What makes for effective adaptation? LDC Group review of evidence

The Least Developed Countries (LDCs), from the frontlines of climate impacts, are pioneering large-scale and innovative adaptation responses. A new issues paper draws from experiences in the international dialogues and from LDCs’ national practice.

The paper, ‘What makes for effective adaptation?’ examines how the international dialogues and LDCs’ national practices are aligned, and where they clash, in influencing adaptation scope and delivery.

Even with limited resources, LDCs are striving to adapt to climate impacts. Recognising these efforts at the international level will send a strong political message to increase adaptation. The LDC Group reviewed evidence from developing countries, innovatively linking international climate decisions with national implementation. Using internationally agreed elements under the Paris Agreement to test for effectiveness, it drew learnings from successful interventions under the following good practices for delivery. Headline conclusions include:

 1. National ownership of interventions: The most effective mechanisms are domestically driven and owned, and work to strengthen national and subnational institutions and governance systems. Top-down policy guidance with bottom-up plans and a circular learning process can help strengthen adaptation planning and implementation, building capacity that enables long-term support and commitment for reliable and coherent delivery.

2. Long-term perspectives: Delivering activities over long timeframes, promoting long-term, robust climate-resilient planning and accessing long-term finance for climate-resilient investments are crucial.

3. Far-reaching interventions and large-scale rollout: Reaching more people and covering all regions are also vital. Strengthening systems, institutions and delivery mechanisms will increase a country’s ability to implement and deliver on adaptation plans.

4. Coherent and coordinated delivery: Given the interconnected and interdependent nature of human and ecological systems, effective interventions deliver against multiple international frameworks. Actions must be systematically integrated vertically between different levels and horizontally across different sectors, with decision-making authority held in the closest appropriate proximity to where the actions will be taken.

5. Grounding in social justice, inclusion and gender equality: Just decision making requires women and men who have experienced climate impacts to participate in policy spaces and in delivery decisions. Supporting disadvantaged groups and promoting social justice through social and economic inclusion are vital for reducing long-term vulnerability and delivering gender equality.

6. Strengthening local knowledge systems and improving access to technical knowledge: Communities and indigenous peoples have longstanding relationships with their environment and have built knowledge and practice by managing complex ecosystems over generations, so strengthening local knowledge systems and enabling the integration of scientific and technical knowledge within them are vital. Harnessing local knowledge on climate risk management makes actions locally relevant.

Read the paper:

What is effective climate adaptation? Case studies from the Least Developed Countries by Sejal Patel and Binyam Gebreyes, IIED

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