COP28 Event Highlights Urgent Need to Accelerate Development and Implementation of National Adaptation Plans

The hypocritical, biased and unjust climate agenda poses a direct threat towards Africa’s development, and countries should remain resilient in their efforts to defend their right to utilize oil and gas

The 3rd UN Conference on Landlocked Developing Countries in Rwanda in June 2024 will offer further opportunities to integrate adaptation planning into development frameworks

The urgent need to accelerate the development and implementation of national adaptation plans (NAPs) – crucial to strengthening resilience to climate change at the national level – was in focus at a COP28 event that brought together high-level representatives of governments and intergovernmental organizations at the initiative of UN Climate Change Executive Secretary Simon Stiell.

The event on 4 December, during the COP28 UN Climate Change Conference in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates, came amid growing concern that progress in implementing NAPs has been much too slow. To date, 13 years after the launch of the process to formulate and implement NAPs, only 52 countries have submitted a NAP: just over a third of developing countries, half of least developed countries, and a third of small island developing states (SIDS). Moreover, the number of adaptation projects implemented has not been consistent with the urgent need to address the impacts of climate change.

“The increasing speed and scale of negative climate impacts makes it imperative for us to develop and implement NAPs with urgency,” said Stiell as he opened the event. “Through NAPs, countries identify national adaptation and resilience-building needs. They also identify priority actions to address those needs.”

The event highlighted the following issues critical for accelerating the formulation, updating and implementation of NAPs, and generated discussion on ways to increase support to accelerate NAP implementation. Among the key takeaways were:

  • Adequate funding is essential for developing and implementing adaptation projects, but access to available funding remains a challenge for developing countries.
  • There is a need to strengthen national capacity to implement NAPs effectively, with an emphasis on strengthening capacities at national and subnational levels to package adaptation priorities into bankable projects, as well as for policy and project development.
  • Increased transparency and accountability in adaptation planning and implementation at the national level are essential to ensure that resources are used effectively.
  • The Green Climate Fund (GCF) should make it easier and faster for countries, especially for those that have already formulated a NAP, to access funding for project implementation. While efforts are under way to make the Fund fit for purpose, further insights are needed into how the Fund intends to implement the COP mandate of supporting countries in the implementation of the NAPs.
  • While the Adaptation Fund (AF) does not have the mandate to support NAP formulation, each project funded through the AF has a learning component that could serve as input for NAP formulation. The AF also has a funding window for regional and cross-boundary projects, and a growing portfolio in countries affected by conflict.
  • International partners should provide support to strengthen national capacity in developing and implementing NAPs.
  • Sharing lessons learned and best practices among countries can help to accelerate NAP implementation. For instance, to accelerate NAP implementation, some countries have, in parallel, developed a national adaptation investment plan, working closely with the banking and finance sectors, translating prioritized adaptation actions into investable projects.


Among the panelists at the event were government representatives whose countries have either submitted their NAPs or are in an advanced stage of NAP formulation: Mohammed bin Mubarak Bin Dainah, Bahrain’s Minister of Oil and Environment and Special Envoy for Climate Affairs; Mahamat Abdelkerim Hanno, Chad’s Minister of Environment, Fisheries and Sustainable Development; Simon Kilepa, Papua New Guinea’s Minister of Environment, Conservation and Climate Change; Maria Antonia Yulo-Loyzaga, Philippines’ Secretary of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, and Collins Nzovu, Zambia’s Minister of Green Economy and Environment spoke on their experiences and needs to accelerate NAPs.

They were joined by Rabab Fatima, Under Secretary-General and High Representative for Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States (SIDS); Mafalda Duarte, Executive Director of the GCF, and Mikko Ollikainen, Head of the AF, who completed the debate by discussing ways to accelerate support for the formulation and implementation of NAPs

Looking ahead

The upcoming 4th International Conference on SIDS in Antigua and Barbuda in May 2024, and the 3rd UN Conference on Landlocked Developing Countries in Rwanda in June 2024 will offer further opportunities to integrate adaptation planning into development frameworks. These conferences will also provide platforms for countries to share experiences and best practices on NAP implementation.

The UNFCCC secretariat will work with partners to follow up on all requests made during the event and to enhance the support available to countries.

“This support for implementation must step up now and help countries achieve their adaptation goals,” said Stiell at the event. “Collectively we have made some progress, but I want to see a world in which every country not only has a NAP, but they are on their second iteration, as we are with nationally determined contributions (NDCs – national climate action plans), iteratively updating them with in line with the science.”

This high-level event on NAP implementation elevated the conversation on NAPs, and the discussions will feed into work towards the Global Goal on Adaptation targets adopted at COP28 to build resilience to climate change impacts: for all Parties to have formulated a NAP and to have made progress in implementing their NAP by 2030.

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