NAP Expo 2018 delivers vibrant exchange on climate change adaptation planning

6 April 2018, Sharm el Sheikh, Egypt: The global NAP Expo 2018 offered three days of rich and vibrant exchanges on climate change adaptation planning, delivering on its aim to support global goals for low-carbon, climate-resilient development through improved climate governance.

Policy-makers from around the world gathered in Egypt for this year’s NAP Expo, held from 4 to 6 April 2018. The event emphasised the accelerated implementation of climate change adaptation planning initiatives, and magnified the links between National Adaptation Plans (NAPs), the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction.

Throughout the three-day conference, government representatives, practitioners and leading experts on climate change underscored the need for improved local, sub-national and national planning. They shared lessons learned from adaptation projects and evidence-based design for climate change adaptation initiatives. These steps are critical to fulfil countries´ Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) to the Paris Agreement, together with improved access to climate finance.

Building a community of practice

Mr. Khaled Fahmy, Egypt´s Environment Minister, and Ms. Patricia Espinosa, Executive Secretary of the UNFCCC, delivered closing remarks at the NAP Expo 2018.

Participants shared the feeling of belonging to an expanding climate change adaptation community. A wealth of experience has been generated over the years, and the discussions Egypt are a testimony to this.

At a plenary session reviewing the overall progress in NAPs, Ms. Beth Lavender, member of the Least Developed Countries Expert Group (LEG) said, “Developing countries have made significant and noteworthy progress on the formulation of NAPs. Technical support provided by UNFCCC Constituted bodies and other non-UNFCCC institutions has played a critical role in ensuring countries are progressing on NAPs. However, experience with implementation remains limited.”

The joint UNDP / UN Environment NAP Global Support Programme (NAP-GSP) contributions at the NAP Expo 2018

Team members of the Global Environment Facility (GEF)-funded NAP-GSP, and the German (BMU/IKI) funded joint FAO-UNDP Integrating Agriculture in National Adaptation Plans Programme (NAP Ag), participated actively throughout the NAP Expo and contributed to several sessions, including:


Linking with the global agenda

Linkages between NAPs, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, NDCs to the Paris Agreement, and the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction were discussed several times across the three days, as well as during a dedicated session on day 3.

The UN-interagency work under the programme of Mainstreaming, Acceleration and Policy Support (MAPS) was recognised for supporting countries in implementing these agendas coherently. The LEG presented the iFrame, an approach that could help countries harmonise the way they align the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) with national goals and adaptation activities.

Participants agreed that adaptation planning needs to happen at multiple levels, including on local, subnational and national scales.  Ms. Lavender said, "Systems approaches are helpful in facilitating coherence of adaptation across sectors and scales."

Using NAPs to inform the next generation of climate projects

“Differences in cultures, education, knowledge, availability and affordability of technology, and other factors means that a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach is likely to fail. Flexible and adaptive action plans should be sought,” said Ms. Kristie Ebi, an IPCC expert and Professor at the University of Washington.

Other participants also recognised the need for well-designed adaptation measures, acknowledging that multiple political, social, economic, technological and human factors determine their effectiveness.

The day 2 session on lessons learned from NAPAs, organised by the Least Developed Countries Group of Negotiators and the GEF, concluded that lessons from early adaptation action are very valuable in understanding how to best design the new generation of climate change adaptation projects. The actions undertaken by LDCs to address urgent adaptation needs through NAPAs were considered of particular relevance.

"New projects should identify the potential for scaling up and replicating adaptation actions at all levels and include plans for learning and knowledge exchange. They should also foster the creation of new business opportunities and market incentives," said Ms. Rohini Kohli, UNDP Technical Lead under the NAP-GSP in her intervention at this session.

She suggested that these projects are most conducive to achieving the goals of the Paris Agreement and the SDGs.

Transformative practices

The importance of transformative adaptation was considered, particularly regarding contributions to long-term adaptation planning. However, session participants concluded that more awareness raising is required to better understand the concept and its associated tools and approaches. They also highlighted the need to create incentives to include the private sector in this conversation.

Mr. Neville Sweijd, from South Africa, presented on the Cape Town water crises. He indicated that the challenges faced in South Africa regarding water supply vividly illustrate the imperative to plan for sudden climate shocks, including the improvement of seasonal forecasting.

UNDP’s Programme on Climate Information for Resilient Development in Africa (CIRDA), took part in a parallel session, highlighting the need for the use of new technologies, public-private partnerships and integrated approaches to improve the monitoring, packaging and distribution of climate services. Experiences from Haiti and the Philippines illustrated how countries advancing their adaptation planning to better cope with heat waves, hurricanes, flooding and shifting seasons. All these experiences further underlined the value of forecasting and planning.

Climate finance

Discussion on accessing climate finance, particularly the GCF readiness programme, was a cornerstone of this year´s NAP Expo. A three-hour session on financing adaptation was held by the LEG/GCF, and discussions continued on day 3, led by the Adaptation Committee (AC).

Ms. Cecilia Silva, AC, presented the Committee's information paper, which provides an analysis of country experiences in accessing the readiness programme, in particular for NAPs.

Mr. Jason Spensley from the GCF Secretariat said, "We are prioritising direct access to the readiness programme for the formulation of NAPs through the selection of national delivery partners."

He also presented the GCF review criteria for assessing proposals received.

Several countries shared their experiences in accessing the readiness programme, including Bangladesh, Colombia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Liberia, and Viet Nam. Country representatives appreciated the country-driven approach promoted by the GCF, but some cautioned that access to funding should be facilitated for all countries, regardless of their national capacity.

With support from UNDP, Bangladesh, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Liberia, Niger and Uruguay have accessed new funding for NAPs from the GCF. UNDP is supporting 41 countries to access dedicated GCF finance. This support will focus on priority areas, including engaging the private sector, ensuring local and sectoral integration, and tailoring climate information for improved decision making.

Inclusive design

A session on Gender in NAPs, organised by the NAP-Global Network, NAP-Ag and NAP-GSP underscored yet again the importance of integrating gender considerations into adaptation planning.  Nepal and Uruguay shared their experiences.

At a session on Adaptation Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E), countries shared their experiences of establishing robust M&E systems for their NAP process. For example, Thailand has defined “resilience” criteria and developed indicators and a participatory approach, starting from the local level, to measure progress in responding to these criteria. The NAP-Ag highlighted the need to strengthen M&E approaches in the agricultural sector. The programme is currently developing a training package on the subject.

Access to climate-relevant information, data and scenarios, sectoral approaches, communication strategies and stakeholders´ engagement were also hot topics at this year´s NAP Expo.

Next steps

Take-home messages conveyed by the final keynote speakers left no place for complacency, and encouraged increased efforts across the board on NAP implementation.

"We need solutions from all nations, all levels of governments, all businesses and corporations, and individuals", said Ms. Patricia Espinosa, Executive Secretary of the UNFCCC.

Participants stressed the need to continue to learn from each other. The UN Environment REGATTA project, an innovative regional support mechanism to strengthen capacity and knowledge sharing on climate change, was presented as a good practice.

NAP Champion and the High Commissioner for UN-OHRLLS, Ms. Katoa 'Utoikamanu added in her closing keynote speech, "All we need to do is to make sure we leave no one behind.”


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Web: NAP Expo 2018
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NAP-GSP learning products

Africa in focus
Caribbean in focus
Asia-Pacific in focus

Lessons from Armenia
Lessons from Bangladesh
Lessons from Benin
Lessons from Bosnia and Herzegovina
Lessons from Bhutan
Lessons from Egypt
Lessons from Haiti
Lessons from Liberia
Lessons from Morocco
Lessons from Niger
Lessons from Papua New Guinea
Lessons from Uruguay