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NWP partner organizations discuss why the Sustainable Development Goal 13, “Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts”, is vital for the achievement of all sustainable development goals, and highlight priority areas of intervention.




Contributions from:

  • Sven Harmeling, Climate Change Advocacy Coordinator, CARE International
  • Karin Lexén, World Water Week, International Policy and Prizes, Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI)
  • Colin McQuistan, Senior Adviser, Climate Change and Disaster Risk Reduction, Practical Action
  • Livia Hollins, Associate Programme Officer, UN Climate Change Secretariat (UNFCCC)


August 2016:

NWP partner organizations gathered at NAP expo in July 2016 introduce the 5 things one needs to know to work with vulnerable communities on adaptation planning and implementation. 




Contributions from:

  • Lisa Junghans, Policy Advisor on Climate Change, Adaptation & Urban Transformation, Germanwatch (Germany)
  • Hindou Oumarou Ibrahim, Coordinator, Association pour les femmes et les peuples autochtones du Tchad, AFPAT (Tchad)
  • Atiq Rahman, Executive Director, Bangladesh Centre for Advanced Studies, BCAS (Bangladesh)
  • Vositha Wijenayake, Executive Director, Sri Lanka Youth Climate Action Network, SLYCAN (Sri Lanka)

May 2016:

The United Nations Environment Programme and the Global Water Partnership discuss the outcomes of the Paris agreement in terms of challenges, opportunities and enhanced role for the NWP.


Question 1: What are the key barriers to scaling-up adaptation in one of your specific areas of work?


Question 2: What are the new opportunities that the Paris Agreement has opened up for your organization in the field of adaptation?



Question 3: In light of the Paris Agreement, which support could the NWP provide to adaptation "non-state" actors to help bring their actions to a new level?



December 2015

In order to effectively catalyse and disseminate information and knowledge to inform and support adaptation policies and practices, it is important to consider the knowledge and lessons learned from those implementing adaptation on the ground. For the December 2015 edition of the eUpdate, we approached the following experts from Canada, Nepal, the USA and NWP partner Birdlife International for their thoughts on the key adaptation knowledge challenges impacting their work, and on what the NWP could do to address these challenges:  

  • Erin Myers, Senior Programme Officer for Canada's Climate Change and Health Adaptation Programme for Northern First Nations and Inuit Communities (CCHAP) at Health Canada;

  • Naresh Sharma, National Programme Manager for the Nepal Climate Change Support Programme (NCCSP);

  • Catherine Marzin, Climate Team Lead, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) (NOAA) Office of National Marine Sanctuaries, Maria Brown, Superintendent, NOAA's Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary & Sara Hutto, Ocean Climate Specialist, NOAA Office of National Marine Sanctuaries;

  • Edward Perry, Global Climate Change Policy Coordinator at Birdlife International.

Q1. What do you consider to be the key knowledge challenges relating to your work on adaptation?

Erin Myers: Since 2008, CCHAP has funded over 80 community driven research projects supporting the link between traditional knowledge frameworks and academic sciences to find appropriate and relevant health adaptation strategies to meet the issues arising from a changing climate. Over the years, a consistent challenge that CCHAP has faced is the need to constantly remind various stakeholders, whether it be scientists, governments, NGOs, funding agencies, academics, policy makers, etc., that indigenous voices need to be at the table and actively engaged in the adaptation dialogue. Their voices need not only to be heard, but understood, respected and supported as a knowledge framework, rooted in resiliency, that will foster the development of appropriate health adaptation plans and strategies.

Naresh Sharma: Nepal was the first country to officially endorse a Local Adaptation Plan of Action (LAPA) as part of its National Adaptation Programmes of Action (NAPA) framework. The aim of this bottom-up approach was to translate central-level climate adaptation plans into tangible projects on the ground, including input from vulnerable communities. However, some key knowledge challenges remain which hinder linking national and local planning:
  • Limited knowledge and understanding by technical staff of climate change impacts, and a limited awareness of climate change and its consequences amongst local and national level stakeholders.
  • Lack of adequate information and knowledge, such as vulnerability data, at the local level.
  • Poor coordination between national and local level stakeholders, and from service providers to beneficiaries, results in knowledge gaps affecting project execution and delivery.
  • Communicating the attribution of impacts and vulnerability to climate change in the local context is challenging. Climate change is often considered an environmental problem whereas vulnerability is considered a social problem.
Catherine Marzin, Maria Brown and Sara Hutto: The Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary (GFNMS) in California is pioneering the use of adaptation planning in national marine sanctuaries in order to best respond to, plan, and manage the impacts of climate change within its boundaries. The biggest challenge we've faced thus far adapting to climate change was where to begin, or essentially, which process to follow.
In partnership with the non-profit organization EcoAdapt, GFNMS applied climate-smart conservation principles and an adaptation planning process that best suited GFNMS' large spatial scale and varying habitats, species, and ecosystem services. Once a climate-smart adaptation process was designed, GFNMS focused on filling critical knowledge gaps through a series of workshops with expert scientists and management partners in the region. Key knowledge gaps were addressed by assessing the current state of resources in relation to climate and non-climate stressors, and thus how they respond to climate change, assessing observed and projected changes in the regional climate, and assessing the vulnerability and adaptive capacity of sanctuary resources to climate change impacts. Armed with this information, a working group of the GFNMS Advisory Council is now developing adaptive management recommendations based on the vulnerability assessment and future climate scenarios.

Edward Perry: BirdLife International's Global Climate Change Programme helps local communities use ecosystem-based approaches to adapt to climate change and supports governments to develop and implement policies that fully recognize the role and needs of ecosystems. One challenge to the effective implementation of ecosystem-based adaptation (EbA) is the lack of understanding of how climate change impacts species assemblages, ecological function, and the service provisions of different ecosystems in different regions, and what this means for the long term viability of various EbA measures. Another, perhaps greater challenge is the limited awareness and understanding of the role that healthy ecosystems can play in adaptation and how EbA can be operationalized in, for example, the energy, agriculture and water sectors. Addressing this knowledge gap is critical for scaling up EbA in a coherent, cross-sectoral manner.
Q2. What do you believe the NWP, in its role as a global adaptation knowledge initiative, could do to address these key knowledge challenges?

Erin Myers: Indigenous peoples are some of the worlds most vulnerable due to their deep physical and spiritual connection to an environment that, in some cases, is rapidly changing and putting communities at serious risk. Health Canada's CCHAP has learned that in order for communities to adapt to climate change impacts, planning and implementation needs to come from the community, for the community. The NWP has an excellent opportunity to support indigenous communities by taking and applying the lessons learned from the CCHAP and supporting community driven adaptation planning and implementation. Not only will it then be more sustainable and reduce harm, but it will allow communities to take ownership of these initiatives, increasing the likelihood of their success. More initiatives and support for programs like CCHAP are needed, and the NWP is on the right path by sharing information and asking questions of how to address the many challenges. Climate change impacts are very real and threatening, but by incorporating ideas and best practices from around the world, more appropriate adaptation strategies can be found to keep communities safe and healthy.

Naresh Sharma: We believe that the regular activities and events organized under the NWP provide unique opportunities to address some of the challenges we face, including effectively disseminating of the local experiences and knowledge to the regional and international level.
Regular technical workshops and meetings have provided us significant support to build on the team's existing expertise. Country level workshops coordinated with national agencies would add value in enriching the knowledge of the local staff and teams engaged in climate change related activities. Additionally, the compendium on methods and tools and documents on good practices and lessons learned have been very helpful for us to learn from others experiences. We suggest they be maintained and regularly updated.

Catherine Marzin, Maria Brown and Sara Hutto: The NWP can play a critical role in encouraging natural resource managers to take the necessary steps to develop climate adaptation plans and planning processes by:
  • Showcasing the good practices from different adaptation planning processes, from around the world;
  • Sharing climate vulnerability assessments in different areas;
  • Encouraging partnerships and participation in regional climate change adaptation efforts;
  • Bringing managers together with facilitators and professionals experienced in climate-smart conservation processes to help managers incorporate climate change adaptation into their planning processes.
Edward Perry: The NWP provides a unique mechanism for facilitating knowledge exchange and collaboration among diverse stakeholders, and across different sectors.Through multi-stakeholder workshops, forums and dialogue, the NWP can help break down the barriers between different sectors and promote cross-sectoral coordination and uptake of EbA. The NWP could also compile, streamline and disseminate knowledge products, prioritizing the following areas:
  • The impacts of climate change on ecosystem services;
  • Information and best practices of cost-benefit analysis for EbA as well as alternative approaches that more comprehensively consider ecosystems;
  • Best practices for integrating EbA into adaptation planning cross-sectorally;
  • Measures to safeguard against maladaptive practices which undermine social and ecological resilience.