Adaptation for LDCs is not a choice, but a development and a socio-economic imperative.
The NAP Expo featured a high-level segment graced by H.E Dr. Mokgweetsi E.K. Masisi, the President of the Republic of Botswana. The President cited the event, happening under the umbrella of the Botswana Global Adaptation Week, as the first of its kind in Africa, and the hosting of the NAP Expo as very timely for Botswana as the country is aggressively pursuing a transformational agenda that seeks to promote digitization as part of resilience building. Given the climate change impacts on the key economic sectors of Botswana, particularly on rangelands, water, health and biodiversity, adaptation for Botswana and all African countries is not a choice, but a development and socio-economic imperative. Hosting the 7th NAP Expo is yet another demonstration of political commitment on the part of the Botswana government.
“As part of the NAP Expo, I want to believe that sufficient guidance is provided to the countries like Botswana for them to develop very sound and implementable National Adaptation Plans. These plans, remain resource mobilization tools in the field of adaptation and must be developed in such a way that they are able to give birth to bankable projects. “ – H.E. President Mogweetsi Masisi
The President appealed to institutions such as Green Climate Fund, Global Environment Facility, and Commonwealth Climate Finance Access Hub, to provide vulnerable countries, particularly Africa, with technical and financial resources to develop sound and bankable national adaptation plans.
Transformations in approaches, themes, and systems
Stress testing can help identify events and conditions where climate stresses and shocks could undermine the effectiveness of adaptation, explains Prof. Kristie Ebi in her keynote presentation “Stress testing for high-end risks”. She added that modifying current programmes to manage climate-related hazards based on historic experience may lead to inadequate preparation. More comprehensive, systems-oriented, and transformative approaches are required.
Trees also have a role in transforming the current food system, as explained by Dr. Fergus Sinclair in his keynote presentation. Trees are an investment in ecological infrastructure. They increase net primary productivity, produce high-value products, and provide critical ecosystem services. We can thus achieve ecosystem-based adaptation in agricultural landscapes by applying agroecological principles locally through co-creation and sharing of knowledge. Although agroforestry is present in most NAPs, systemic responses are required to adapt agricultural and food systems to the interrelated challenges posed by climate change. There is a need to grow rather than plant trees by embracing local aspirations for diversity and climate-proof species choice.
Ms. Kotchakorn Voraakhom concluded the plenary session by underscoring that responding to climate change is not generic, we need to tailor each solution to a culture and a setting.
Our cities, rooted in agrarian, water-based societies, have now transformed into paralyzed concrete developments, leaving many delta capitals under extreme water stress. The need to shift away from concentrated land-based development is apparent. Porosity can be understood in this context as a city’s capacity to adapt to the natural flow of water, focusing on fluidity and flexibility as essential mechanisms of climate adaptability – elements often neglected in urban development. Bangkok serves as an excellent example of how building eco-centric green and blue infrastructures can revive our cities’ urban ecosystems.
Advancing the implementation of NAPs
As more than one-third of LDCs have already published a NAP, the Least Developed Countries Expert Group (LEG) is supporting LDCs in implementing their NAPs by developing technical guidelines, among other activities. This session presented the draft outline of the NAP implementation technical guidelines, which were previously discussed during three previous meetings held by the NAP Technical Working Group coordinated by the LEG. Participants emphasized the importance of developing the identified adaptation priorities into bankable projects, and the value of having a robust financial strategy. The rich discussion also highlighted a few limiting factors to the implementation process, such as the lack of funding, and not effectively mainstreaming adaptation into all departments of national governments.
Are future scenarios and stress testing useful for adaptation planning?
Climate future scenarios are widely used in NAPs. However, scenarios are based on just a few climate variables, and much of the uncertainty lies in socio-economic changes. Considering only climate scenarios means assuming everything else will stay the same, which is not the case as the world is evermore interconnected. If NAPs are grounded only in climate scenario data, future vulnerabilities and impacts cannot be fully determined. Stress testing can help fill the gap by exploring climate change’s unexpected and cascading impacts by considering socioeconomic and political factors.
UN4NAPs Forum session B: Sea level rise, coastal erosion and storm surges
Countries need to share their climate change experiences and technical support demands. At the second series of the UN4NAPs forum, country representatives from Senegal, Fiji, and St. Lucia presented their challenges regarding sea level rise, coastal erosion, and storm surges. These countries have long coastlines and the majority of their populations live along them, which are highly vulnerable to the negative impacts of climate change.
Senegal shared their experiences and highlighted their technical assistance needs as knowledge of researchers on monitoring certain parameters and ocean acidification data, tools for collecting and monitoring hydro-sedimentary dynamics, capacity building of stakeholders, and financial resources.
Fiji and St. Lucia are the countries that have submitted their NAPs. Fiji presented their challenges in formulating NAP, which is heading to the next step in implementing coastal management; (1) NAP steering committee meeting (2) pool of uses established in Fiji’s adaptation registry (3) Rollout with Fijian taskforce on the relocation and displacement (4) NAP review (5) NAP investment plan (6) Coastal mapping (7) Climate impact assessment framework for all new infrastructure.
St. Lucia introduced the fisheries early warning emergency response which is an application where fishes would get information when a tsunami or climate-related event is approaching.
In response to the technical assistance needs shared by the countries, the UN4NAPs partner organizations showed their willingness to support countries with their specialties in the field of climate data management, early warning system, and monitoring and forecasting.
Opportunities for gender-responsive adaptation planning and action
Gender analysis can help to ensure that adaptation actions are implemented in a gender-responsive manner. In a session led by the Adaptation Committee, the LEG, and the NAP Global Network, it was highlighted that most NAPs position women as a particularly vulnerable group, and/or as beneficiaries of adaptation actions. However, we are seeing more references to women as agents of change in adaptation, which was an occurring theme across this session. Regarding gender analysis for NAP processes, the process matters as much as a result. Gender analysis is relevant at different points in NAP processes. Focus on institutions and policies is also important, and an intersectional lens is essential but can be challenging.