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Stakeholder Forum endorses SIWI's recommendations for the Nairobi Work Programme

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The Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI) submitted their recommendations on ways to enhance the relevance of the Nairobi Work Programme. The submission is endorsed by Conservation International and Stakeholder Forum.

Background on the Nairobi Work Programme
From UNFCCC.int

The Nairobi work programme (NWP) is undertaken under the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA ) of the UNFCCC. Its objective is to assist all Parties, in particular developing countries, including the least developed countries and small island developing States to:

  • improve their understanding and assessment  of impacts, vulnerability and adaptation to climate change; and
  • make informed decisions on practical adaptation actions and measures  to respond to climate change on a sound scientific, technical and socio-economic basis, taking into account current and future climate change and variability.

The NWP is implemented by Parties, intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations, the private sector, communities and other stakeholders. The SBSTA encourages active engagement of adaptation stakeholders in the implementation of the NWP under mandated programme activities and work areas. The NWP disseminates knowledge and information on adaptation, and highlights the work of partners as widely as possible through a variety of knowledge products and publications. Organizations, institutions and private sector companies at all levels and in a wide range of sectors can become engaged with the programme by becoming a partner and making an Action Pledge.

SIWI's Recommendations on how to enhance the NWP

In accordance with Paragraph 8 of FCCC/SBSTA/2013.L9, SIWI would like to take the opportunity to submit views and recommendations on ways to enhance the relevance of, and to support the objective of, the Nairobi Work Programme.

Over the years the Nairobi Work Programme (NWP) has developed into a broad platform for information sharing and capacity building on the impacts of as well as the vulnerability and adaptation to climate change between practitioners, experts, relevant international and regional institutions, and policymakers. Of particular importance has been the provision of a joint platform to facilitate dialogue between actors. In this way the NWP has played a very useful and proactive role in gathering information that has contributed to the growing body of knowledge on adaptation to climate change. Looking to the future of the NWP, there are key areas where enhanced action, further engagement, and restructuring could allow the NWP to evolve and more comprehensively fulfill its objective.

In the light of this, we would like to put forward the following ideas and suggestions:

Increase efforts to disseminate information and best practices

Additional effort is needed to enhance both the relevance, and dissemination, of information generated through the NWP. The NWP should also facilitating exchange of best practices and lessons learned. This is needed in order to inform decision making as well as implementation, thereby enhancing adaptive capacities.

Foster collaboration between actors

To leverage its position as a “clearinghouse” for adaptation, the NWP could evolve into a knowledge center, drawing on expertise from relevant partners, organizations, centers and networks outside the Convention. This would require the NWP to foster collaboration between parties, academia, multi- and bilateral organizations, NGOs, as well as adaptation practitioners. In this way, the NWP would be useful in providing specific, balanced support that can be fed into policy and long-term work within the Convention.

Bridge between global, national and local levels

The NWP could be more effective in contributing to bridging between the global, national and local levels and to build on stakeholder/expert knowledge. Although climate impacts are largely local, the work of the NWP seldom scales down to communities and indigenous groups, or scales up to issues connected to regional collaboration, engages the private sector, development banks, or UN agencies. Nor does it address implementation issues in protected areas or allow for enhanced understanding around the role of indigenous groups proactively. All of these areas among others represent essential opportunities for further work. The NWP should therefore provide support on developing and implementing NAPAs and NAPs, and provide expert assessments on project reviews for funding mechanisms. Additionally, the NWP should explore and implement wider outreach efforts to facilitate in the distribution, utilization, and scaling-up of information to practitioners. Measures should also be put in place to facilitate better alignment of action pledges.

Contribute to coherence on adaptation within the UNFCCC

Linkages towards the Cancun Adaptation Framework (NAP process, Loss & Damage, Adaptation Committee) need to be developed in order to provide information and to build capacity on adaptation within the UNFCCC. The various bodies of work under the UNFCCC include many devoted to adaptation, but represent different mandates, purposes, and audiences. The NWP should continue to play a pivotal role in educating UNFCCC Parties to make informed decisions on adaptation.

In particular, NWP is well placed to support the Adaptation Committee in its mandate to “engage with, and draw on the expertise of, relevant institutions, organizations, frameworks, networks and centres outside of the Convention”. NWP could also support the Adaptation Committee in its work to identify experts on adaptation issues, to evaluate capacities of regional centers and networks working on adaptation, as well as to provide technical support to Parties on the development of national adaptation plans.

Address the synergies between mitigation and adaptation

The mandate of the NWP to focus only on impacts, vulnerability and adaptation may result in a lost opportunity to consider overlaps and synergies between mitigation and adaptation, especially at the local/landscape level. Many avenues for mitigation and clean energy focus on biofuels, nuclear, solar, and hydropower – most of which are very water-intensive and may have indirect effects on long term adaptation or maladaptation. Further, REDD policy relies on sufficient water in precipitation and soils to retain forest carbon for decades or centuries, and has considerable implications for adaptation and mitigation options, agriculture, and livelihoods. While the Nairobi Work Programme should maintain its focus on adaptation, it is important to understand that often adaptation does not occupy a discrete, self-contained space, but rather is practiced in complex systems influenced by numerous external factors. Synergies between mitigation and adaptation at the landscape level must be considered and introduced into the NWP through an integrated approach, thereby assisting practitioners and policy-makers in making difficult decisions amidst limited and increasingly scarce financial and natural resources. Further, there is a need to further explore what the concept of adaptation contains in practical terms and how it should be monitored relative to the development context.

Water management as a cross-cutting issue

Water is a cross-cutting resource fundamental for almost all aspects of society – including health, food and energy security, environmental conservation, disaster risk reduction and industrial development. Water is also a fundamental provider of ecosystem services. Water is also the resource most impacted by climate change, and resilience and adaptation is to a large extent about water management. Therefore water resources management should be clearly addressed in the NWP. On July 18-20, 2012, the SBSTA held a technical workshop on “water and climate change impacts and adaptation strategies” in Mexico City. Participants agreed that there is “an urgent need for policy considerations on climate change impacts on water resources and adaptation strategies in the UNFCCC process”. One of the outcomes of these discussions was that there is a need to strengthen NWPs role as a platform and knowledge center for water-related matters, and as a broker between actors dealing with these issues (more).

With this in mind we suggest that water management is established as a cross-cutting issue under the Nairobi Work Programme, as indicated in the Annex of FCCC/SBSTA/2013.L9, paragraph 2 (iv)

For a pdf version of the recommendations click here.