TWN Info Service on Climate Change (Mar13/05)
28 March 2013
Third World Network

UNFCCC’s Adaptation Committee takes first steps in work programme implementation

Bonn, March 28 (TWN*)- The second meeting of the Adaptation Committee (AC) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) met in Bonn, Germany from 5-8th March, 2013.

The AC went through ten items on its agenda from the three year work-plan, which was agreed to at its first meeting last year in August in Bangkok, Thailand.

The Committee also discussed two additional items: a submission to the work programme on ‘Long-Term Finance’ and the establishment of an annual adaptation forum. Other more controversial items addressed included designing a workshop on monitoring and evaluation of adaptation activities and work towards developing guidelines and modalities for developing countries that are not LDCs to develop national adaptation plans (NAPs).

Long-term finance work programme

In response to an invitation from the 18th meeting of the Conference of Parties in Doha last year to contribute views to the work programme on long-term finance, the AC drafted a submission of views on long-term finance.

A proposal was put forward by Juan Hoffmaister (Bolivia), during the opening discussion, with views on the adequacy, coherence, and responsiveness of the financial mechanism to requests by countries.

There was also a listing of elements for further consideration by the co-chairs of the long-term finance work programme framed as questions, including on delivery methods, eligibility criteria, measurement, reporting and verification (MRV) of finance, and sources of finance for adaptation. There was some disagreement regarding whether or not to pose questions to the long-term finance work programme within the submission.

Klaus Radunsky (Austria) felt that it would be good to have consultations and a further exchange of views through face-to-face meetings or via webinar.
Quamrul Chowdhury (Bangladesh), expressed that questions could be raised if done in a serious and helpful manner. He noted that some of the  interactions during the long-term finance work programme last year could not get sufficient answers; hence the need to explore unanswered questions.

The Chair, Margaret Mukahanana-Sangarwe (Zimbabwe) recommended that a submission, based on the initial exchange by the AC, should have the following: it should note the Convention provisions as an introduction, emphasize the importance of long term finance for adaptation, look at the issue of investigating the cost of adaptation (not figures, but more broadly), investigate on what has been there so far with adaptation finance and identify gaps and challenges.

Hoffmaister (Bolivia) was tasked by the Chair, to facilitate the work during the session and a small group met several times during the four days of the meeting to develop a submission.

The Committee adopted by consensus the revised proposal as prepared by the smaller group, which underscored several issues for consideration by the long term finance work programme, including enhancing coherence of finance, assessing delivery methods and sources, and exploring pathways to mobilizing long term finance for adaptation, specifically.

Annual Adaptation Forum

The Committee decided that the first annual Adaptation Forum would be held during COP 19 in Warsaw (to be held in November 2013), and elaborated two initial options for this first event.

The first option involved having one developing and one developed country present their experience with an extreme weather related event that is linked to climate change and the impacts and responses to it. The second option established a more general structure with keynote presentations, panel discussion and closing remarks, and would include Parties, relevant organisations, the scientific community, and other experts. The Committee will agree to a concept note for the first forum at its next meeting.

Some representatives from some developing countries were concerned that this approach would result in comparing developing countries with developed countries without considering their inherent differences, while also avoiding focus on raising the profile of adaptation under the Convention and enhancing adaptation activity.
Hoffmaister (Bolivia) expressed concern over the possibility of the Committee picking case studies highlighted at a high level type of setting can create some problems. There was need to think more about what the contribution of this forum is, beyond information sharing in order to avoid it becoming like just a large side-

event, he added.

Sumaya Ahmed Zakieldeen (Sudan) said that her understanding of the forum was  different and was not necessarily targeting ministers. The timing of the forum during the meeting was key because it could overlap with negotiations during the final days of the COP, becoming difficult to attend for both ministers and technical negotiators, she added. 

The Committee agreed that the forum is to be held during the high level segment of the COP and further details will be presented at the next meeting of the AC in June on the 2013 Adaptation Forum. It also agree to consider a more systematic proposal for consideration at COP19 on how the Adaptation Forum could be structured from COP20 onwards, mindful that the COP19 would have raising the profile of adaptation as a key goal.

Workshop on monitoring and evaluation

The Committee discussed a workshop on the monitoring and evaluation of adaptation and scheduled it as a three-day workshop to be held either immediately before or after their fourth meeting in Fiji in September. Differences initially emerged as to the focus and scope of the workshop; whether to address the issue of monitoring and evaluating support of adaptation activities or to focus solely on implementation.  The AC decided to establish a breakout group and tasked them to advance workshop details, including on the list of participants, use of technologies for broader participation, scope, focus, target audience, and workshop agenda for consideration at the third meeting.

Three framing questions were developed and after concerns were raised by developing country members of the committee about the third question, (which they felt misappropriated the role of monitoring and evaluation), the following was agreed to:

1) How can results from monitoring and reporting be reported and disseminated so as to ensure that they are fed back into the respective adaptation process but also to allow for lessons learned and good practices identified to be shared with the wider community of adaptation planners and practitioners?

2) How can a framework be created that links individual assessments [of monitoring and evaluation of adaptation], with national level assessments to broaden the focus from the means of achieving outcomes (individual interventions) to the desired end result (countries’ becoming less vulnerable and having more adaptive capacity)?

3) Given the diverse set of indicators to measure and evaluate adaptation that are currently used, how can communities, countries, development and adaptation agencies build a common understanding of success in achieving adaptive capacity, reductions in vulnerability, and resilience?

NAPs for non-LDCs

The Committee worked towards developing a process to support non-LDC developing countries in developing national adaptation plans (NAPs) through developing modalities and guidelines.

Hoffmaister (Bolivia) presented a draft of the terms of reference (TOR) for an ad hoc group on modalities and guidelines for NAP for non-LDC, which included the scope of the material to be considered by the group and the expected outcome of the work.

A subgroup co-facilitated by Clifford Mahlung (Jamaica) and Hoffmaister reviewed the draft TOR and provided revisions for clarifying the purpose of the group, how the AC will deal with the matter, and a request for the group to consider the overall coherence of the NAPs guidelines and modalities for support.

Though the work programmed approved by the COP indicated that the AC at its second meeting will “establish an ad hoc group, in collaboration with relevant organizations and experts, to work on modalities and guidelines for national adaptation plans for non-LDC developing country Parties,” the Committee agreed that work should for now focus on assessing the need for changes to existing NAP guidelines developed for LDCs.

Quamrul Chowdhury (Bangladesh) expressed that non-LDCs could not go straight into a NAP because they required taking more steps to be able to apply its modalities and guidelines.

The Chair requested that three committee members instead work through existing guidelines written for LDCs to first establish that there is a need for new guidelines for non-LDC developing countries. Hoffmaister (Bolivia) however noted that this would be a dramatic reinterpretation of the AC’s mandate from the COP, which tasked them with establishing an ad hoc group, in collaboration with relevant experts and organisations, to work on modalities and guidelines rather than to engage in an internal review of existing guidelines for LDCs.

Enhancing coherence
The Committee also worked on how to enhance coherence and collaboration on adaptation under the Convention. This group was facilitated by Luke Daunivalu (Fiji), who expressed that the sub-group working on this shared the view of the importance of getting the Convention "adaptation house" in order with respect to coherence, before reaching out to build coherence with other bodies that deal with adaptation. The importance of leading was also emphasised, and not trailing behind other adaptation issues. The strengthening of coherence as it relates to the means of implementation was also stressed.

In the discussion, the need to establish collaborative links with other UNFCCC bodies, such as the Technology Executive Committee (TEC), Climate Technology Centre and Network (CTCN), Standing Committee on Finance (SC), Least Developed Countries Expert Group (LEG), Consultative Group of Experts (CGE), Green Climate Fund, and long-term finance work programme was discussed.

Technology and adaptation was viewed as particularly important, and the need to nominate an AC member to the CTCN Advisory Board and to contribute to the TEC’s roadmap activity was highlighted.

The Committee also discussed methods for streamlining the work on the three year work-plan in order to accomplish the broader goals of raising the profile of adaptation under the Convention and advancing its work. Chairs of other relevant groups under the Convention will be invited to the third meeting of the AC this June in Bonn in order to further discuss coherence and collaboration.

A small group of AC members will give the matter further consideration over the intersessional period to identify concrete proposals, including recommendations for updating the AC workplan based on COP 18 decisions, for consideration by the AC at its next meeting.

Invitation to relevant institutions

The AC discussed a template invitation to relevant regional institutions and UN organisations to communicate their current support for adaptation in developing countries, including in relation to capacity building, including of national institutions.

It was decided that the AC would finalize the template before its third meeting in Bonn, scheduled for June, based on inputs received at this meeting. As well as revising the template, the AC will draft modalities for issuing the call for submissions by its third meeting. The call will be issued in the third quarter of 2013.

Elements of the draft template presented include: objectives; scope of support; consistency of this support with the Cancun Adaptation Framework; details of sources and delivery of support; details of beneficiaries and participants; and status of projects and programmes. These activities move the AC closer to achieving better collaboration with the finance, technology, and LDC related bodies under the Convention in order to address the current gaps in adaptation work.


The Committee established a small working group to move work on creating an overview report and periodic thematic reports on a list of key themes suggested to the COP at the 19th session, as well as responding to specific requests from the COP on an on-going basis. They decided that the overview report would be released at COP 20 in 2015 and that periodic reports will be annual, thematic, and responsive to demands that may arise from COP decisions.

The working group will work to develop the first periodic report in collaboration with the secretariat, which will focus on coherence under the Convention. The group will also develop terms of reference and recruit members for a larger group of people who will be in charge of developing the overview report for 2015, to be finalised at its third meeting. The Committee discussed a range of options for the thematic reports, including using them as an opportunity to respond to possible clarification or research the COP might need or address linkages between adaptation and certain sectors such as water and food.


The Committee discussed the need for and general guidelines of a potential database or clearinghouse for information on national adaptation planning. They discussed how adaptation information is vast and disorganised and could benefit from UN coordinated information. They elaborated the desired functions, potential audience, and process for developing such a database and requested the Secretariat review existing databases and clearinghouses to determine gaps that could be filled by the AC.

The members agreed that the next meeting (3rd meeting) of the AC will be held after the 38th meeting of the Subsidiary Bodies in June. The following meeting (4th Meeting) will take place in early September in Fiji and will be organised in tandem with the workshop on monitoring and evaluation of adaptation.

(*With inputs from Graham Reeder and Nathan Thanki, College of the Atlantic, U.S)