5 factors for successfully scaling up adaptation to climate change

  • 2023•04•14     Bonn, Germany


    © 2012 CIAT / Neil Palmer

    The National Adaptation Plan (NAP) Expo took place in Chile in March 2023. Representatives from the UNU-EHS and the Munich Climate Insurance Initiative (MCII) attended the conference. A previous article provides more background information on the NAP process and draws on their expertise with regards to risk assessment tools for climate change adaptation for the most vulnerable. Here are their key take-aways from the NAP Expo:

    1. Documenting benefits and drawbacks of adaptation measures is key

      Maladaptation concerns, while essential, should not be used as a justification to delay action. As climate change intensifies, the risk of doing nothing is higher than the one of making mistakes. A way forward is to document the benefits and drawbacks of adaptation measures and learn from them without further discouraging adaptation action.

    2. Building new and strengthening collaborative platforms to support National Adaptation Plan processes can facilitate actions for scaling up

      Collaborative platforms, such as communities of practice, are an important resource for countries to enhance their abilities to formulate, implement, and monitor NAPs. Innovative examples were presented during the conference including UN4NAPs and GEO4NAPs. Others, like the ECA Network, work on closing gaps on access to climate analytics and showcased their work in different sessions.

    3. Forward-looking NAPs look beyond individual adaptation measures and aim for a comprehensive approach that encourages progress in governance and access to finance, analytics and technology

      To successfully address adaptation and risk reduction, NAPs need to include transformational ambition, that lead to systemic change and progress. Linking risk management and climate action require governments to break silos to align efforts that are backed by policies, financial resources, proper assessments, and adequate technological solutions.

    4. It is essential to ensure access to climate analytic tools for all countries and regions

      Climate analytics have significantly improved in recent years due to improved databases, the use of remote sensing and Artificial Intelligence. However, access to these tools is limited in many places, and approaches that bring together stakeholder engagement and state-of-the-art analytics need collective action and important funding to be scaled up. The Economic of Climate Adaptation (ECA) framework is a good example of an open-source approach that has been implemented and improved upon by a large community of practitioners and scientists. 

    5. Financial mechanisms to address climate risks should be better integrated in NAPs

      Financial mechanisms to address climate risks come in different forms and shapes. An informed strategy that is linked to National Adaptation Plans makes a significant difference in implementation, strengthens resilience to disasters, seeks timely and adequate international support and anticipates the needs for national resources. Mechanisms include insurance products, but these are no silver bullets and need to be considered as part of a larger portfolio.