7 August 2018
UNFCCC Expert Meeting Compares National Adaptation Goals to SDGs, Sendai Framework
Photo by IISD/ENB | Kiara Worth
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An expert meeting convened by the UNFCCC Adaptation Committee in Tokyo, Japan, discussed linkages between adaptation under the Paris Agreement on climate change, the SDGs and the Sendai Framework on Disaster Risk Reduction.

Presentations by countries and UN organizations showcased how adaptation is being assessed, measured, and integrated across the multiple frameworks’ implementation efforts, and challenges faced.

A background paper prepared by the Adaptation Committee examines the goals and indicators on adaptation under the three frameworks, noting countries’ different approaches.

1 August 2018: The UNFCCC Adaptation Committee convened an expert meeting on the theme, ‘National Adaptation Goals/Indicators and Their Relationship with the Sustainable Development Goals and the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction.’ The meeting sought to provide guidance to Parties on the monitoring and evaluation (M&E) of adaptation actions and mobilizing knowledge and experience for adaptation planning and implementation in the context of relevant international frameworks.

Convened in Tokyo, Japan, from 24-25 July 2018, the expert meeting provided a platform for participants to exchange views on national adaptation goals and indicators and related M&E frameworks. Presenters offered insight as to what is possible in terms of national adaptation goals and indicators vis-à-vis global goals on adaptation.

Setting the stage, presentations by members of the Adaptation Committee, the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) and the UN Statistics Division, respectively, highlighted: key adaptation provisions under the Paris Agreement on climate change; monitoring efforts under the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) and the Framework’s linkages to the SDGs; and work on climate change statistics as well as SDG indicators on adaptation.

Panelists from Canada, Japan and Moldova presented on how their countries understand and assess adaptation progress at national level. In Canada, the Minister of Environment and Climate Change appointed a 22-member Expert Panel on Climate Change Adaptation and Resilience Results in August 2017. Featuring members from academia, indigenous organizations and governments, the private sector, municipalities, youth, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs), the Panel was tasked with giving advice to the government on measuring progress on adaptation and climate resilience. Its findings reflect the importance of including indigenous knowledge as well as the linkages between climate resilience and areas that may be considered outside of the scope of climate change, such as poverty and social cohesion. The Panel’s final report recommends 54 indicators that are aligned to the five adaptation areas under the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change.

Only three of the ten countries to submit a NAP to the UNFCCC by mid-2018 have integrated the SDGs.

Presentations by the Philippines and Botswana shared knowledge on how the countries have dealt with adaptation challenges. In Botswana, shifting growing seasons and changing compositions of plant species have impacted the country’s agricultural sector, but, the presentation noted, measures have been taken to develop drought-tolerant crops. Similarly, the country has implemented programmes to address the changing malaria band and decreasing water levels. Key constraints, Botswana noted, relate to a lack of an early warning system, data and expertise in key sectors, which have hindered national climate change plans and resulted in an inadequate policy framework.

The meeting was informed by a background paper prepared by the Adaptation Committee. The paper examines the goals and indicators under the Paris Agreement, the SDGs and the Sendai Framework on DRR. Looking at global, national and sub-national/local levels, the document shows an increasing variety of indicators used by different sectors, funders and programmes as one moves from the global to local level. It also articulates some of the overlaps between the SDG indicators framework and those of the UNFCCC process and the Sendai Framework.

As presented by participants during the meeting, the paper notes that “countries are setting different national adaptation goals and associated targets,” undertaking unique policies and practices based on their respective Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) under the Paris Agreement. However, it emphasizes that collaboration across the climate, statistical and meteorological communities can reduce countries’ reporting burdens while enhancing the efficacy of monitoring and review efforts. Doing so requires aligning adaptation plans with the SDGs and the Sendai Framework, which can entail challenges around data, conflicting mandates of lead agencies, opposing policies, lack of standardized definitions, and gaps in monitoring, among other issues.

The paper notes that only three of the ten countries to submit a National Adaptation Plan (NAP) to the UNFCCC by mid-2018 have integrated the SDGs, but that there is existing alignment built into the frameworks. The document offers as an example SDG 13 (climate action) whose key indicators match those of target E under the Sendai Framework. A mapping of the Sendai Framework’s seven targets to several SDG targets is available in UNISDR’s presentation.

The meeting was co-organized by the UN University Institute for the Advanced Study of Sustainability (UNU-IAS) in collaboration with the UNFCCC and with the support of the Governments of Japan, Australia, Germany and Ireland as well as UNISDR. [Expert Meeting Background Paper] [UNFCCC Event Page and Links to Presentations]

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