Efforts by UNFCCC to further link DRR and CCA

Efforts by UNFCCC to further link DRR and CCA
15 July 2010

Here is information on how Parties to the UNFCCC have been responding to this call in the context of:

  1. Advancing the implementation of adaptation
  2. Supporting the implementation of adaptation
  3. Advancing the scientific, technical and socio-economic knowledge base  of adaptation

1. Advancing the implementation of adaptation

During a series of regional workshops in 2006 and 2007, Parties acknowledged the importance of incorporating risk management and risk reduction into adaptation planning at all levels and suggested this to be done through using structured planning frameworks, strengthening the links between institutions at the national and community levels for increased preparedness for climate-related disasters and building on existing mechanisms including early warning systems. In addition, Parties agreed that a long-term perspective must be incorporated to inform risk assessment and enable consideration of the frequency and intensity of extreme events and worst-case scenarios (more info at The most advanced adaptation planning and implementation process under the UNFCCC process, as acknowledged in the paper, are the National Adaptation Programmes of Actions (NAPAs) of least developed countries (LDCs). The guidelines for preparing NAPAs call for:  A participatory process involving stakeholders;  A country-driven, multidisciplinary and complementary approach,  building upon existing national plans, programmes and policies; Cost-effectiveness and simplicity and flexibility of procedures based  on individual country circumstances. Following the identification of key adaptation needs, a set of locally-driven criteria are applied to those needs to select priority adaptation activities, which in a final step will be endorsed by the national government (see At a NAPA stocktaking meeting in 2007, LDC Parties noted that besides supporting the identification of urgent and immediate adaptation needs, the NAPA process has given rise to institutional strengthening at the national level and improved the ability of LDCs to respond to adaptation concerns in general. If you look at the NAPA database you will see that the majority of proposed measures could be classified either as disaster prevention or adaptation projects (see While it is true that the first era of adaptation was dominated by top-down, global model-based adaptation approached, the last 10 years have seen an increased focus on local and subnational knowledge and bottom-up approaches to adaptation, as seen by the NAPAs and the increasingly popular field of community-based adaptation (see the 2010 CBA Conference for examples of how adaptation and DRR are linked

In addition, the UNFCCC organized a workshop on local coping strategies and technologies for adaptation in 2003 (see 3956.php) and has since kept a database of good practices of local coping strategies, which also feature DRR ( The workshop concluded that there are different scales of action, and local, national or regional development needs that will require cooperation by different sets of actors. Participants noted that considerable scope exists for cooperation between the disaster reduction/preparedness community and those planning adaptation to climate change at the national and local level, especially in those activities that enhance adaptive capacity and coping through removal of barriers such as poverty and institutional arrangements. (see

2. Supporting the implementation of adaptation

In 2001 Parties agreed and reaffirmed in 2004 that financial support should be made available for:  Capacity building, including institutional capacity, for preventive measures, planning, and preparedness of disasters relating to  climate change,  Strengthening existing and, where needed, establishing early warning  systems for extreme weather events in an integrated and  interdisciplinary manner to assist developing country Parties,  Strengthening existing and, where needed, establishing national and regional centres and information networks for rapid response to extreme weather events, utilizing information technology as much as possible. Funding is currently through the LDC Fund, the Special Climate Change Fund and the Adaptation Fund. The latter is mandated to support projects and programmes. Many of the currently proposed projects have a strong DRR component:

3. Advancing the scientific, technical and socio-economic knowledge base of adaptation

The main avenue for generating and sharing knowledge and information on adaptation under the Convention is the Nairobi work programme on impacts, vulnerability and adaptation to climate change. The program’s objective is twofold: to assist countries in improving their understanding and assessment of impacts, vulnerability and adaptation and in making informed decisions on practical adaptation actions and measures to respond to climate change on a sound scientific, technical and socio-economic basis. The Nairobi work programme has been successful in catalyzing action and linking a wide range of stakeholders, including from the DRR community. Since the launch of the programme in 2005, 179 organizations (including intergovernmental organizations, United Nations agencies, NGOs, community-based organizations and private sector entities) have formally joined the Nairobi work programme as partners and activities have been been undertaken as seen in the 97 Action pledges from 41 organizations ( In addition, knowledge and information is developed and shared around nine work areas, including climate-related risks and extreme events (see and adaptation planning and implementation (see through workshops, reports and technical papers. For example, a workshop on integrating practices, tools and systems for climate risk assessment and management and DRR strategies into national policies and programmes was held in collaboration with UNISDR ( 4742.php). Participants recommended a number of activities to advance integration, including by  Creating an enabling policy environment, including incentive mechanisms; Improving communication with stakeholders so that the importance of integrating both DRR and adaptation into national policies and  programmes is conveyed in simple and concise messages; Adopting a pragmatic approach to managing uncertainties. Planning both for adaptation and for DRR can be characterized as decision-making under uncertainty. In this regard, it is possible to move forward using existing knowledge, information and experiences and embracing adaptive management.


Efforts to link DRR and adaptation under the UNFCCC have already moved beyond the conceptual level and indeed the potential of DRR in facilitating adaptation to climate change has become very visible on the international agenda. As a result of ongoing efforts since 2001, Parties have decided that climate change related disaster risk reduction strategies, considering the Hyogo Framework for Action where appropriate; early warning systems; risk assessment, and management, sharing and transfer mechanisms such as insurance to address loss and damage should be an integral part of enhanced action on adaptation in a post-2012 climate change regime. They further agreed that developing country Parties should be supported in these endeavours through finance, technology and capacity-building. (see While difficulties remain at national and sub-national level in integrating DRR and adaptation, UNFCCC has been actively addressing challenges and barriers, including by knowledge and information sharing and bring actors from different backgrounds, regions, levels and sectors together. Ultimately DRR and adaptation activities are country-driven and subject to national circumstances and organizations such as UNFCCC can only play a facilitative and supportive role.

For more information:
Annett Moehner
Programme Officer
Adaptation, Technology and Science Programme (ATS) UNFCCC secretariat