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Review of Current and Planned Adaptation Action in Developing Countries: Supporting the Adaptation Partnership

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An upsurge in funding for climate change adaptation in developing countries following the Copenhagen Climate Conference in 2009 led to a diverse array of efforts being initiated by multiple actors in numerous developing countries. Concern was expressed at the time that this surge in financing could lead to duplication of effort and ineffective use of new investments.

The Adaptation Partnership was formed in May 2010 to address this concern. Chaired by Costa Rica, Spain and the United States, the partnership sought to encourage effective adaptation by supporting coordination, collaboration and lesson sharing among diverse actors. Over 50 developing and developed countries participated in the partnership’s activities.

The International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) supported achievement of the Adaptation Partnership’s objectives by completing the following studies:

1. A review of current and planned adaptation actions in Africa, Asia-Pacific, and Latin America and the Caribbean. IISD undertook a rapid assessment of adaptation needs, policy efforts, current and planned projects, and potential gaps in current adaptation action in 125 developing countries. Findings from these country-level assessments were used to prepare 12 regional profiles:

Each regional profile identifies commonalities and differences among the countries covered. General observations from this review include:

  • Adaptation-focused projects are unevenly distributed between and within regions, with a larger number of internationally funded projects currently under way in West Africa and Southeast Asia.
  • The bulk of discrete adaptation projects and programs remain focused on creating an enabling environment for adaptation, such as by supporting research, capacity building, and policy formation and integration. The implementation of targeted adaptation measures—such as crop diversification and infrastructure construction—is limited.
  • Adaptation in a variety of sectors is being supported, with the greatest number of projects addressing needs in the agricultural sector—consistent with developing countries’ identification of agriculture and water as their priority sectors for adaptation.

2. Understanding communities of practice. A technical paper, Understanding Communities of Practice: An Overview for Adaptation Practitioners, was developed to provide guidance to adaptation practitioners on the potential role of communities of practice in promoting adaptation efforts and how vibrant communities of practice can be built.

3. Mainstreaming adaptation into national policy. Drawing upon documented experience, concrete guidance was provided to policy-makers regarding how to integrate adaptation to climate change into national-level policy and planning through the technical paper Mainstreaming Adaptation to Climate Change into National Policy: An Overview for Adaptation Practitioners.