Experiences from Egypt in the process to formulate and implement the NAP

Egypt is taking strides towards formulating and implementing their National Adaptation Plan (NAP). The joint UN Environment-UNDP National Adaptation Plan Global Support (NAP-GSP) met Saber Osman, Climate Change Adaptation Director at the Egyptian Environment Affairs Agency (EEAA) at the NAP-GSP Regional Training Workshop for Africa, focussing on adaptation finance, in Kigali, Rwanda in September 2018, and discussed Egypt’s NAP progress as well as challenges and opportunities they have identified.
Saber Osman is responsible for developing the Green Climate Fund (GCF) NAP proposal, which the Government of Egypt is preparing with support from the NAP-GSP, planned for submission soon.
NAP-GSP: What has the process of developing a NAP proposal been like for you?
Sabir Osman: The process has been long but beneficial in terms of building knowledge on how to write a substantial and unique proposal that is truly ours. The main aim has been not simply to develop a proposal, but to ensure that it becomes a bankable one. This will allow us to kick-start various other projects and programmes which will encourage strong financial backing from various investors who will then see value in the context of our NAP formulation and implementation process.  
NAP-GSP: What parts of the NAP process did you find most difficult and how did you manage to overcome some of these key issues? What support have you received? Has it been beneficial?
Sabir Osman: The process of developing the NAP was not a straightforward one. We have consulted experts working in climate change adaptation to help us figure out how we can improve and make our NAP proposal more substantial. They provided us with valuable feedback particularly on how to develop a theory of change and create the necessary links between the different outputs under the log frame of our project.
For Egypt, prior to seeking consultation the concept and articulation of a theory of change was a rather abstract one. At first, we were uncertain how to prove that this project can positively influence the current adaptation planning baseline of our country and create achievable and concrete outcomes for the future.
We formulated the theory of change in a way that flowed, was logical and most importantly gave clear ownership to us. We discussed the logical institutional aspects and explored ways to formulate our NAPs, to strengthen our institutional capacity and ensure that it will reflect the realities and needs of various sectors and communities. This involved drawing up a ‘problem and solution tree’, addressing indirect and direct causes and engaging with all the stakeholders involved. This aspect of the development of our theory of change built on our initial multi-stakeholder stocktaking exercise where we identified the first broad set of challenges and priority needs. The process ensured that our proposed activities were sound, and firmly aligned with the challenges, gaps, and possible solutions indicated in our stocktaking exercise. As such, we trust that the activities articulated in the GCF proposal will lead up towards meeting our desired outcomes for transformation of our institutional capacities and sectors. In addition, we learned the importance of creating all the necessary links to all the outcomes and outputs of previous initiatives related to climate change and development such as our Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC), national communications and national adaptation strategy, and vision 2030. We also received initial support in identifying the important entry points for NAPs that could help us in the future when we start the implementation process. For the stocktaking exercise as well as the theory of change exercise, while we engaged local expertise and stakeholders, we received useful guiding frameworks from UNDP which helped to structure both exercises. 
NAP-GSP: Did you have problems in terms of developing a climate change adaptation plan and not a development plan? How did you manage to differentiate between the two? 
Sabir Osman: It is true that in many cases climate change projects can quickly turn into development projects and vice versa. It is very important to distinguish between the two. For us in Egypt we started to collaborate with our meteorological authorities to develop some downscaling techniques. The purpose of this was to ensure that we can firstly build all our projects using a scientific, evidence-based approach. With our scientific findings and data, we then made the case of a proved correlation to the climate issue and challenge we are facing. This clear climate rationale was fundamental for us in the development of our NAP proposal and aligning it to GCF criteria.
During the process of developing our proposal we also used various techniques; one of them was statistical downscaling and the other economical downscaling. Statistical downscaling was very helpful for us, as we could take information known at large scales to make predictions at local scales very quickly. The dynamic/economical downscaling has proved to be more challenging for us and we are continuing to develop our capacity here. It is one area we could grow, and I think improve our projections in identifying and distinguishing between climate variability and climate change in any future project. For us, it was also crucial to develop the capacity of practitioners in key institutions for them to be able to distinguish between underlying development related needs/investment and the incremental climate related needs/investments, in such a way that adaptation and investment plans can be articulated with a clear climate rationale. That’s why we have strong capacity development and financing plan activities articulated under two of the three outcomes that make-up the NAP proposal to GCF.
NAP-GSP: Did you experience any difficulties in terms of integrating adaptation into national, regional, and local development plans (vertical integration)?
Sabir Osman: It is not that easy integrating and administrating climate change at various levels of government because the skills and needs are different at each level. Most importantly for us is the challenge that various levels of government are not equally aware of the impacts and dangers of climate change. In addition, there are variable capacities at each level. This is one challenge for us in adaptation planning within each sector. We are trying to find the best solution for each sector by working with agencies to support the integration of our work at various levels of government. One example is the cooperation we have established between the EEAA and Deutche Gesellschaft Für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ).
We started cooperating with GIZ more than four years ago, in the context of improving the livelihoods of citizens in urban informal settlements. We identified that the local communities and municipalities were not aware about the issues of climate change and the impacts that they cause to their livelihoods. This finding helped us to prepare our 3rd National Communication to the UNFCCC and include climate change adaptation and a resilience component under our urbanisation programme conducted by GIZ in cooperation with the Ministry of Planning. 
Our NAP proposal for the GCF also now includes vertical planning across levels for a representative set of priority sectors and climatic zones. In implementing this aspect of the proposal, we will draw on the experience of our delivery partner UNDP in other countries as well, given its vast experience across countries on integrating adaptation into national, regional, and local development plans. 
NAP-GSP: How does Egypt deal with sectoral integration and overcome some of the challenges and barriers it faces?
Sabir Osman: To ensure integration between all sectors we established the National Committee of Climate Change. After that we scaled it up to become the National Council of Climate Change two years later. Then we went a step further and have under this Council Technical Working Groups. One is dedicated for adaptation, another for mitigation and one for implementation.
We established another layer of horizontal coordination - the Advisory Board for Climate Change and Cities which brings practitioners, civil society, private sector and municipality together into a dialogue and helps to highlight challenges and best practices, along with lessons learnt during the processes of climate change adaptation project implementation. It is through these different layers that the National Council, the Technical Working Groups and advisory team support one another in the process for climate change adaptation across sectors, in an integrated manner.
NAP-GSP: What’s the future for Egypt in terms of adaptation? How do you foresee the development of the NAP?
Sabir Osman: We are working to submit our NAP proposal to the GCF and will begin work on implementing our NAP next year. We also believe that this project will be very helpful for in involving two important ministries in the climate change process; the Ministry of Planning and Ministry of Finance. This will guarantee that climate change will be streamlined into everyday work for all ministries, as well as local authorities in Egypt.