Raising adaptation action through aligning NAPs and NDCs in African LDCs

December 2020 - Just last year, the east coast of Africa experienced two of the strongest tropical cyclones to make landfall in history. Cyclone Idai was the most destructive tropical cyclone ever recorded in the southern hemisphere. On the other hand, southern Africa had 50 percent below average rainfall in Namibia, Botswana, and South Africa, while Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Zambia had far below the average annual rainfall. From extreme weather events to prolonged droughts, the impacts of climate change have been drastic in Africa during the 21st century.

The state of Africa

Countries across Africa have already taken major strides to ramp up their plans to better adapt to climate change and have invested in adaptation at a rate of about 2% of GDP per annum. The cost of adapting to climate change in Africa will rise to US$ 50 billion per year by 2050, even assuming the international efforts to keep global warming below 2 degrees Celsius.

To date, only six African countries (Burkina Faso, Cameroun, Ethiopia, Kenya, Sudan and Togo) have submitted their National Adaptation Plan (NAP) to the UNFCCC Secretariat. Yet, 53 African countries had an adaptation component included in their Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDC) five years ago.

2021 looks promising, as countries have been working since 2020 to resubmit their Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) with raised ambition for the next five years. At the same time, 20 African Least Developed Countries (LDCs) are developing and implementing their National Adaptation Plan (NAP) with the support of UNDP and the National Adaptation Plan Global Support Programme (NAP-GSP).

In December 2020, the NAP GSP partnered with the African Adaptation Initiative (AAI) and African Development Bank (AfDB) in a webinar to explore the synergies between NDCs and NAPs with a focus on African Anglophone LDCs. The event provided a platform for exchanging experiences on aligning NAPs and NDCs across the region. Ethiopia, Lesotho, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Sudan, Liberia and Rwanda shared their country experiences.

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Ethiopia’s sectors link their NAP and NDC

Alignment is at the core of Ethiopia´s climate effort as it is aligning its NAP process with its NDC and development agenda through a sectoral Climate Resilience Strategy and Ethiopia’s 10-year Perspective Development Plan (2021-2030).

Ethiopia is planning to raise adaptation action in its NDC through 1) updating and adding information on trends, impacts and vulnerabilities, 2) updating and adding current and near-term planning and actions, 3) updating and adding monitoring, evaluation and learning plans, 4) updating and adding information on national long-term goals or vision, and 5) updating and adding information on gaps and barriers.

Lesotho’s new GCF-financed NAP

Since Lesotho submitted its INDC in December 2017, the country has adopted a two-fold strategy in responding to climate change. First activities, which increase the country’s resilience and adaptive capacity, and second activities, which contribute to low-carbon development.

Lesotho’s NAP process is just getting started and the country has identified a lack of institutional capacity and coordination, and financial constraints as key barriers. A NAP project funded by the Green Climate Fund (GCF) will start in 2021. It will help Lesotho in addressing these barriers and advance the NAP process. This year, Lesotho has also been drafting its National Climate Change Bill to create an enabling environment for climate adaptation. As the way forward, Lesotho is reviewing their NDC and has started to develop a costed implementation plan for it.

Sierra Leone’s Prepares their first NAP

In 2020, Sierra Leone began preparing its very first NAP (Initial NAP) through collaborative planning. The NAP will have sectoral focus on agriculture and food security, water resources and energy, infrastructure, coastal zone management, environment and disaster management.

Sierra Leone has linked its NDC process with its NAP process through similar institutional arranged structures. Both processes will bank on the country’s new Midterm National Development Plan MTNDP (2018-2013), government agenda and vision 2035. Both the NDC revision process and the NDC formulation will have joint adaptation priorities in those key sectors listed above.

Somalia’s adaptation priorities

The Federal Government of Somalia has prepared a revised and updated NDC for submission to the UNFCCC by January 2021. The updated NDC represents the commitments of Somalia to the international community to employ its greatest efforts and country pledges for meeting goals of the Paris Agreement in responding to climate change, including adaptation.

Somalia has reviewed, updated and adjusted its mitigation and adaptation contributions to be more ambitious and in line with the country’s national climate change policies and strategies and latest socio-economic development. Adaptation is the overriding priority in Somalia’s NDC.

The country experiences exchanged in the NAP-GSP, AAI and AfDB event were crucial for participating countries from across the continent. The progress made over the past year is even more recognized considering the global pandemic and how that has impacted development around the world. In light of the struggles 2020 has brought to the world, countries in Africa have continued to formulate, implement and mainstream their NAP this year, which will reap greater results in 2021. Overall these four countries have created synergies between both their NDC and NAP in order to ensure the NAP work can benefit their NDC objectives and vice-versa.

Sudan’s NDC revision seeks to align with NAP, SDG and Sendai Framework

Sudan has submitted its NAP to the UNFCCC in September 2016 with the aim to improve understanding of climate change challenges at the regional (state) level. Sudan is now about to revise its NDC taking into consideration the need to align with other frameworks, including NAP, SDGs and Sendai Framework for disaster risk reduction. In parallel, a GCF adaptation project focusing on agriculture has just been approved.

Rwanda’s NDC contributes to covid-19 response

Rwanda has made a head start by being the first country to submit its revise NDC to the UNFCCC in May 2020. The identified adaptation priorities contribute to green and resilient recovery objectives as the Green Growth and Climate Resilience Strategy informed them and are in line with the short -term economic recovery plan adopted by the Government in April 2020.


Speakers of this event included:

  • Opening remarks: Ms. Rohini Kohli, UNDP/NAP-GSP
  • Setting the scene: Ms. Davinah Milenge, Principal Programme Coordinator, Climate Change and Green Growth Development, AfDB
  • Ethiopia: Mr. Muluneh Hedeto, Senior National Climate Negotiator and Advisor, Environment, Forest and Climate Change Commission Ethiopia
  • Lesotho: Ms. Mookho Monnapula, Project coordinator, Lesotho Meteorological Services
  • Sierra Leone: Mr. Gabriel Kpaka, Deputy Director General, Meteorological Agency, Ministry of Transport and Aviation and UNFCCC Focal Point
  • Somalia: Mr. Mohamud Mohamed, Senior Advisor, Department of Environment and Climate Change
  • Reflections from Sudan: Dr. Hana Hamadalla Mohamed, Higher Council for Environment and Natural Resources – CC Unit Natural Resources, Environment and CC specliats, and Chair of the UNFCC Least Developmd Countries Expert Group (LEG).
  • Reflections from Mr. Herman Hakuzimana, Director of Climate Change and International Obligations Unit/REMA, Rwanda
  • Closing remarks: Ambassador Seyni Nafo, High Representative for Climate Change Mali and AAI Coordinator