Amplifying the Mitigation-Adaptation Nexus

About This Opportunity

It is important that adaptation and mitigation actions communicated in NDCs 3.0 are developed and implemented in a way that holistically understands synergies, interlinkages, and reduces potential trade-offs. The 2023 NDC Synthesis Report identified that 40 per cent link adaptation actions with sustainable development frameworks; however, only 27 per cent identified adaptation-mitigation synergies. These figures represent progress from previous NDCs but highlight the need for better consideration and analysis of the mitigation-adaptation nexus.

Reflecting the Global Stocktake

The GST acknowledges the interconnectedness of adaptation and mitigation efforts:

  • Paragraph 53: “Emphasizes that the magnitude and rate of climate change and associated risks depend strongly on near-term mitigation and adaptation actions…”
  • Paragraph 55: “Encourages the implementation of integrated, multi-sectoral solutions…which may offer economic, social, and environmental benefits…”
  • Paragraph 56: “Notes that ecosystem-based approaches, including ocean-based adaptation and resilience measures…can reduce a range of climate change risks and provide multiple co-benefits”

The following strategies could help to implement this Opportunity:

Recognizing, identifying and accounting for the presence of co-benefits:

This can strengthen investment cases by demonstrating the direct and indirect outcomes. Societal co-benefits can reduce fiscal costs through addressing health and social care issues. See also “Opportunity: Understanding Impacts and Benefits to Society.”

Promoting cross-sector approaches and integration:

This helps to consider synergies and trade-offs, particularly in strongly linked sectors such as agriculture and water, or energy and transport. See also “Route: Mobilizes All-of-Government and All-of-Society.”

Increasing inclusiveness of decision-making:

This can support the identification of trade-offs and potential maladaptation. See also “Route: Mobilizes All-of-Government and All-of-Society.”

Avoiding recovery measures that lock-in fossil fuels:

This includes prioritizing policies that support deep transformation of existing systems of production and consumption. For example, fossil fuel lock-ins cause barriers to achievement of SDGs by imposing future costs and creating diminishing returns on efforts in adaptation due to exacerbation of climate change. See “Opportunity: Exploring Sector-Specific Opportunities” for guidance on options (including how to respond to relevant GST outcomes) in this area. See also “Route: Delivers a Just and Equitable Transition” for guidance on how to ensure a just and equitable transition away from fossil fuels.

Employing urban mitigation strategies:

These often have adaptation synergies such as addressing air quality through improvements to transport and energy infrastructure. See also “Opportunity: Engaging Local and Regional Governments.”

Strengthening mitigation measures in agriculture, land use, and forestry to unlock social co-benefits and adaptation synergies:

These can be achieved by protecting and restoring biodiversity, which supports the livelihoods of marginalized groups, Indigenous Peoples, and local communities. See also “Opportunity: Exploring Sector-Specific Opportunities.”

Promoting nature-based solutions:

Country Examples

Jordan identified the need for a Long-Term Strategy (LTS) responding not only to the need for a long-term mitigation goal but also enhancing resilience and addressing important socioeconomic and development objectives. To support the development of the LTS, a roadmap and set of recommendations was developed, to form the basis of consultation and a work plan for its development. This roadmap and recommendations put forward an integrated approach incorporating adaptation, mitigation, and development goals, framing the Long-Term Vision and Strategy around a set of integrated and cross-sectoral pillars. A set of criteria was developed to distinguish between different options for actions under each pillar, to support the identification of co-benefits, allocation of funding, and to ensure alignment with other national development priorities. These enable the government to avoid mitigation actions that lead to maladaptation, prioritize climate actions that provide adaptation-mitigation co-benefits, and highlight climate actions that support Jordan’s national development by providing economic, social, and environmental benefits other than adaptation and mitigation (employment, competitiveness, social inclusion, gender and ecosystems). (Source: “Taking an integrated approach to adaptation and resilience in developing a Roadmap for a Long-Term Strategy for Jordan,” Ministry of Environment).

The State of Palestine reviewed its adaptation and mitigation actions committed under its INDC and identified co-benefits and mitigation benefits of adaptation across different sectors. Their approach focused on qualitatively identifying and describing the co-benefit and qualitatively scoring each component to distinguish low-medium-high benefits or negative outcomes (i.e., maladaptation caused by a mitigation action).  (Source: “Co-benefits of Adaptation and Mitigation Actions Included in the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) Under United Nations Frame Work Convention on Climate Change,” UNFCCC).

The Philippines: As part of the update to the Philippines National Climate Change Action Plan (NCCAP), an adaptation-mitigation nexus analysis was carried out across each of the seven NCCAP themes. This analysis fed into the development of high-level guidance on potential options for a systematic process that could be used to develop an enhanced NCCAP. (Source: “Republic of the Philippines Climate Change Action Plan,” UNFCCC).

Further Resources

Information Paper on Linkages between Adaptation and Mitigation (UNFCCC, 2022)
This paper aims to enhance understanding of linkages between adaptation and mitigation within different sectors and themes, examining synergies and trade-offs. It is framed around a review of scientific research, reports submitted to the UNFCCC, and reports funded by international organizations. It does not provide principles of the mitigation-adaptation nexus, but instead provides the context and evidence for the nexus.

Study on the role of Mitigation-Adaptation co-benefits for creating a more resilient future for all (UNICEF, 2022)
This research by the G20 Climate Sustainability Working Group explores the potential for climate policies to deliver additional benefits for sustainable development, particularly in the context of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic recovery. This builds upon a previous study that assessed the wider economic, social, and environmental impacts of sustainable recovery plans, including their influence on implementing NDCs.

Reference guide on adaptation co-benefits (World Bank)
This is a comprehensive guide to capturing climate change adaptation co-benefits generated by World Bank projects. It explains the relevance of climate co-benefits, how they are tracked, and what adaptation co-benefits are. It then goes on to outline three steps to calculating adaptation co-benefits at the World Bank: Guiding questions for task teams alongside detailed country examples are included throughout the document and annex.

Maladaptation Self-Assessment Checklist (Regilience, 2023)
Many tools provide support to plan good climate adaptation but neglect the risk of maladaptation. This checklist explicitly focuses on identifying potential risk factors for maladaptation when drafting and adopting an adaptation strategy or plan.

Impacts of climate change on fisheries and aquaculture: Synthesis of current knowledge, adaptation and mitigation options (FAO, 2018)
This report provides the most up-to-date information on the disaggregated impacts of climate change for marine and inland fisheries, and aquaculture, in the context of poverty alleviation and the differential dependency of countries on fish and fishery resources. The work is based on model projections, data analyses, as well as national, regional and basin-scale expert assessments. The results indicate that climate change will lead to significant changes in the availability and trade of fish products, with potentially important geopolitical and economic consequences, especially for those countries most dependent on the sector.

How This Links to Other Routes

Amplifying the mitigation-adaptation nexus contributes to more holistic action to address the causes and impacts of climate change. It has particularly important linkages to the following Routes. Navigate to these to read more:

Route: Aligned to the Paris Agreement Temperature Goal

Alignment of actions (mitigation and adaptation) across sectors and themes contributes to the process required for analysis and consideration of the nexus.

Route: Technology and Capacity-Building as Needs and Enablers

Highlighting co-benefits between planned mitigation and adaptation actions can demonstrate technology and capacity needs and gaps.

Route: Unlocks Finance

Clearly communicating the mitigation-adaptation nexus and identifying co-benefits may improve the attractiveness of strategies or actions for investment and may align with the broader goals of financial institutions.

Route: Mobilizes All-Of-Government and All-Of-Society

Engaging stakeholders across all-of-government and all-of-society helps to strengthen understanding of the nexus and ensure all benefits, impacts, and linkages are considered.

Support Opportunities

Support is available to countries to apply the learning from the navigator and develop ambitious NDCs 3.0.

Share Additional Resources

Contribute new guidance, tools and strategies to be reflected in the NDC 3.0.