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Mainstreaming adaptation to climate change in least developed countries (LDCs)

Adaptation to climate change has become an important policy priority in the international
negotiations on climate change in recent years. The experience cited in this report on two LDC countries, namely Bangladesh in Asia and Mali in Africa, shows that although much has been achieved in terms of describing and analysing vulnerability to climate change and identifying potential adaptation options, there remains much more to be done in terms of mainstreaming adaptation to climate change within the national policy making processes in those countries. This is a challenge that all the developing countries (particularly the LDCs) will have to face as they carry out their National Communications on climate change and especially the National Adaptation Programmes of Action.

Based on this study a number of key lessons can be identified for the LDCs to bear in mind
as they prepare their respective NAPAs:

  • information on climate change impacts needs to be translated from the scientific research domain into language and time scales relevant for policy makers
  • research on potential impacts of climate change needs to be supported in-country to enable information to be improved and passed on to policy makers
  • all relevant stakeholders need to be involved, but their needs for information may vary and thus information must be suited to the stakeholder group
  • sectoral level policy makers, planners and managers are relatively more likely to mainstream adaptation to climate change into their on-going and planned work
  • high-level policy makers need to be especially targeted.

The next few years will be an important period in the general climate change policy arena
where the role of adaptation will play a crucial part. A number of issues will need to be addressed at both the international as well as national levels within the LDCs. At the international level the LDCs also need to become much more effective both in their international negotiating capacity as well as sharing ideas amongst themselves on the results of their work on adaptation. These actions will include:

  • sharing results of NAPAs with other LDCs
  • developing strategies for improving their own negotiating capacities
  • ensuring their relative needs are well understood, especially for the various funding mechanisms for adaptation
  • playing a more active role in the GEF
  • improving dialogues with major bilateral funders to facilitate the inclusion of adaptation to
  • climate change in development funding.