Local communities engaging in NAP planning

Three Ways the National Adaptation Plan (NAP) Process Can Be Leveraged to Inform the Global Stocktake

By Jeffrey Qi on June 1, 2022

This article originally appeared on the website of the NAP Global Network, whose secretariat is hosted by IISD, and is republished with permission.

As we enter the seventh year since the adoption of the Paris Agreement, the international community has taken ambitious actions to address the climate crisis. But how much progress have we really made? The inaugural Global Stocktake (GST) will be an opportunity for us to see how well governments are doing in their collective efforts to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement—and where they will need to commit to doing more.

This will be a crucial moment for taking stock of progress on implementing national adaptation commitments. And with the Bonn Climate Change Conference coming up in June, we will see one of the components of the GST in action: that of technical assessment, which will continue from now until mid-2023. Notably, the results of National Adaptation Plan (NAP) processes are critical sources of information on assessing the progress of adaptation actions for the GST.

The NAP Global Network has prepared a briefing note demystifying the GST process and how it connects to the progress developing countries are making with their NAP. Here, we summarize the three key ways that the NAP process can be leveraged to inform the GST.

The NAP Process Provides a Coherent National Story on Developing Countries’ Adaptation Efforts and Progress

One of the key mandates of the GST is to recognize the efforts of developing countries toward enhancing adaptive capacity, strengthening resilience, and reducing vulnerabilities to climate change. Robust NAP processes—including assessing vulnerabilities and risks, prioritizing adaptation options, identifying capacity gaps, and staging meaningful consultations with civil society—can operationalize how developing countries will achieve their national adaptation goals.

NAP processes can help tell a coherent story of how countries are mainstreaming adaptation at the national and subnational levels; how climate impacts are assessed and incorporated into fiscal frameworks; how adaptation actions are financed; and how local communities and Indigenous Peoples’ knowledge and participation shape adaptation policies and actions, among other critical information. 

This acknowledgement of adaptation efforts and progress in planning and implementing adaptation policies and actions is especially important when considering equity in global climate action. This could further increase and accelerate global adaptation support in the most vulnerable countries.

The NAP Process and Its Progress Reporting Bring National and Local Lessons to the International Conversation

NAP processes offer valuable insights into what works and what doesn’t—in which contexts and why—at the national and subnational levels. The GST is an opportunity for countries to share these lessons learned and best practices from their NAP processes to inform the global conversation on adaptation and enhance mutual learning. Notably, the growing body of stories and experiences of adaptation from NAP progress reporting can contribute to the collective assessment of the state of adaptation planning and implementation.

Additionally, since NAP processes are informed by local realities and priorities, they situate adaptation in a local context. Although the GST takes on a global-level perspective of adaptation progress, including knowledge on how countries are tackling climate change at the subnational level through the NAP process is a useful approach to illustrate important policy links across levels of governance and across different sectors. For example, sectoral NAPs, submitted by countries like Saint Lucia, offer valuable insights into countries’ efforts and experiences of horizontal integration.

Combined with case studies and examples from subnational levels, countries will have the opportunity to learn from each other, and the outcomes of the GST will help developing countries improve their NAPs and adaptation actions. The inclusion of these lessons from the national and local levels is crucial for the accuracy and the relevance of the GST’s final outcomes.

The NAP Process Offers Valuable Insights into Developing a Global Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning System on Adaptation

Monitoring, evaluation, and learning (MEL) is a critical part of the iterative NAP process. But there are many methodological, conceptual, empirical, and political challenges associated with creating national MEL systems for NAPs. These difficulties are similarly mirrored at the international level when assessing the world’s collective adaptation progress.

Through the GST, existing national MEL systems for adaptation—like Fiji’s Monitoring and Evaluation Framework for its NAP process, or guidance for the development of Grenada’s MEL system—could inform the global-level discussion on the methodologies, objectives, indicators, and approaches of measuring progress and identifying gaps in adaptation. Conversely, the methodologies and indicators developed at the international level for the GST will support countries’ efforts in crafting effective MEL systems for national adaptation.

As the impacts of climate change become ever more apparent, we need to look at what we’ve learned from countries’ adaptation efforts so far and where we must improve. The NAP process will be a go-to source of information on countries’ priorities on adaptation and the progress they’ve made, shaping the global understanding of progress made toward the implementation of adaptation under the Paris Agreement.

Any opinions stated in this blog post are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of the NAP Global Network, its funders, or Network participants.

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