and critical step to take stock of each country's efforts and progress.
Support for the NAP process by the UN
- Official guidelines
- The core components of the NAP process are defined in the initial guidelines adopted at COP17. To help developing countries better understand and implement the processes, the LDC Expert Group (LEG) developed technical guidelines in 2012. These guidelines are commonly referred to by countries with aspirations on NAP formulation and implementation.
Initial guidelines for the formulation of NAPs
UNFCCC NAP Technical Guidelines by the LEG
- LEG Publications
- LEG is mandated to LDCs on adaptation under the Convention and the Paris Agreement, and support for the process to formulate and implement NAPs is a key agenda. Several relevant publications have been developed to supplement official technical guidelines including reports and information papers.
LEG Publications in 2015
Progress in the process to formulate and implement national adaptation plan
- The Consultative Group of Experts (CGE) is mandated by UN COP to provide developing countries with training materials to assist their reporting requirements under the Convention as well as to support implementation of the enhanced transparency framework under the Paris Agreement. CGE offers e-learning courses to prepare for NCs, which are useful for vulnerability and adaptation assessment.
CGE Training materials
Diegograndi – stock.adobe.com
- UN4NAPs is an initiative that was launched in 2021 by the UNFCCC secretariat as an initiative that brings together efforts by the UN system and its partners to support NAP formulation and implementation. It also works to match the needs of developing countries with appropriate support mechanisms. UN4NAPs provide a platform where countries can mutually learn about various practices and communicate their needs for technical support to partner organizations.
- The National Adaptation Plan Global Support Programme (NAP-GSP) was established as a joint effort by UNDP and UN Environment, funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF). It provides developing countries with a broad range of support to integrate climate change adaptation into their policies and facilitate adaptation actions in the context of NAPs.
- UNFCCC NAP Central
- Green Climate Fund (GCF) was established in 2010 to support Parties’ climate change projects, programmes, policies and other activities from both mitigation and adaptation aspects. In 2015, the Readiness and Preparatory Support Programme was set up under the Green Climate Fund to facilitate the NAP process across the globe. This helps developing countries plan and attract larger scale finance from a diverse range of sources to accelerate adaptation actions.
GCF Readiness and Preparatory Support Programme
- ADAPTATION PLAN DEVELOPMENT PROCESS
- Whether you’re looking to update an adaptation plan or are intending to start on one, engaging in the adaptation planning process is important work. Once you identify where your country is located in the process, you will find useful information such as tools and good practices.
- STATUS OF ADAPTATION IN THE ASIA-PACIFIC
- What adaptation plans are being developed in the Asia-Pacific? Learn some of the most distinctive features and best practices, and find the latest information on adaptation plans being carried out by your neighboring countries or countries facing similar challenges.
- Finance & Implementation
- Identify key points, good practices, and useful examples for financing both in the planning and implementation phases of adaptation.
- Monitoring & Evaluation
- Once adaptation measures are implemented, Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) is conducted to track and evaluate the effectiveness of adaptation measures. Find useful resources including the latest discussions and good practices here.