Adaptation plan | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, November 14, 2012 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, November 14, 2012

Politics Of Climate Change

Adaptation plan

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As the 18th Conference of Parties (COP18) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) approaches (it is to be held in Doha, Qatar from November 26 until December 7), preparations are being made to discuss a number of items on the agenda.
One of the major items on the agenda is adaptation to climate change, on which some progress has been made already.
The Cancun Adaptation Framework adopted at COP16 in Cancun, Mexico in December 2010, agreed the broad programme on adaptation and set up a high level Adaptation Committee to oversee all the adaptation related activities. This was a significant breakthrough, as until then adaptation related topics were scattered across many different negotiating tracks.
At COP17 in Durban, South Africa in December 2011, countries further agreed to support the preparation of National Adaptation Plans (NAP) for developing countries, starting with the Least Developed Countries (LDC). They charged the LDC Expert Group (LEG) with responsibility to develop guidelines for preparing the NAPs, which are to be launched at COP18. The LEG recently carried out an expert consultation on the draft guidelines and these should be ready by Doha. I will describe some of the proposed elements below.
NAPs and NAPAs
The LDCs have already developed their National Adaptation Programmes of Action (NAPA), and most of them are being implemented already. There are four main differences between the NAPAs and the NAPs.
Firstly, the NAPAs were meant to identify "urgent and immediate" adaptation projects only, whereas the NAPs are meant to be much bigger and long-term planning exercises.
Secondly, the NAPAs were meant to be done by the LDCs only, whereas the NAPs will be for all developing countries and not just for LDCs (although they will also start with the LDCs).
Thirdly, the NAPAs were the first such exercise on adaptation planning anywhere, so all the countries started from the same level. This is no longer the case since many countries have already initiated adaptation plans and activities of various kinds. Hence the NAPs will start from different points in each country.
Finally, there is no longer any need to develop stand-alone adaptation plans, but rather to integrate (and ultimately mainstream) adaptation into national planning at all levels (including national, sectoral and local level development plans). Thus the NAP exercise is no longer about developing a "Plan" but about initiating a "planning process" to integrate adaptation within national development plans.
Bangladesh's role
Bangladesh has been playing a key role within the LDC Group on adaptation over the years and has a member on the high level Adaptation Committee.
At the same time, the Bangladesh Climate Change Strategy and Action Plan (BCCSAP), which Bangladesh did on its own after doing its initial NAPA, is a de facto NAP and hence Bangladesh is already ahead of other LDCs. This is an opportunity for Bangladesh to share its experience and knowledge with other LDCs as they prepare their NAPs in the coming years.
Conclusion
Over the last decade, as adaptation to climate change has been increasingly recognised as an essential strategy to cope with the adverse impacts of climate change, it has also been realised that it is not only the LDCs that will need to adapt but all countries, including developed countries (the recent experience with Hurricane Sandy in the United States of America has made even the US recognise this unavoidable fact). Thus the upcoming NAP exercise will now be relevant for all countries and indeed be an opportunity for South-South as well as South-North knowledge sharing.

The writer is Director, International Centre for Climate Change and Development, Independent University, Bangladesh, and Senior Fellow at the London-based International Institute for Environment and Development.

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