Spotlight on adaptation

30 November 2011 | Blogs

Adaptation is rather high on the agenda in Durban, writes Ninni Ikkala on day three of the Durban conference. Last year's Conference of the Parties in Cancun adopted the so-called Cancun Adaptation Framework to enhance action on adaptation.

Amongst others, this framework puts forward a set of principles countries should consider when doing adaptation (e.g. that it takes into consideration vulnerable communities and ecosystems, and is gender-sensitive), it establishes an international Adaptation Committee and a process for developing countries to formulate National Adaptation Plans (NAPs).

It's likely a decision that establishes the ins and outs of the Adaptation Committee will be agreed next week - what the Committee will work on, how often it will meet, who forms part of the Committee etc. This latter point remains a main point of contention. Countries are also debating what the NAPs will look like, for example, will they be specific documents or are they rather a process to support national planning on adaptation in general?

There's also a discussion on the future activities of the Nairobi Work Programme, which develops and disseminates knowledge and information on adaptation. This programme is open to both governments and observers, like IUCN. The NWP put out a compilation of information on ecosystem-based approaches (EbA) to adaptation here. They even did a calendar on the topic for 2012 with pictures and stories on EBA! IUCN has supported the development of both, and we're very happy to see the concept of EbA gaining traction under the negotiations, and that there's more awareness on the topic in general.

IUCN has been following all of the issues described above. We are also organising a range of side events on adaptation, from EbA in mountains and islands to adaptation policies in Africa. We've also got a number of new documents out on adaptation.
 
Today we held an informal Q&A session on EbA and got into really good discussion e.g. on monitoring and evaluation of EbA. This session was part of the Adaptation Hub, a platform IUCN and over 20 organizations are promoting here in Durban to share information and discuss adaptation. Check out the website at www.adaptationhub.net! The COPs are primarily about negotiations under the UNFCCC, but also a great chance to get together and exhange views with many organizations who, like IUCN, are working to implement adaptation action on the ground.

We're hoping for movement on the adaptation negotiations: decisions on putting the Adaptation Committee into operation, future activities of the NWP and modalities for the NAPs. With ten more days to go, a lot could still happen!