The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) introduced the National Adaptation Plan (NAP) under the Cancun Adaptation Framework (CAF) in 2010. This was to provide assistance in national adaptation programs of action (NAPA) for developing countries.
Then in 2011, during the 17th Conference of Parties (COP17) in Durban, participants stressed the need to provide support for the NAP process. COP20 invited Parties to communicate their adaptation plan as part of Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC) ahead of the Paris Agreement at COP21. Following that till-to-date, 164 countries have already submitted their NDC and among them 140 Parties included adaptation into the submitted NDCs. It is worth mentioning that the Paris Agreement (PA) included a dedicated section on adaptations.
The Agreement created a global goal on adaptation and particularly mentioned the goals of enhancing adaptive capacity, strengthening resilience and reducing vulnerability to climate change, with a view to contributing to sustainable development and ensuring an adequate adaptation response in the context of the temperature goal referred in the Paris Agreement (PA) (Article 7.1).
It should be noted here that the Agreement stipulates that countries should put more emphasis on adaptation planning, and also requested the Green Climate Fund (GCF) to expedite support for the least developed countries (LDCs) and other developing countries for the formulation of national adaptation plan (decision 1/CP.17, para 47).
The GCF is a fund within the framework of UNFCCC that assists developing countries in adaptation and mitigation practices to counter climate change. Bangladesh has already initiated the NAP process with funding support of around US$2.66 million from the GCF and it is expected to be finalised by 2018. The overall NAP formulation process as well as the final NAP should meet the following criteria:
Utmost transparency and accountability
Bangladesh should take into account the Cancun Adaptation Framework 2010 in terms of information sharing, good practices, experiences and lessons learned in the field of science, planning, policies and implementation; strengthening institutional arrangements to support the synthesis of relevant information and knowledge, technical support and guidance; strengthening scientific evidence of climate change including the climate system and early warning systems. Moreover, it was also agreed that developed countries should inform climate services and provide support in the decision-making of developing country Parties in identifying effective adaptation practices, adaptation needs, priorities, supports provided and received for adaptation actions along with the challenges and gaps; and improving the effectiveness and durability of adaptation actions (Para 7.7 of the PA).
In the NAP formulation and implementation for Bangladesh, the PA strongly recommended engaging with stakeholders and developing or revising relevant plans, policies and/or contributions, proper assessment of the area-specific climate vulnerabilities that is fundamental for proper prioritization of actions, taking into account vulnerable people, places and ecosystems; and meaningful monitoring and evaluation of adaptation plans, policies, programs and actions for building resilience of socioeconomic and ecological systems, including through economic diversification and sustainable management of natural resources (Para 7.9 of the PA).The Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF) should form NAP Stakeholders Forum at both national as well as local level engaging related public, private, NGO, CSOs, experts and media for effective integration and knowledge sharing.
Evidence based forward looking and participatory
The MoEF has already initiated the vulnerability risk assessment and prioritisation of projects through review of the Bangladesh Climate Change Strategy and Action Plan (BCCSAP) 2009. However, this assessment should be participatory and time-specific (eg 2030, 2050 and beyond, if possible). It should also include local or area-specific vulnerabilities of climate change and should be based on the best available science and, as appropriate, traditional knowledge, knowledge of the indigenous community and local knowledge systems. An effective NAP is required for a country-driven, gender-responsive, participatory and feasible adaptation plan that takes into account the interests of vulnerable groups, communities and ecosystems (Para 7.5 of the PA). Moreover, it is also crucial for devising the proper local (district/divisional), national adaptation plan with proper prioritisation of project/programs that would have provision to suit future climatic conditions. Also, since women and children are prime victims of any disaster, gender sensitive adaptation plan and actions is obligatory.
Coherence and mainstreaming
It is important to note that BCCSAP 2009 is currently under review and is being updated. The government has also produced a Perspective Plan, the 7th Five Year Plan 2015 (7FYP), a Roadmap for NAP and finally, the Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) with an adaptation component. Moreover, each year an Annual Development Plan (ADP) is developed. The crucial factor is to ensure proper alignment and integration of the NAP with those documents and mainstreaming them with development planning so that both the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) targets could be met ensuring climate resilience of victims.
Financing the NAP
Including Bangladesh, 30% of all developing countries have included projected costs of adaptation up to 2030 in their submitted nationally determined contributions (NDCs).Around 45% of them and more than 80% of the LDCs have earmarked the process to formulate and implement NAP (GIZ, 2016). In this context, financing adaptation should be an integral part of the NAP process. A well estimated, realistic and progressive financial plan is required for proper prioritisation of cost-effective adaptation options, flow of time-bound, need-based public and private grants from international and national sources. Moreover, as one of the most climate vulnerable countries, Bangladesh should adopt the climate finance strategy for public grant-based finance. Again, an integrated financial plan for disaster risk reduction, SDG and adaptations as well. In this regard, it is imperative that Bangladesh to try to strategically use political leverage to raise funds from international sources. There is a need to enhance capacity in terms of financial management, audit and evaluation process of domestic/local systems with international standards, e.g. fiduciary, oversight, etc. (TIB, 2016).
Monitoring, Evaluation and Application of Learning (MEAL)
MEAL is the key to achieving effective adaptation actions. Furthermore, it is imperative that the concerned staff from the Planning Division, the Implementation Monitoring and Evaluation Division (IMED), the Office and Comptroller and Auditor General (OC&AG) need proper training on both climate change issues and related MEAL. Indeed, mobilising adequate resources for the assessment of project proposal as well as monitoring the implementation of climate funded projects properly will drastically improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the NAP. In this regard, existing knowledge of watchdog agencies should be considered for better understanding. Transparency International Bangladesh’s (TIB) tracking of climate funded projects has already identified political consideration in climate project approval, poor disclosure of information, weak accountability mechanism, absence of meaningful participation of the community in project design and monitoring of implementation and also lack of the citizens' friendly grievance redress mechanism as current challenges. Most importantly, following recommendation of the 7FYP, the NAP should internalise the local community independent monitoring mechanism with the application of social accountability tools such as public hearings, citizens' report card, social audit etc. and the IMED and MoEF should develop a system for participation of all vulnerable people.
The National Adaptation Plan for Bangladesh is not just a plan that is prepared for the sake of preparing it; it should be the Bible for protecting lives and livelihoods of millions of innocent climate victims. To ensure transparency, accountability, participation, integrity, equity and coherence in implementation of the NAP it should be a legally binding document for all concerned stakeholders. Reflection of the above issues in the NAP formulation has created scope for a “paradigm shift” in the country by reforming legal and policy regime as well as significant improvement of practices by stakeholders for assured climate resilience of the most vulnerable communities.
The writer is a Climate finance governance analyst; Email: [email protected]