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Bonn, 9 November, at COP23, the UNFCCC secretariat and UN Environment convened a side event on the Lima Adaptation Knowledge Initiative (LAKI). The event was an opportunity to review the achievements of the LAKI and to discuss further steps ahead.

In 2014, at COP20 in Lima, Peru, the Lima Adaptation Knowledge Initiative was endorsed and launched by the Parties of the UNFCCC to overcome knowledge barriers. Three years later, the initiative has been successfully implemented in six subregions, covering a total of 38 countries and in doing so, has identified 85 priority knowledge gaps.

These knowledge gaps, whether it’s the absence of knowledge, lack of access to locally usable knowledge or lack of appropriate tools and methods to process knowledge into actionable form, constitute formidable challenges to successful climate change adaptation actions.   

The event was introduced by Dr. Youssef Nassef, Director of the Adaptation Programme at the secretariat, which then allowed for a constructive dialogue among scientists, policymakers and practitioners. Dr. Barney Dickson, head of the Climate Change Adaptation Unit at UN Environment, noted the aspects of the LAKI that worked well, including:

1. the multi-stakeholder partnership between his organization, the UNFCCC secretariat, subregional entities and local experts,

2. the identification of knowledge gaps at the subregional level, and

3. the application of a rigorous and consistent methodology in identifying and prioritizing knowledge gaps.

He encouraged more actions during the second phase of the LAKI to fill the knowledge gaps discerned so far.

During the facilitated dialogue segment of the event, the panelists acknowledged the importance of the LAKI and its potential role in supporting the national adaptation planning process. In recognition of the diverse knowledge users ranging from local farmers in rural communities to national adaptation planners and decision makers, the panel recommended the use of various tools and communication channels, such as weADAPT and PROVIA to promote equal knowledge access. The panel also noted the helpfulness of the LAKI in unlocking adaptation finance by identifying specific priority knowledge gaps to initiate the development of plans to close these gaps.

Following a panel discussion, interventions were sought from the floor. Participants addressed, among others: the urgency and importance of recognizing

1. impoverished rural communities in the mountainous regions, which is often not reflected in national level data and development planning;

2. the ecological boundaries rather than human-defined administrative boundaries when selecting subregions to work with;

3. the role of traditional knowledge in the LAKI; and

4. the need to enhance the linkage between data collection and application.