African government representatives gather to focus on long-term plans for climate change adaptation

14 Apr 2014

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Climate change adaptation is the focus of high-level regional training and knowledge exchange in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia this month. African government ministerial representatives from more than 30 least developed African countries are meeting to consider National Adaptation Plan (NAP) requirements, which aim to address the long–term climate change challenges for Africa.

A newly released report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says climate change and extreme events mean "people are going to become more vulnerable to sinking deeper into poverty" in regions like Sub-Saharan Africa.

“Climate change is likely to increase development challenges among least developed countries (LDCs) particularly in Africa and undercut the gains already made in these countries. The economic and social costs are likely to be substantial in many critical areas – such as food security, livelihoods, health, access to safe water and infrastructure,” said H.E. Ato Kare Chawicha, State Minister of Environment Sector, Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government of Ethiopia.

“With this in mind, country-specific National Adaptation Plans are extremely important to support ongoing development processes in least developed African countries.”

A meeting of 15 English-speaking African LDCs  will be held from 14-17 April 2014, followed closely by a meeting of 19 French-speaking African LDCs  from 21-24 April 2014, at the United Nations Conference Centre (UNCC) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

“To support countries to address these long-term development challenges, we are bringing together delegates from ministries of environment, planning and finance from more than 30 LDCs from Africa to help to advance their NAP processes,” said Ermira Fida, Head, GEF Climate Change  Adaptation Unit, United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).

“The NAP process is viewed by African LDCs as a vehicle for moving their adaptation agenda forward and coping with the challenges that Africa is facing today. As the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fifth Assessment Report and UNEP Africa Adaptation Gap Technical Report both state, climate change is already affecting food production and is likely to increase the number of people at risk of hunger in Africa.”  

The NAP process aims to identify medium- and long-term climate adaptation needs and to mainstream these needs into national development planning processes and strategies. These meetings are convened by the National Adaptation Plan Global Support Programme (NAP-GSP) – which is coordinated by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and UNEP – together with other UN partners and collaborating organisations, with support from the Least Developed Countries Fund (LDCF) of the Global Environment Facility (The GEF). The Global Water Partnership (GWP) – a NAP-GSP partner – is collaborating closely to support these meetings.

The NAP-GSP is assisting LDCs to identify technical, institutional and financial needs to integrate climate change adaptation into ongoing medium and long-term national planning and budgeting. Currently, 26 LDCs from Africa, Asia and the Pacific have requested support for their NAP process.

“These meetings will support countries to gain a better understanding of the technical issues, strategies, steps, tools and options presented in the National Adaptation Plan process,” said Pradeep Kurukulasuriya, Head, Climate Change Adaptation and Senior Technical Advisor - Adaptation (Global), UNDP-GEF.

“We are also providing specific country-level support, building on ongoing and complementary adaptation initiatives, through our partner agencies and in association with national governments.”

Keynote speakers in the opening session at the UNCC on 14 April 2014 are H.E. Rhoda Peace, Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture, African Union, and H.E. Ato Kare Chawicha, State Minister of Environment Sector, Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government of Ethiopia.
Further information:

Esther Lake – Knowledge Management Specialist, UNDP-GEF / UNEP NAP-GSP – esther.lake@undp.org
    www.undp-alm.org/nap-regional-training-workshops-african-ldcs