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Capacity Building Program on Economics of Climate Change Adaptation

This article outlines and provides resources from the two-year program “Economics of Climate Change Adaptation – Supporting National/Sub-national Adaption Planning and Action”.
Multiple Authors
Jim Kairu


The objective of the Capacity Building Programme on the Economics of Climate Change Adaptation (ECCA) programme was to strengthen the capacity of technical officers in Ministries of Planning/Finance, as well as line Ministries (Environment, Agriculture, Water, Public Works, and others) to assess economic costs and benefits when evaluating different adaptation alternatives, as they relate to medium- and long-term national, sub-national and sectoral development plans. The programme was a cooperative effort between UNDP, USAID Adapt Asia-Pacific, the Asian Development Bank (ADB), and Yale University.

The programme aimed to produce a cadre of practitioners in government who can prepare high-quality economic analyses related to climate change adaptation projects and programmes. In coordination with other ongoing and planned UNDP initiatives, the programme was designed to strengthen governments’ capacity to more fully integrate climate change adaptation into national, sub-national and sector planning and budgeting. Ultimately, the programme sought to institutionalize these important analytical skills into ministries and departments, and to enable countries to formulate economically efficient and climate resilient development plans.

This briefing note outlines this two-year program entitled “Economics of Climate Change Adaptation – Supporting National/Sub-national Adaption Planning and Action” that was launched in October 2012 in consultation with countries in Asia and staff from the UNDP and USAID Adapt Asia-Pacific.

In 2017, the ECCA programme transitioned into Phase Two, in collaboration with the Asian Insititute of Technology.

The programme approach, key outcomes and selected resources are provided below. For more information visit: ECCA Asia.

Methods and Tools

The programme was designed and rolled out as a complement to UNDP’s support to countries on adaptation, with financing from the Least Developed Country Fund, Special Climate Change Fund (managed by the Global Environment Facility) and the Adaptation Fund. It was aligned with UNDP-GEF-UNEP support to countries that are preparing to formulate National Adaptation Plans (NAPs).

Trainings on microeconomic tools for assessing the costs and benefits of adaptation were interspersed with in-country work and the mentor support of an economics expert from a local university. The programme targeted technical staff in the public sector, specifically those who were or would be involved in sector or project analysis in central agencies including Planning, Finance, Environment and/or line Ministries. Many of the targeted staff were also expected to play key roles in mainstreaming climate into development planning, as Least Developing Countries are shortly expected to do through their respective National Adaptation Plan (NAP) process.

The 1st and 2nd regional workshops provided training on theory and the practical application of cost-benefit analysis, and introduced participants to forecasting and modeling. The 3rd and 4th moved from project level analysis to sectoral analysis and looked into country-specific institutional development plans, within the context of ongoing and new initiatives. These analyses were presented to policy makers to support decision-making related to the assessment of alternative adaptation options. Additional support was provided to the country teams through Live Chats and Webinars- virtual classroom settings where participants could discuss issues with the lead mentors as well as each other.

Details of these Live Chats can be found here.

Key Results and Outputs

  • Technical officers in Planning, Finance, Environment, Agriculture, Water and Public Works Ministries and others at the national and sub-national level were trained to estimate the economic costs and benefits of climate change impacts, as well as adaptation options.
  • Country Teams (comprised of technical officers from relevant Government Ministries, academia and others) conducted assessments on the costs and benefits of climate change adaptation options (this work was linked to ongoing adaptation projects financed by the Least Developed Country Fund, Special Climate Change Fund and/or Adaptation Fund).
  • Investment projects for adaptation financed from current and emerging sources of funds such as the Green Climate Fund were assessed in terms of their economic costs and benefits.
  • The training programme was established within a suitable learning center in the country or region in order to provide continuous technical advisory support to countries on the assessment of economic costs/benefits of adaptation.
  • Regular policy dialogue forums with Ministries of Planning/Finance and line Ministries were conducted at the country and regional level, to discuss the economics of adaptation in the context of national and sub-national medium and long-term national development planning process.
  • A virtual community of practice working on the economics of adaptation was established, with innovative means to share lessons and knowledge, including Live Chats and Webinars- virtual classroom settings where participants discuss issues with the lead mentors as well as each other. The Global ALM platform provided facilities for the community of practice to share learning materials, as well as lessons learned.

Resources, Reports and Publications

Selected resources, guidance and outputs from the programme can be found below. Visit the ECCA page on UNDP Climate Change Adaptation for more resources:

Explore the Economics of Climate Change Adaptation Datasets here:

Programme Related Documents & Events

Knowledge Products

Training & Tools

Examples of Cost- Benefit Analysis Reports

Relevant Peer-Reviewed Articles

Reports and Publications of relevance to Country Teams

Funded through USAID’s Regional Development Mission for Asia (USAID/RDMA) and implemented by AECOM, USAID Adapt Asia-Pacific was designed to share information and best practices about climate change adaptation finance modalities and project preparation tools and help governments build capacity to access the existing pool of international climate change adaptation funds.

Go to the USAID Climate Change Adaptation Project Preparation Facility for Asia and the Pacific (USAID Adapt Asia-Pacific) project page

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