National adaptation plans


Initiated in 2010 as part of the Cancun Adaptation Framework, the NAP process aims to support developing countries, and especially the least-developed countries (LDCs), in efforts to integrate their medium- and long-term adaptation needs into existing planning processes.

The integration process is cross-sectoral and takes place at all levels of political decision-making, since adaptation is a cross-cutting issue that affects a broad spectrum of sectors.

With the signing of the Paris Agreement, all Parties are now required to engage with the necessary processes for planning adaptation and carrying out adaptation measures. At the same time, the NAP process is also becoming increasingly important for the implementation and verification of the nationally determined contributions (NDCs) enshrined in the Paris Agreement, most of which include adaptation targets. 

The NAP approach: a cross-sectoral process 

The NAP process defines a comprehensive and integrated national process that establishes institutions who are intended to help all sectors and regions work together to identify current and future risks, and to set priorities for programmes and policies in such a way that resilience is increased and losses are avoided.

National adaptation planning work is therefore not exclusively focused on the preparation of an additional, standalone planning document. Instead, the NAP process can be more accurately understood as a cross-sectoral coordination process that extends from political will-building and institutionalisation to the identification and prioritisation of adaptation options, and on to an implementation strategy and its verification.

In many countries, and LDCs in particular, capacities are still lacking for developing a complex and comprehensive adaptation planning process, and concretising this process in the form of institutions and an actual NAP document. In such cases, capacity-building must be promoted, innovative potential must be supported as part of a new process and specific positive examples must be created.

This is the only way to achieve a paradigm shift towards climate-resilient development. This is precisely where the existing IKI portfolio comes in: yet the primary aim here is not to finance individual measures for adaptation but to build capacities for the planning, conceptual design and completion of the NAP process. 

The IKI as a factor for NAP process implementation

Although adaptation measures are increasingly being integrated into national strategies and sector planning, and being allotted national budgets, implementation financing remains a key demand. To ensure that the adaptation measures prioritised in the NAP process can also be implemented long-term, the IKI’s NAP process funding work focuses strongly on efforts to demonstrate the economic benefit of such adaptation.

On the one hand, this aims to support investment decision-making in relation to adaptation measures and, above all, widen the scope of such investment with the involvement of the private sector. On the other, such work should culminate in the development of a financing strategy and thereby enable access to both private and public climate finance at a national and international level.

Focus on participation by local populations

The involvement and participation of local populations or those representing their interests forms an important element of the successful long-term planning and implementation of adaptation measures. Only this approach can ensure that such measures properly target the needs of population groups who are especially vulnerable.

Alongside horizontal cross-sectoral planning, the IKI is now increasingly supporting vertical coordination across all levels of government as part of the NAP process. In particular, this involves capacity-building for actors in subnational governments and local organisations as well as the involvement of especially vulnerable groups.

By supporting projects for local and community-based adaptation (CbA), the adaptation capacities of these communities are strengthened in a targeted manner. As part of the NAP process, this is then incorporated at the national level, so as to ensure the effective coordination of planning and budgeting processes at the various levels of government.

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