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The Briefing on National Adaptation Plans (NAPs) explores the relationship between NAPs and National Adaptation Programmes of Action (NAPAs).


In 2010, the 16th Conference of Parties (COP 16) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) established a process to enable Least Developed Countries (LDCs) to formulate and implement national adaptation plans (NAPs) as a way to plan and implement “medium- and long- term adaptation needs”, building on their experience in addressing short-term “urgent and immediate adaptation needs” through the National Adaptation Programmes of Action (NAPAs). Other developing country Parties were also invited to use the modalities to formulate their NAPs.

The following year, COP 17 in Durban defined the objectives of the NAP process, to:reduce vulnerability to the impacts of climate change, by building adaptive capacity and resilience; andfacilitate integration of climate change adaptation, in a coherent manner, into relevant new and existing policies, programmes and activities, in particular development planning processes and strategies, within all relevant sectors and at different levels, as appropriate.

The LDC Expert Group (LEG) prepared Technical Guidelines for the NAP process in 2012, based on the COP’s initial guidelines. The review of the guidelines will now take place at COP 20 in Peru, in 2014, based on comments submitted by Parties to the Subsidiary Body for Implementation, on their experience with the application of the guidelines.

This brief considers the differences and similarities between NAPAs and NAPs; activities that can be funded under the NAP process based on the existing priorities and circumstances of LDCs, including “no- regret” measures and the integration of NAPs into national development plans and strategies;NAP financial and technical support; and NAP monitoring and evaluation. It finds that the NAP process can be useful for LDCs to explore low-cost and ‘no regret’ adaptation strategies to provide robust policy responses in the face of information uncertainty, and refine assessments of economic impacts of climate risks, in order to target adaptation investments better. It can also facilitate the integration of climate change adaptation into development policies and activities. Examples where this is already taking place are included. However, it notes, finance for NAPs ­– including measurement, reporting and verification (MRV) of such finance, and its provision through the modality of ‘enhanced direct access’ – should be a priority for the 2014 climate conference in Peru, and for the Global Environment Facility, the Green Climate Fund, and other financial contributors.

Suggested citation

Kissinger, G., Namgyel, T. 2014. NAPAs and NAPs in Least Developed Countries. CDKN.

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