National Adaptation Planning: Lessons from OECD Countries
Since the first OECD country published its national adaptation strategy in 2005, there has been a marked increase in national planning for climate change adaptation. This paper provides an overview of national adaptation planning activity across OECD countries and identifies some of the emerging lessons that have been learnt from their experiences. The analysis draws on three main sources of information: a survey of countries’ national communications to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC); three country case studies (Mexico, England and the United States); and the results of a Policy Forum on Adaptation hosted by the OECD in 2012. It finds that twenty-six OECD countries have developed or are currently developing strategic frameworks for national adaptation and seventeen of those countries have also produced or are working on detailed national adaptation plans. Countries have made significant investments in building an increasingly sophisticated evidence base to support adaptation, and to build adaptive capacity. National governments have commonly established policies to mainstream adaptation into government operations and regulatory systems, and established co-ordination mechanisms to ensure action across government. Local and regional governments have also played significant roles in adaptation efforts, though less progress has been made in establishing systematic approaches to co-ordination between national and subnational governments. The development of strategies and plans has occurred recently, with implementation still at an early stage. Nonetheless, the case studies and OECD workshop revealed three key challenges faced by countries as they have started to implement their strategies and plans: overcoming climate information shortcomings and associated capacity constraints; securing adequate financing; and measuring the success of adaptation interventions. Action to address these constraints will be vital to ensuring that progress in planning translates into improvements in outcomes.
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