Advancing national adaptation planning: How can we achieve the adaptation goals of the Paris Agreement?

October 26, 2018

The first IKI Adaptation Workshop under the NDC Support Cluster took place in Bangkok, Thailand, on 2–5 October 2018. 25 participants from eight organisations and five countries who work in the field of climate change adaptation came together to discuss ‘Experiences and approaches for advancing national adaptation planning and implementation to achieve the adaptation goals of the Paris Agreement’.


The IKI Adaptation Workshop was funded through the International Climate Initiative (IKI) by the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU) and formed part of a series of workshops organised by the NDC Cluster in 2018. The workshops in this series focused on challenges faced by the NDC Cluster’s four thematic work streams of Governance, Transparency, Finance and Sectoral Approaches and discussed what works and what is needed for a fast and effective NDC implementation. Due to the mitigation focus of most of the projects and participants involved, the experiences and solutions discussed were also largely mitigation focused. Acknowledging the importance of adaptation action for the implementation of the Paris Agreement and countries’ adaptation goals (which are also included in most NDCs), the IKI Adaptation Workshop provided a space for implementing partners and country experts to exchange experiences and to develop innovative solutions. Besides existing members of the NDC Cluster, further IKI project-representatives and experts working on national adaptation planning processes attended the workshop and took part in developing practical solutions to common challenges and exploring possible opportunities for cooperation among IKI adaptation projects and experts in this field.


The workshop was part of the 'Capacity Building and Knowledge Exchange Week on Accelerating the Implementation of the Paris Agreement', which was held between 1st and 5th of October 2018 in Bangkok. With support from the German Federal Government, three back-to-back events were held during the week, which joined up different partners’ efforts and sought to foster discussion and practical peer-to-peer exchange on the effective implementation of the Paris Agreement. The week started with the Peer Learning Summit (PLS) organised by the NAP Global Network. It convened country representatives to explore opportunities to advance the implementation of their countries’ adaptation needs and goals. Following the Peer Learning Summit the NDC Cluster Workshop took place. It built on the outcomes of the PLS and participants of the Summit also attended the Cluster Workshop in order to integrate their country experiences. The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the UNFCCC Secretariat, with the support of the governments of Germany, Japan and Norway, hosted the third of these back-to-back events, the Regional NDC Dialogue for Asia and Arab States, which had a stronger focus on mitigation. The participants of all three events came together for a joint reception to exchange their experiences in NDC implementation.


The Cluster Workshop focused on the development of innovative solutions to current challenges in the implementation of NAPs (National Adaptation Plans) and the adaptation goals of the Paris Agreement. Furthermore, it promoted peer-to-peer exchange and joint learning between the participants. The two adaptation events (PLS and Cluster Workshop) put strong emphasize on the question of alignment, which is defined as a process of identifying synergies between policy processes (e.g. NAP and NDC). The assumption is that alignment can help to prioritise adaptation action as well as reduce double burden arising from addressing NAP and the adaptation component of the NDCs through separate processes. The Peer Learning Summit analysed the countries’ opportunities and challenges for aligning NAP and the adaptation information included in the NDCs. The results of this analysis were then incorporated in the Cluster Workshop’s discussion of current challenges, barriers and possible solutions and used as a starting point for the subsequent group work.

The interactive workshop used an innovative design-thinking methodology called ‘prototyping’, which had already been successfully applied previously in the other Cluster workshops. Participants discussed and prioritised challenges in planning and implementing adaptation action in their work context and came up with concrete solutions. In a collaborative exercise, these solutions were then further developed into comprehensive approaches.

The deliberations on challenges and innovative solutions focused on three broader thematic areas:


New sources for adaptation finance: The discussions on adaptation financing focused particularly on the challenges and new opportunities that arise when linking NAP and NDC processes. The participants saw a great opportunity in this, as the NDC process might open up new sources of funding. The alignment of the two processes would create an enabling environment for private sector investment and furthermore would help with the prioritisation and distribution of financial resources. In short, bringing together the different funds allocated for NAP and NDCs leverages the general funding of adaptation.


Governance of NAP and NDC: The NAP and NDC processes, which often run in parallel, present countries with major challenges. For example, the NAP and NDC processes still have very different timelines, which makes their implementation extremely difficult. The coordination of the different processes is highly important and can create useful synergies. To align the processes, political economy is not irrelevant: high-level commitment is required not only for the NDC but also for the NAP process. Often, however, a lack of awareness persists, which is why education and communication was discussed as a central solution.


Measuring adaptation: Given that NDCs have a stronger mitigation focus and the NAP centres more on adaptation, elaborating a common framework for monitoring and evaluation (M&E) is not only a basic challenge but also a concrete need. A general question here is how to measure adaptation and determine suitable targets and indicators. It was noted that the different levels and scales of monitoring and reporting from the subnational to national level present challenges in this regard because the indicators will differ depending on their purpose. Further challenging issues are data ownership and the reporting schedule.


Based on the discussions on key challenges, the participants developed possible solutions for tackling the barriers, drawing on their comprehensive expertise in the field of adaptation and incorporating learning from specific project experiences. Using the results of the fruitful discussions on different possible solutions, they then developed four concrete approaches:


  • Integrate adaptation-relevant contributions under international arrangements: This approach focuses on the challenge arising from the lack of a mechanism to integrate existing adaptation priorities into other policy processes and the challenge in making use of synergies. Possible solutions include a better coordination and dissemination of technical information (e.g. including institutional arrangements and timelines). The approach therefore includes, for example, a review of adaptation-related international agreements and a mapping of obligations.


  • Develop an effective way of communicating NAP–NDC linkages to decision-makers in countries: The approach tackles the challenge of the lack or the solely informal linking of NDCs and NAPs due to a lack of understanding about the synergies between adaptation and mitigation as well as about the NDC and NAP processes themselves. Knowledge exchange along with the reflexivity and agility of different stakeholders were identified as effective solutions. The approach therefore focuses on analysing the strategic communications of key stakeholders, especially decision-makers, in specific country contexts


  • Develop a toolkit for the review and engagement of national M&E systems: The focus of this approach lies on the challenge arising from countries’ often limited experience in systematically aggregating data on climate risk within different line ministries and at the national and subnational levels. Providing guidance on the systematic assessment and integration of country M&E systems and delivering capacity-building were identified as important solutions. The toolkit mooted for this approach will help users take stock of the current M&E system (e.g. through an actor mapping exercise) and will give guidance on entry points for enhancing and reviewing the current system and on building capacity for reporting.


  • Facilitate dialogue between climate information providers and users to define the data required for M&E: The approach tackles the challenges of data quality and the lack of data availability and of high barriers to accessing data across institutions. Strategic communication and effective exchange platforms were identified as solutions. These can be achieved by facilitating dialogue between climate information providers and users to define data requirements and the respective guidelines.


The respective working groups will continue to develop these approaches, including opportunities for testing and possibilities for funding. Concept notes and workshop insights will be made available soon on this website.


The workshop participants came from eight organisations including Adelphi, Climate Analytics, the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the International Institute for Environmental Development (IIED), the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and the UNEP DTU Partnership, and from the five countries of Brazil, Colombia, Nepal, the Philippines and Thailand.


More information on the NDC Cluster Workshop Series:



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