Scaling up Climate Ambition on Land Use and Agriculture through Nationally Determined Contributions and National Adaptation Plans (SCALA) 

Emerging challenges and solutions in National Adaptation Plans from NAP Expo 2022



November 2022 - Climate change undercuts food security, poverty reduction, and sustainable development goals across the world. Countries are taking the necessary steps to better arm their sectors with the capacity, technologies and financial resources to adapt to climate change. Three months before global attention was focused on the annual UN Climate Change Conference, COP27, stakeholders gathered in Gaborone, Botswana at NAP Expo 2022 to focus on adaptation planning through the National Adaptation Plan (NAP) process.

Established under the Cancun Adaptation Framework and re-emphasized in the Paris Agreement, the NAP process is a key means for countries to identify medium- and long-term adaptation needs and develop approaches to meet those needs. Developing a NAP involves climate risk analysis, participatory stakeholder consultation and prioritization of adaptation actions to safeguard important economic sectors, such as agriculture and land use. To bring adaptation priorities to scale, countries are moving from NAP planning and formulation to implementation.

But what does enhancing adaptive capacity and strengthening resilience look like in practice? How do challenges and barriers hinder a country’s ability to successfully adapt? What are the key elements of successful adaptation planning and implementation? In August 2022, the SCALA programme joined over 400 climate change adaptation experts, government representatives and UN partners, scientists, and private sector actors gathered at the NAP Expo, to share and learn about experiences with the NAP process.


Despite contributing the least to global warming, developing countries often face the harshest consequences on their economies and communities from the impacts of climate change. With countries at different stages of formulation and implementation of their NAPs, practitioners have a wealth of knowledge on major challenges that developing countries are facing, as well as lessons learned and solutions to accelerate progress.

Many countries face challenges around cross-sectoral and multi-level coordination for NAP formulation and implementation. This leads to gaps in the engagement of all necessary stakeholders in the planning process but also as implementing actors. Solutions to overcome these challenges can include raising more awareness, conducting capacity-building workshops and increasing coordination between and within government institutions, academia, non-governmental organizations, and private sector in planning processes.

There is a long process for countries to apply for and receive climate funding. To accelerate technical and financial support for NAPs, climate finance institutions such as Green Climate Fund (GCF), Global Environmental Facility (GEF) and Adaptation Funds are starting to explore how they can work together and streamline reporting frameworks, allowing countries to make use of the synergies between the funds to optimize their national processes to access funding. Another way to support countries in de-risking and increasing access to finance is through the SCALA programme Private Sector Engagement Facility. The facility was featured during NAP Expo, and it will draw on tools, emerging lessons and partnerships development under the programme to foster stronger partnerships between public and private sector actors. So far, 9 least developing countries (LDCs) expressed interest for support.

There is a limited baseline of climate data and evidence. For LDCs, it’s clear that climate scenarios need to incorporate social and economic variables. To overcome this challenge, stress testing can fill this gap by exploring the unexpected and cascading impacts of climate change, while considering socioeconomic and political factors as well. Solutions featured at NAP Expo included using geospatial, open data and innovative tools, such as the LEG’s Open NAP Initiative. These tools are designed to mobilize the most inputs from available actors and stakeholders to support the LDCs and other interested developing countries, in the development of their NAP. Additionally, FAO and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) discussed the latest tools for improving the climate science basis for GCF-funding and other project proposals to support NAP. WMO and GCF presented their Climate Science Information for Climate Action resource pack and a toolkit on “Developing the Climate Science Basis for Climate Action”.      


The FAO-UNDP SCALA programme, funded by the International Climate Initiative (IKI), organized a parallel session on developing step-by-step guidance on transformative approaches to NAP implementation in the agriculture sectors, shedding light on one of the NAP Expo themes, “transformations to adapt”.

The hands-on SCALA session illustrated concrete approaches for countries to move from planning climate action to the implementation phase. The programme presented a guidance toolkit for country planners, already tested in SCALA countries, to help identify opportunities for transformative approaches to NAP implementation in the agriculture and land use sectors through participatory, multi-stakeholder processes. Session participants provided valuable feedback, which will be integrated into the guidance toolkit ahead of its publication for a global audience in 2023.

Five SCALA partner countries have submitted their NAP to the UNFCCC (Colombia, Costa Rica, Cambodia, Nepal, and Ethiopia). Mindful of the financial, technical, and capacity needs of developing countries, the SCALA programme is supporting partner countries to translate their NAPs and nationally determined  contributions (NDCs) into actionable and transformative climate actions. The programme’s approach is based on four key intervention areas that will strengthen NDC and NAP governance for transformative land use and agriculture climate action.


Editor’s note:

The seventh global NAP Expo “Transformation to Adapt” was held between 22 to 26 August 2022 in Gaborone, Botswana, under the umbrella of the Botswana Global Adaptation Week, as the first of its kind in Africa, with the objective of pursuing a transformational agenda that seeks to promote digitization as part of resilience building of systems and processes including use of data to inform decision-making.