NAP Expo 2023 kicks off with an emphasis on data, climate risk analysis and enhanced technical assistance to scale up adaptation 

NAP Expo 2023 and Chile Global Adaptation Week launched today with a high-level opening ceremony, with addresses from the Minister of Environment of Chile, H.E. Maria Eloisa Rojas, Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ms. Gloria de la Fuente, Mr. Ovais Samard, Deputy Executive Secretary, UN Climate Change, Mr. Gabriel Kpaka, the Chair of the LEG, Ms. Maria Jose Torres, UN Resident Coordinator Chile, and Ms. Georgiana Braga-Orillard, UNDP Resident Representative.

The opening was followed by two keynote presentations, by Dr. Virginia Burkett, on “Initiative for Enhancing Capacity for Climate Risk Assessment and Catalyzing Partnerships to Inform Decisions in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC)” and Dr. Colin Young, on “Mobilizing finance for adaptation – the role of regional accredited entities”. These were followed by a set of technical sessions to drill deeper into ways to scaling up adaptation to climate change.

Takeaways from the day’s sessions coalesced around three areas: climate risk assessment, data and early warning systems, scaling up technical guidance and support for NAPs, and strengthening multi-stakeholder engagement in NAPs, with a focus on gender. Generally,

  • Climate change is already affecting natural and human systems across the world. Besides, climate change is a threat multiplier for women.
  • Every aspect of national development planning should have climate resilience at its core;
  • Climate change is a threat multiplier for women, but women are also in a unique position to create and implement solutions that work;
  • The IPCC makes clear that climate change is already affecting natural and human systems in Latin America and the Caribbean and around the world;
  • Inclusiveness is essential to scaling up adaptation— involving other stakeholders, public and private sectors, indigenous and traditional knowledge holders, vulnerable groups, non-governmental organizations, and so on, are crucial to expanding the scope and depth of work on adaptation.
  • NAPs are the primary way to lead us in the right direction in building resilience.
  • The NAP Expos, as the main adaptation expos, are effective at bringing together different actors and stakeholders to share experiences and lessons learned.

Climate risk assessment, data and early warning systems

Climate change is projected to convert existing risks into severe risks across the globe, resulting in food insecurity, water insecurity, large-scale changes and biome, risks to people and infrastructure, risks to coastal socio-ecological systems, increasing epidemics, and cascading risks — surpassing public service. In that context, Dr Virginia Burkett presented how earth observations are foundational to not only understanding climate change and impacts, but also to design and implement adaptation actions, and importantly support the process of accessing funding by providing the climate science basis as required under the Green Climate Fund.

Indeed, access to climate finance does not only require climate science basis but a lot of other institutional capacities and capabilities from the countries, all of which the LDCs, SIDS and other particularly vulnerable countries do not possess. This is what regional entities like the CCCCC are crucial in assisting countries in developing essential capacities, developing project proposals for accessing funding from the GCF and other sources, and implementing adaptation projects, said Dr. Collin Young.

Numerous initiatives across the Latin American and Caribbean (LAC) region demonstrate the advancement in the EOs’ capabilities in providing timely information about occurring and potential climate change impacts as well as the effectiveness of adaptation efforts. EOs have helped to develop projections and scenarios on food and water security, shoreline restorations, infrastructure development, and disaster warnings. Examples include assessing the timing and extent of drought and its impacts on water availability in Bolivia, a mapathon in Peru that engages over 600 participants annually from across regions, sectors and background and empowers local and indigenous communities, and GEOPathways Americas, which builds networks and relationships between students and early-career professionals and national organizations.

Scaling up technical guidance and support for NAPs

There is a need for enhanced coordinated support across all actors to assist the LDCs in effectively developing and submitting project proposals to access funding to implementation adaptation priorities from their NAPs or other existing strategies – creating stronger project pipelines. This was a cross-cutting message on how else to enhance technical and support for NAPs.

As a regional accredited entity to the Green Climate Fund, the CCCCC has been able to assist in addressing the access, absorption and implementation challenges often faced by the Caribbean small island developing States. Innovative financing models are needed to accommodate the sheer scale of resources needed to adequately respond to anticipated climate impacts, including public-private financing models and using public finance to leverage private finance. Climate finance architecture, as expansive and fragmented as it is, provides a huge barrier to the LDCs and SIDS – whereby most donors have their own priorities, access modalities and reporting requirements.

Figure 1: Challenges associated with accessing international climate finance

Another opportunity presented by the UN4NAPs initiative is bringing together different UN entities to coordinate efforts and support countries in navigating required steps and challenges to successfully formulate and implement their NAPs.

Apart from multilateral sources, there is potential in leveraging other sources including bilateral, philanthropic and domestic resources to implement adaptation measures.

Mainstreaming adaptation and climate-proofing government investments are essential, and different tools are available to countries to identify assets and develop project proposals, informed by scientific research and climate data, and relevant capacity building/training.

There continues to be a growing practice of scaling up adaptation by integrating adaptation into development planning. Nepal for instance prioritized vertical integration by directing more climate finance to the local level and implementing priority projects with support from domestic sources, emphasized stakeholder ownership and implementation at the local level and implemented priority projects with financial support from domestic sources. While Haiti on the other hand faced challenges in sourcing both internal and external funding to scale up adaptation, attempts were being made to make provisions in the domestic budget for key ministries to access funding for projects. In Bhutan, the government did not wait for the NAP documents to be completed to develop projects, basing them instead on the urgency of the situation. Regarding scaling up implementation, projects are being tailored to specific issues in regions, especially in relation to water resource management.

Strengthening multi-stakeholder engagement in NAPs — a focus on gender

The critical importance of multi-stakeholder engagement was a running theme from the outset of this year’s Expo, particularly the importance of gender responsiveness and the inclusion of women in decision-making.

A session on strengthening gender considerations in adaptation planning and implementation noted that gender-responsiveness is being increasingly incorporated in all phases of the adaptation cycle. Gender considerations are best realized when backed by adequate policy and legal frameworks, sufficient resources, and good-quality data.

Applying nature-based solutions in adapting to climate change

Nature-based solutions (NbS) for climate adaptation also featured in the day’s sessions as being crucial to advance climate change adaptation on all fronts, providing ecosystem services relevant to water and food security, disaster risk reduction and livelihoods, among others.

Forging partnerships for NbS between the private and public sectors, other organizations and communities on the ground is key. Collaboration allows the harnessing of capacities spread among different actors in society, as well as ensuring buy-in at the local level.

The private sector has an important role to play in fostering NbS, and can contribute to the different stages of adaptation planning and implementation. The session provided relevant examples of how businesses are restoring watersheds to provide water resources for urban areas and industries.

Quantifying the benefits of ecosystem services and natural capital can help to attract investment and funding.

Ecosystem integrity, prioritizing native species and using a landscape approach were some points highlighted by the panelists as necessary to take into account for effective NbS.