TWN Info Service on Climate Change (Sept13/05)
24 September 2013
Third World Network  

Adaptation Committee completes first year of work

Kuala Lumpur,  24 Sept. (Hilary Chiew) – The Adaptation Committee (AC) of the United Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) completed its work for the first year and proposed additional steps to enhance coherence on adaptation matters.

The 4thmeeting of the AC took place in Fiji from Sept 5 to 7 and deliberated several issues which included the following: coherence and collaboration on adaptation-related activities under the Convention and activities relating to means of implementation for adaptation; communication of current support for adaptation in developing countries by regional institutions and United Nations agencies; and National Adaptation Plans (NAPs) for non-LDC  developing countries, including collaboration with the LDC Experts Group (LEG).

The meeting was chaired by Vice-Chair, Christina Chan from the United States.

Coherence and collaboration on adaptation-related activities

The AC considered a number of issues requiring decision, including on its interaction with other bodies of the Convention over the course of the year; the need for harmonization of work of the AC with respect to NAPs and the LEG; and its response to issues identified by the Conference of Parties (COP) and requests from the Subsidiary Bodies. The AC also outlined specific substantive issues requiring further action, including requesting clarification from the Board of the Green Climate Fund (GCF), on its intent to obtain technical inputs from the Committee.

With respect to activities relating to means of implementation and other ways to enhance coherence and collaboration, at the third meeting of the AC, members recognised that to promote coherence individual activities of its work plan should not be stand-alone activities but rather building off other activities and began referring to them as being part of broader ‘work streams’.

One activity in its work plan was a proposal by the AC for a joint-task force on means of implementation. The proposal was to “consider various issues and approaches in relation to means of implementation, such as: monitoring adaptation programmes and projects implemented, including the funding provided and received, and providing a synthesis report to the COP; inviting a dialogue between adaptation practitioners and financial institutions on funding adaptation; improving coherence with regard to monitoring and evaluating adaptation activities.

On the last day of the meeting, taskforce member, Juan Hoffmaister (Bolivia), presented a matrix of the work streams which comprised a work stream on technical support and guidance to the Parties; a work stream on means of implementation and a work stream on awareness raising, outreach and information sharing. The AC members welcomed the matrix.

Advisory Board of the Climate Technology Centre and Network 

Members also finalised a letter in response to the Advisory Board of the Climate Technology Centre and Network (AB-CTCN) on the criteria for prioritising countries’ request to the CTCN (the operational arm of the Technology Mechanism).

The AB-CTCN’s draft on criteria for prioritising requests from countries was made available to members of the AC. 

In its response, the AC emphasised the importance of flexibility and country ownership in setting the prioritisation criteria given the diversity of adaptation technology needs and actions and the uncertainties of future impacts. As such, countries should be allowed to identify for themselves what their needs and priorities are for adaptation, rather than be limited to a few sectors.

It said the CTCN can play an important role in supporting actions identified in countries’ technology needs assessments (TNAs) as well as in supporting NAPs and processes (which may draw from the TNA work). Through the NAPs, countries will identify technology needs and priorities as they strive to address climate change in the medium and long term.

It supported the emphasis on the importance of balancing adaptation and mitigation requests from countries but sought clarity on how the CTCN will seek to achieve this balance in practice.

It would like the CTCN to recognise that countries may prioritise new innovations in adaptation and they would require research, and is pleased that CTCN recognises both the ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ aspects of technology. Such innovation, it said, could also be the result of combining traditional and indigenous knowledge with cutting edge new technologies that result in new approaches. It encouraged the CTCN to recognise that countries may prioritise both ‘proven’ as well as innovative approaches.

It also underscored the importance of both the private and public sector in adaptation. The criteria for responding to country requests should allow for and encourage the private sector, whether through small, medium or large sized enterprises, to engage in adaptation technology. However, it stressed that the public sector may play a greater role in empowering the poorest and most vulnerable populations and communities to make informed decisions about and have access to adaptation technologies.

On the design, operation and criteria of the Climate Technology Network (CTN), the AC again emphasised the importance of flexibility and country ownership. It said the CTN should be open, not restrictive, and enable more organisations to become members. It suggested that the CTN either not have a list of priority sectors.

It stressed that this will enable greater flexibility for the CTN to respond to the priorities and needs of countries, including through the TNAs, NAPs and other avenues.

It also re-emphasised the importance of balancing adaptation and mitigation as the CTCN designs the CTN. The AC also request greater clarity on the role of consortium organisations in the CTC and would like to note that most of the consortium organisations are energy-focused. It encouraged not only careful consideration of balance with respect to the CTN but also the CTC consortium.

It also liked to encourage the CTCN to share lessons learned from other relevant experiences, such as with TNA focal points, on how National Designated Entities (NDEs) might coordinate with and represent a range of adaptation expertise, particularly if adaptation is identified in TNAs, NAPs and other avenues as country priorities.

It also urged the CTCN to explore all options for finance, as it will be crucial in the CTCN’s ability to deliver on its important and critical mandate.

(On the outcome of the AB-CTCN, see TWN article at

NAPs for non-LDC developing countries and collaboration with LEG

According to its three-year work plan, the AC established an ad hoc group in collaboration with relevant organisations and experts, to work on modalities and guidelines for NAPs for non-LDC developing countries to plan, prioritise, and implement NAP measures. The ad hoc group was created at the second meeting of the AC (held in March 2013) with three members and one member of the LEG, to review the existing LDC guidelines with a view to determining their adequacy and gaps.

The ad hoc group member Hoffmaister (Bolivia) presented the proposal on NAPs for non-LDCs and to further engage and support the work of the LEG.

The proposal on NAPs finance, (having identified several areas that appear to pose challenges on financing the formulation and implementation of NAPs), is for the AC convene further work on this matter as part of the works stream on means of implementation in 2014. This is to enable better understanding of technical issues that may pose challenges to developing countries in accessing resources for the NAPs.

It suggested that the AC identify issues requiring further technical exploration, among them, meeting the agreed full cost of activities to enable the preparation of the NAP process; the procedures and/or requirements for an LDC to access the LDC Fund, and for a non-LDC country to access the Special Climate Change Fund (SCCF) to finance NAPs.

Between the fourth and fifth meetings of the AC, the Secretariat will develop a background paper on information available on these issues. A meeting will take place at the next AC meeting with representatives of the LDCF, SCCF and other funds serving adaptation for a focused dialogue in this regard.

In addition, the AC would recommend to the COP, the consideration of the role of a Global Support Programme (GSP) for non-LDCs, recognising their diverse needs and capacities in the area of adaptation planning and implementation. The GSP would place considerable emphasis on taking stock of prior and on-going initiatives; carried out by national governments, multilateral or bilateral agencies, NGOs or other institutions; to strengthen technical and institutional capacities for medium and long-term adaptation planning.

(The GSP refers to programmes developed by organizations and agencies to facilitate technical and financial support for the NAP process. In 2012, a GSP has been created by the United Nations Development Programme [UNDP] and United Nations Environment Programme [UNEP] to support the NAPs process, with particular attention to LDCs.)

Tomasz Chruszczow (Poland) in relation the task force on NAP, suggested including representatives from the GCF) and the CTCN.

Klaus Radunsky (Austria) in reference to the NAPs of non-LDCs, said this was important work but it was only at a starting point. He agreed in principle to start a task force on NAPs. He however stressed the need for a careful consideration of its scope.

Vice-Chair Chan clarified that there is no decision-making at this meeting and that Hoffmaister volunteered to capture earlier discussions on this matter so they can be reflected for the COP report.

Hoffmaister (Bolivia) in response to Austria expressed shock at the notion that work on the NAPs for non-LDCs was only a starting point. He did not want the work to be “called a new thing”. Moving this issue to next year will not send a clear message to COP.

Amjad  Abdulla (Maldives) said it’s a pity that members appeared to be going backwards on this issue.

Fredrick Kossam (Malawi) said the issue is nothing new. He said it is high time that AC have some serious thoughts about this and move this forward. With regards to the task force, he said it was in line with what was being discussed.

Luke Daunivalu (Fiji) said the proposal sets a good platform. He noted that the discussions had started at the first meeting of the AC. The AC had gone beyond the timeframe set particularly on NAPs for LDCs and non-LDCs.

Sumaya Ahmed Zakieldeen (Sudan) said that for the sake of advancing NAPs in Warsaw (venue of COP19), the AC needed to conclude on this item.

Quamrul Chowdhury (Bangladesh) said NAPs is very important for developing countries and they had been waiting for this piece of work for months. He said there seemed to have a great degree of convergence to be flagged in report to the COP and members can come back to it at the next meeting on some minor things to be modified.

Radunsky (Austria) suggested amending the paragraph on GSP to one with a clear language and not as ambiguous which could be interpreted as supporting GSP for non-LDCs. He said this would make the task simpler for the COP or otherwise, it will end up in lengthy discussions. He also wanted the scope of work of the taskforce and the placeholder for other elements to be deleted. On the composition of the taskforce, he wanted three members from the AC.

Hoffmaister (Bolivia) hoped that members realised the magnitude of the taskforce which will be working in coordination with the LEG.

Following the interventions, the AC agreed on the proposal for establishing a task force mandated to serve as the panel within the AC that continuously looks at issues related to NAPs; to liaise with the LEG in support of their of work in relationship to NAPs in LDCs; to identify opportunities where activities can also be employed by non-LDCs; to follow-up on the operationalization modalities identified for the support of non-LDC NAPs under the guidance of the Chair of the AC; and to report to the AC at every meeting with issues identified and proposed activities to support the NAP process for all eligible developing countries.

The next meeting was decided to be held from Mar 4 to 6, 2014 in Bonn.