Reporting on Progress in National Adaptation Plan Processes

An analysis

National adaptation plan (NAP) progress reporting is vital for tracking and enhancing NAPs, facilitating a "learn-by-doing" approach in absence of a full monitoring, evaluation, and learning (MEL) system. It helps strategize adaptation goals, provide updates, and assess NAP effectiveness. It also fosters broader planning, informed decision making, transparency, and accountability, serving as a communication tool to stakeholders, aligning with obligations like the Paris Agreement.

By Patrick Guerdat, Shafaq Masud, Emilie Beauchamp on September 29, 2023
  • Progress reporting is a critical element of the NAP process that helps facilitate its regular tracking and continuous enhancement of adaptation planning and implementation.

  • Progress reporting gathers information from monitoring, evaluation, and learning activities, enabling a "learn-by-doing" approach, useful when a full MEL system isn't yet available.

  • Progress reporting fosters informed decision-making, increases transparency, promotes accountability, builds capacity, and can be used as a communication and education tool for various stakeholders.

As a medium- to long-term response to the climate crisis and to enhance adaptation action, many countries are developing and implementing  NAPs and designing MEL systems to track progress under their NAP processes. However, despite the urgent need to see results and understand the progress made on adaptation, few countries currently track and report on their NAP implementation. This is largely due to limited resources, capacity constraints and a lack of clear guidance on how to report progress on adaptation.

The NAP Global Network prepared this analytical report to provide insights into and practical examples of progress reporting with the intent to encourage its adoption as an integral part of countries' NAP processes. Based on a review of NAP progress reports, this report analyzes various methods countries use to track their adaptation progress and highlights important lessons and good practices. The report seeks to assist NAP country teams and other stakeholders involved in developing, implementing, monitoring, evaluating, and learning from the NAP process, as well as development partners.

Progress reporting is a critical element of the NAP process that helps facilitate its regular tracking and continuous enhancement of adaptation planning and implementation. Progress reports can consolidate into one document the information gathered through various MEL activities undertaken as part of the NAP process. These activities support adaptive management and promote learning, contributing to improvement throughout the NAP process. Importantly, countries can adopt a flexible "learn-by-doing" approach to MEL through progress reporting, even if a fully developed MEL system is not yet in place.

Progress reporting is a dynamic tool that goes beyond just reporting on activities and indicators; it enables stakeholders to reflect strategically on a country's adaptation goals and how to achieve them. Through progress reports, governments can tell a coherent story of adaptation to the observed and anticipated impacts of climate change, enabling them to communicate it to a broad range of stakeholders, including citizens, the private sector, development partners, and the global community. While seemingly procedural, progress reporting can bolster the quality and efficacy of NAPs by supporting better adaptation decision making, transparency, accountability, and communication.

The analysis reveals that countries use progress reporting for various purposes, including providing updates on the status of NAP activities, assessing the effectiveness of the NAP process, and tracking how climate change adaptation is being integrated into development planning and budgeting. Moreover, progress reporting helps build capacity and the identification of successes and challenges in NAP implementation. Inputs from progress reports are also crucial to supporting Paris Agreement implementation, addressing both national and international reporting requirements and advancing the Global Goal on Adaptation. As such, the authors strongly advocate that governments recognize the value of NAP progress reporting and incorporate it as a standard practice.

Countries can conduct progress reporting at any time in the NAP process, with the most benefits seen when it is aligned with the adaptation planning and decision-making cycle. Adaptation progress reporting is context dependent and requires each country to define what progress and success look like based on their specific needs and resources. The report concludes with solutions to common progress reporting challenges, like strengthening NAP process capacity and gradually enhancing reporting methods.

Report details

Climate Change Adaptation
Focus area
IISD, 2023