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Supporting NAP development with the PROVIA Guidance: A user companion

Multiple Authors

This brochure explains how the PROVIA Guidance on Assessing Vulnerability, Impacts and Adaptation to Climate Change can be used to better understand key concepts and available methods and tools throughout the National Adaptation Plan process.


Climate change poses particular challenges to Least Developed Countries (LDCs), exacerbating the vulnerability of poor communities and adding new constraints, risks and uncertainties to their development. Recognizing this, the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) established a new national adaptation plan (NAP) process to facilitate effective adaptation planning in LDCs and other developing countries.

The NAP process aims to reduce vulnerability to climate change impacts by building adaptive capacity and resilience, and to help integrate adaptation into relevant policies, programmes and activities, especially in the context of development. The Technical Guidelines for the National Adaptation Plan Process, produced by the LDC Expert Group in December 2012, details a series of steps for producing a NAP. This user companion explains how the PROVIA Guidance can be used to inform and support the NAP process, matching “indicative activities” of specific steps in the NAP-TG with corresponding materials in the guidance.

It is important to stress that like the PROVIA Guidance, this companion should not be seen as prescriptive; as the NAP-TG clearly states, “a country will define its unique set of activities based on its circumstances” (p.28).

What is the PROVIA guidance?

The PROVIA Guidance is an output of PROVIA, the Global Programme of Research on Climate Change Vulnerability, Impacts and Adaptation, an initiative launched jointly by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), and hosted by UNEP in Nairobi. It updates previous guidance, and is meant to be a “living document” that will continue to be improved based on user feedback.

The goal of the PROVIA Guidance is 
to provide clear technical guidance that combines robust science with explicit consideration of user needs at local, national and international levels. It is meant to be useful to a wide array of audiences in both developing and industrialized countries, including researchers, consultants, policy analysts and sectoral planners who have some prior knowledge on climate risk assessment and adaptation.

The PROVIA Guidance does not prescribe a particular process or approach 
for assessing climate change vulnerability, impacts and adaptation, but rather covers the range of available approaches, methods and tools. It presents users with 
a structured set of relevant methods for each task, with decision trees to help guide them through key choices. It also explains how to apply the chosen methods, and directs them to additional resources.

The PROVIA Guidance is structured along a five-stage iterative adaptation learning cycle:

1. Identifying adaptation needs: What impacts may be expected under climate change? What are actors’ vulnerabilities and capacities? What major issues need to be addressed?

2. Identifying adaptation options: How can the specific risks and opportunities that were identified be addressed? There may be several options available to achieve the desired goals.

3. Appraising adaptation options: What are the pros and cons of the different options, and which best fit the adaptation actors’ objectives?

4. Planning and implementing adaptation actions: After an option is chosen, implementation can begin. The focus here is on practical issues, such as planning, assigning responsibilities, setting up institutional frameworks, and taking action.

5. Monitoring and evaluation of adaptation: As measures are implemented, the process is monitored and evaluated to ensure it goes as planned, identify any problems, document the outcomes achieved, change course as needed, and draw lessons from the experience.

Suggested citation

Bisaro, A., J. Hinkel., M. Davis., R.J.T. Klein., 2014. Supporting NAP development with the PROVIA Guidance: A user companion. Stockholm Environment Institute.

Brochure produced with financial support from the joint UNEP-UNDP National Adaptation Plan Global Support Programme to facilitate country-driven NAP processes.

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