German climate finance / Implementation of climate finance

Poverty orientation and civil society participation in national adaptation plans (NAP)

The most vulnerable must benefit from National Adaptation Plans (NAP). Photo: F.Schultze, Brot für die Welt

Climate change is causing increasing social and economic damage that will require significant additional adaptation measures on the part of countries in the global South in particular, hampering the realization of development goals. Climate risk management and climate change adaptation must be systematically planned, implemented and integrated into local, regional and national policy to ensure that risks are identified early on and prevented, mitigated and offset to the greatest extent possible. To this end, numerous developing countries are drawing up national adaptation plans (NAPs) under the Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the Paris Agreement.

A human rights approach to NAPs

A poverty-oriented and human rights-based development approach as advocated by civil society organizations gives rise to the following requirements for national processes and consultation leading up to the development of NAPs:

  1. The NAP process must include a human rights audit to ensure that human rights standards (the rights to food, water, etc.) are guaranteed and human rights principles (participation, empowerment, non-discrimination, equality, transparency, accountability) are respected.
  2. A human rights-based understanding of vulnerability requires that not only vulnerable sectors or regions, but also vulnerable population groups are identified in the context of vulnerability and risk analysis.
  3. The inclusion and involvement of the people or its representatives is the third key element that can be derived. True civil society participation must apply to the entire planning process and moreover to ensure that potentially vulnerable groups – i.e. indigenous people, minorities and women – are not excluded.

In its human rights guidelines, the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) also states requirements that apply to climate-related projects and programs realized on the BMZ’s behalf:

  1. Review of human-rights risks and impacts
  2. Respect for human-rights standards and principles
  3. Identification of the most vulnerable groups
  4. Prioritization of protection and promotion of the most vulnerable groups

GIZ support in national NAP processes

The German government is a major donor that supports NAP processes. For example, Germany finances the NAP Global Network that brings together international and national stakeholders and promotes technical communication. The German Association for International Cooperation (GIZ) provides comprehensive consultation and training services to support developing countries in their adaptation planning (including NAPs) on behalf of the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and the Federal Ministry for Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety (BMUB). The GIZ is also a key player in consultation and support for national NAP processes, offering a variety of tools and materials, direct support and involvement in international networks. The GIZ takes part in initiatives such as the NAP Global Support Program (NAP-GSP) to provide financial support for NAP development to the poorest countries through the Least Developed Countries Fund (LDCF), as well as other developing countries through the Special Climate Change Fund (SCCF). Together with others, the GIZ developed the NAP country-level training approach. As of June 2016, such courses had been held in 18 countries. With these training programs and other measures, the GIZ supports developing countries in building organizational, methodical and technical expertise in the NAP process. In addition, the GIZ places particular emphasis on the mainstreaming of adaptation within state development and budget planning (NAP Align) and the inclusion of existing adaptation capacity in countries in the course of the NAP process to mobilize synergies and avoid redundancies (SNAP Tool – Stocktaking for National Adaptation Planning).

As an implementing entity, the GIZ is active in the NAP process in a variety of forms in a number of countries on behalf of the BMZ and BMUB. It supports NAP processes in Togo, Cambodia, Albania and Tanzania as part of the sector program. BMZ-funded projects also exist in Mauritania, Madagascar and Morocco. Thailand and Benin are supported via the BMUB. In addition, the GIZ is involved in a number of countries via the NAP Global Support Program or in the provision of individual support. The following map provides an overview of the countries in which the GIZ is involved in NAP processes.

In researching the country processes, it became clear that only three countries had submitted plans as of October 2016, and that little has been published about the ongoing processes. Nevertheless, some country examples can be highlighted:

Example: Cambodia

In 2014, the GIZ performed a national stocktaking in Cambodia together with the NAP Global Support Program. Following this, the GIZ agreed to provide further consultation on the NAP process to support its implementation. The report on the GIZ stocktaking mission occasionally mentions vulnerable groups and involves them – for example, in the description of the situation, the proposed measures and gender-parity involvement of the stakeholders – but a systematic focus on most vulnerable groups is not discernable. The situation is similar with regard to Cambodian civil society participation. The responsibilities for the NAP process have mainly been stated at the ministerial level and reveal a top-down approach. Stakeholder consultations are proposed only for the start of the implementation – first for the formulation of priority measures, and a second consultation in the medium term to review the implementation.

Example: Thailand

In Thailand, the GIZ is supporting the Thai government in its NAP process in a project (Risk-NAP) from 2015 to 2019 financed by the International Climate Initiative (ICI). An interesting point here is that the risks that climate change poses for Thailand were explicitly chosen as a starting point and that one of the first measures to be carried out was a risk analysis. But it does not extend to a population-centered approach that specifically identifies the most vulnerable groups.

The agenda of the Adaptation Futures Conference co-organized by the GIZ in May 2016 included the evaluation of experiences from previous NAP processes. Many countries reported major challenges in coordinating the implementation of adaptation measures between different sectors and levels (i.e. national, local). Possible solutions that were discussed included involving the private sector and local communities and implementing pilot projects that can be expanded subsequently on a learning-by-doing basis. A consistent focus on a human-rights approach was also not apparent here, however.

Conclusion and recommendations

On the positive side, it is worth noting is that the GIZ places great value on advising the NAP processes and offers numerous relevant services. The GIZ clearly recognizes the importance of capacity development and provides a wide range of services here as well. It addresses vulnerability as a key issue, but not using a human rights approach and with only limited focus on vulnerable groups and their active participation in the process. Most NAP processes and the methodologies employed do not address the requirements of a human rights-based approach consistently.

Based on the results of this analysis, we recommend the following:

  • The BMZ, BMUB, GIZ and KfW should work toward the consistent application of a human rights-based approach in supporting the NAP process. Particularly vulnerable population groups must be clearly identified at the outset of planning, appropriately involved in the planning process and prioritized when implementing measures.
  • The GIZ should approach civil society organizations, specialist organizations with proven expertise in human rights and participation issues, as well as community-based organizations, to explore the potential of cooperation in the NAP process in countries which it provides NAP advisory services. This could promote early civil society involvement in the NAP process and a focus on the most vulnerable populations.
  • International civil society organizations and their networks should take a more active role in NAP processes, as the involvement and participation of the population or their interest groups is a key element of consistently successful planning and implementation of adaptation measures.

Further reading: A complete analysis can be found in the German publication “Klimapolitik im Faktencheck: Armutsorientierung und Bürgerbeteiligung in der Nationalen Anpassungsplanung (NAP)”, Brot für die Welt Analyse 62

Christine Lottje
Thomas Hirsch / Climate & Development Advice
Sabine Minninger / Brot für die Welt