The Nairobi work programme on impacts, vulnerability and adaptation to climate change

The Nairobi work programme of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) was developed to help countries improve their understanding of climate change impacts and vulnerability and to increase their ability to make informed decisions on how to adapt successfully. It is an international framework implemented by Parties, intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations, the private sector, communities and other stakeholders which contains nine areas of work.

    1. Methods and tools
    2. Data and observations
    3. Climate modelling, scenarios and downscaling
    4. Climate related risks and extreme events
    5. Socio-economic information
    6. Adaptation planning and practices
    7. Research
    8. Technologies for adaptation
    9. Economic diversification

The Work programme is linked to other related UNFCCC adaptation activities including the National Adaptation Programmes of Action (NAPAs) for least developed countries; a local coping strategies database with coping strategies and knowledge from communities which have adapted to specific hazards or climatic conditions; and other implementing and funding mechanisms.


Adapting to climate change and building resilience to extreme events such as heat waves, floods and cyclones is of primary importance especially as vulnerable people and food systems will be the most affected. Governments need to find creative solutions and alternative approaches in order to deal with these challenges.

FAO has a key role to play in assisting its members, particularly developing countries, to enhance their capacity to confront the negative impacts of climate change on agriculture, forests and fisheries. Relevant fields where FAO provides support includes: agro-biodiversity; water management; agro-climatic data; conservation agriculture; organic farming; sustainable livestock management; fishing and aquatic food production; forest management, and pests and diseases assessment and management.

FAO also undertakes specific climate change projects within countries (e.g. Bangladesh and Morocco); supports international mechanisms such as the Global Terrestrial Observing System (GTOS) and undertakes initiatives such as the Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems (GIAHS).

The above knowledge and expertise are used by FAO to support the Nairobi workplan. Specific activities include: 

1. FAO has hosted a workshop under the Nairobi Work Programme

- UNFCCC Workshop on Adaptation Planning and Practices (10-12 September 2007. Rome, Italy), ENB Report

2. FAO has made submissions to 4 of the 9 work areas of the Nairobi Work Programme

- Methods and tools
- Data and Observations (via GTOS)
- Adaptation planning and practices
- Climate related risks and extreme events

3. FAO has submitted action pledges to the Nairobi Work Programme

- Monitoring and production of strategic plans for plant genetic resources for food and agriculture based on poor farmer’s agricultural practices to climate variability (pdf)
- Pilot projects on uses of plant genetic resources for food and agriculture to put strategic plans into action to promote sustainable use and management of land for adaptation to climate variability (pdf)
- Use of tools and plant genetic resources for food and agriculture to secure implementation and management methods to enhance capacities of poor farmers to face climate change (pdf)
- Development of methods and tools related to agro-climatology (pdf)
- Farm Adaptive Dynamic Optimisation (FADO) (pdf)
- Assistance to Nigeria in assessing adaptation requirements in the agriculture sector (pdf)


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Environment, Climate Change and Bioenergy Division:


UNFCCC (2007) Background Brochure on the Nairobi Work Programme
UNFCCC (2007) Climate Change: Impacts, Vulnerabilities and Adaptation in Developing Countries
UNFCCC Website on the Nairobi Work Programme: provides submissions by Parties and organizations, reports, databases and workshops

last updated:  Wednesday, August 4, 2010