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UNDP, UNEP Expand National Climate Adaptation Program

Corn farmer in Africa

The United Nations (UN) is marshaling and expanding the wide range of resources at its disposal to assist the world’s least-developed and developing countries craft and implement strategic and project plans to adapt to the effects of a rapidly changing climate. This week the UN Development and Environment Programs (UNDP, UNEP) announced the National Adaptation Plan Global Support Program (NAP-GSP) is expanding to include all developing nations.

Established as a result of the Cancun Adaptation Framework instituted at the UN climate talks that took place at the Mayan Riviera gateway city in 2010, NAP-GSP has only been serving the needs of the world’s least-developed countries (LDCs). Funded by the UN Global Environment Facility’s (GEF) Special Climate Change Fund, NAP-GSP will expand its reach to include all developing nations beginning in October.

Climate adaptation assistance for developing and least developed countries

NAP-GSP was created on the part of the UNFCCC Conference of Parties as a result of recognition that LDCs are most vulnerable to the negative impacts of climate change and are least responsible and least able to design and enact effective plans and projects to adapt to changing climate conditions.

UN NAP Process chart

UNDP and UNEP summarize NAP-GSP’s raison d’etre as follows:

  • To reduce vulnerability to the impacts of climate change, by building adaptive capacity and resilience;
  • To facilitate the integration of climate change adaptation, in a coherent manner, into relevant new and existing policies, programs and activities, in particular development planning processes and strategies, within all relevant sectors and at different levels, as appropriate.

Three key principles guide and inform the work of NAP-GSP’s administrators in accordance with UNFCCC treaty specifications:

  • Follow a country-driven, gender-sensitive, participatory and fully transparent approach, taking into consideration vulnerable groups, communities and ecosystems;
  • Be based on and guided by the best available science and, as appropriate, traditional and indigenous knowledge, and by gender-sensitive approaches, with a view to integrating adaptation into relevant social, economic and environmental policies and actions, where appropriate;
  • Not be prescriptive, nor result in the duplication of efforts undertaken in-country, but facilitate country-owned, country-driven action.

Newly expanded, joint UNDP-UNEP efforts under the NAP-GSP umbrella will focus on providing assistance to developing nations and LDCs as they proceed with efforts to establish institutional frameworks and improve national planning, financing and implementation capacity for planning and projects designed to enhance medium- and long-term climate-change adaptation capabilities.

Carrying out the large majority of its work in LDCs in Africa develop national climate change adaptation plans and projects, expanding NAP-GSP will extend such efforts to Asia and the Americas.

UNDP and UNEP are already inviting developing country UN member nations to submit official letters of request for NAP-GSP technical assistance. Going forward, requests for assistance will be accepted on a rolling basis.

*Image credits: UNDP, UNEP NAP-GSP

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