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Adaptation to the adverse effects of climate change is vital in order to reduce the impacts of climate change that are happening now and increase resilience to future impacts.  The UNFCCC webpages on adaptation highlight the range of issues that are being addressed by Parties under the various Convention bodies, including

Successful adaptation not only depends on governments but also on the active and sustained engagement of stakeholders, including national, regional, multilateral and international organizations, the public and private sectors (private sector initiative), civil society and other relevant stakeholders.   

A fact sheet on the need for adaptation can be found here and an overview of the main adaptation issues is provided in the boxes below.


Enhanced action on adaptation under the Bali Action Plan

The pdf-icon Bali Action Plan, adopted at COP 13 in Bali, December 2007, identifies adaptation as one of the key building blocks required for a strengthened future response to climate change to enable the full, effective and sustained implementation of the Convention through long-term cooperative action, now, up to and beyond 2012.

Most recently in Copenhagen, Parties decided to extend the mandate of the AWG-LCA and requested it to present the outcome of its work to COP 16 in Mexico.  In addition, the COP took note of the pdf-icon Copenhagen Accord, in which Heads of State, Heads of Government, Ministers and other heads of delegations stress the need to establish a comprehensive adaptation programme.  The signatories agree that enhanced action and international cooperation on adaptation is urgently required and that developed countries shall provide adequate, predictable and sustainable financial resources, technology and capacity-building to support the implementation of adaptation action in developing countries.  Funding for adaptation will be prioritized for the most vulnerable developing countries, such as the LDCs, SIDS and Africa.  

The AWG-LCA will continue its work drawing on its report to COP 15 (FCCC/AWGLCA/2009/17, contains adaptation text as of 15 December 2009) and work undertaken by the COP on the basis of that report (FCCC/CP/2010/2, contains adaptation text as of 18 December 2009).


Nairobi work programme on impacts vulnerability and adaptation to climate change
  -  Understanding vulnerability, fostering adaptation

The objective of the Nairobi work programme (2005-2010) is to help all countries improve their understanding and assessment of the impacts of climate change and to make informed decisions on practical adaptation actions and measures.  


Implementing adaptation

Decisions on implementing adaptation include Decision 5/CP.7, 2001, implementation of Article 4.8 and 4.9 of the Convention and Decision 1/CP.10, 2004, the Buenos Aires programme of work on adaptation and response measures, to assist in implementing Article 4 of the Convention.  Responding to a request from Parties, an interface on adaptation funding was developed to assist the implementation of Decision 1/CP.10 and provide information on options available for funding adaptation worldwide.


National Adaptation Programmes of Action

The National Adaptation Programmes of Action (NAPAs) provide an important way to prioritise urgent and immediate adaptation needs for Least Developed Countries (Article 4.9).  The NAPAs draw on existing information and community-level input.  A database of all NAPA priority adaptation projects sorted by country and sector is available online at the UNFCCC Least Developed Countries (LDC) portal.


Local coping strategies database

Community-based adaptation can greatly benefit from knowledge of local coping strategies. The secretariat has developed a local coping strategies database to facilitate the transfer of long-standing coping strategies and knowledge from communities which have adapted to specific hazards or climatic conditions, to communities which may just be starting to experience such conditions as a result of climate change.


Support for Adaptation

Developing countries require international assistance to support adaptation (Articles 4.4, 4.8 and 4.9). This includes funding, technology transfer and capacity building.

Funding for adaptation is provided through the financial mechanism of the Convention, currently operated by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and the Adaptation Fund Board (AFB).  Funding opportunities include:

  • the GEF Trust Fund, including support for vulnerability and adaptation assessments as part of national communications;
  • the Least Developed Countries Fund (LDCF) under the Convention;
  • the Special Climate Change Fund (SCCF) under the Convention;
  • The Adaptation Fund (AF) under the Kyoto Protocol and managed by the AFB.

Synthesis report on efforts undertaken to monitor and evaluate the implementation of adaptation projects, policies and programmes (FCCC/SBSTA/2010/5)

Technical workshop on costs and benefits of adaptation options 20-22 April 2010, Madrid Spain
!Postponed until further notice!

Technical workshop on collaboration among regional centres and networks
2-5 March 2010, Apia, Samoa


Invitation to Parties and relevant organizations to submit to the secretariat, by 22 March 2010, their views on possible further action on implementing Art. 4.8, and decisions 5/CP.7 and 1/CP.10.

Key publications

pdf-icon Action Pledges: Making a difference on the ground.
A synthesis of outcomes, good practices, lessons learned, and future challenges and opportunities

pdf-icon Climate Change; Impacts, Vulnerabilities and Adaptation in Developing Countries
December 2007

pdf-icon Nairobi work programme: the second phase
Brochure, November 2008