Using the Guidance Note

This guidance note is designed as supplementary material to the Technical guidelines for the NAP process, which  were developed in 2012 by the UNFCCC Least Developed Countries Expert Group (LEG). It provides additional, focused direction that can be applied alongside the guidelines to strengthen vertical integration throughout the NAP process. Like the technical guidelines, this guidance note is not prescriptive; it is designed to be flexible, highlighting issues that can be addressed to different degrees based on the particular country context, the capacity of national and sub-national actors and the resources available to support vertical integration in the NAP process.

The remaining sections of the guidance note are structured as follows:

  • Section 3 introduces the concept of vertical integration and why it is important in the NAP process.This section also includes explanations for key terms used throughout the guidance.
  • Section 4 describes how to get started on vertical integration, focusing on building commitment, elements to be integrated in the NAP roadmap and the enabling factors for vertical integration throughout the NAP process.
  • Sections 5, 6 and 7 provide guidance on addressing vertical integration in planning, implementation and M&E, including key issues and questions for consideration and links to the relevant steps in the NAP technical guidelines.
  • Section 8 presents a summary of the key points that emerge from the preceding sections.

Practice examples demonstrating vertical integration in different contexts are included to further illustrate the issues and their importance. An overview of the key issues, questions and related steps in the technical guidelines is provided in Annex A.

Throughout the document, symbols will be used to point you to key elements of the guidance:

When you see… Look for

Key questions to consider to improve vertical integration

Practice examples that demonstrate vertical integration in action

Links to steps in the NAP Technical Guidelines

Table 1 provides an overview of key terms and concepts as they are used in this guidance.

Table 1: Key terms and concepts


Decentralization is the process through which powers, functions, responsibilities and resources are transferred from central to sub-national authorities and/or to other actors operating at sub-national levels. The process of decentralization establishes a system of co-responsibility between central and sub-national institutions, according to the principle of subsidiarity (see below) (United Nations Economic and Social Council, 2006).

Indigenous peoples

The United Nations does not have an agreed definition of indigenous peoples; however, it identifies a number of key characteristics, including: self-identification based on continuity of pre-colonial and/or pre-settler societies; distinct language, culture and beliefs; and a strong link to territories and surrounding natural resources. Indigenous peoples often have distinct social, economic or political systems (United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, n.d.). They are key stakeholders in NAP processes, particularly at sub-national levels.


Local refers to entities and processes that exist outside the formal governance system, often at a level below the lowest administrative structure within this system.

Local organizations

Local organizations are non-governmental institutions, including traditional authorities, community-based organizations (CBOs), private sector institutions and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) (either locally based or national/international with localized operations). In contexts where decentralization is limited or where the capacity of sub-national authorities is weak, these organizations may play a leadership role in facilitating development processes.

Local communities

Local communities, while referenced in key decisions under the UNFCCC, are not defined. For the purposes of this guidance note, local communities are groups of people living in a geographic locality that are linked by social ties, common interests and/or joint actions (adapted from MacQueen et al., 2001).


Sub-national refers to institutions, systems and processes that exist at levels below the national level, including the local level.

Sub-national actors

Sub-national actors refer to the collective of different actors operating at sub-national levels, including sub-national authorities, local organizations and communities.

Sub-national authorities

Sub-national authorities are the government structures that exist in a decentralized governance system. Depending on the country, this may include regions, districts, counties, communes or municipalities. The power, responsibilities and capacity of these authorities differ based on the level and the degree of decentralization in the country. Sub-national authorities may include representatives of line ministries such as agriculture and water.


The principle of subsidiarity aims “to ensure that powers are exercised as close to the citizen as possible” (European Parliament, 2016, p. 1). In practical terms, it suggests that decision-making power should be employed and resources allocated at the lowest feasible or appropriate administrative level.