Improving Interlinkages Between NDCs and NAPs

About This Opportunity

While different, NDCs and NAPs can be understood as mutually reinforcing vehicles to communicate and drive adaptation action. NAPs are planning tools through which Parties identify medium- and long-term adaptation needs and develop strategies and programs to address those needs. These detailed plans can inform the NDCs, which can act as a high-level vision for adaptation at the country level, communicating objectives, gaps, and needs. Better interlinkages between NDCs, with NAP processes, can unlock several benefits for countries. These include:

  • Adaptation-mitigation nexus: the process of integrating adaptation actions into NDCs can help identify opportunities for co-benefits with mitigation actions.
  • Achieving accelerated adaptation action:communicating adaptation priorities within the NDC can provide momentum at the national level for the NAP process and implementation of NAP activities and actions.
  • Improving the robustness of the NDC adaptation chapter: targets and actionswithin NAPs undergo a rigorous appraisal process. Communicating these targets and actions within the NDC can improve the quality of NDC adaptation components by rooting them in more structured and robust adaptation planning processes. 
  • Mobilizing funding: clearly communicating adaptation actions by articulating objectives, quantifying needs, and linking actions to finance mechanisms and finance priorities can contribute to the ‘case’ for securing financing. This may also facilitate the integration of adaptation priorities and actions into national budget cycles. See “Route: Unlocking Finance” for more strategies.
  • Reducing the reporting burden: stronger linkages between the NAP and NDC can reduce the potential for duplication of activities, efforts, and resources.    
  • Coherence across reporting activities: communicating adaptation objectives, gaps, and needs in an NDC, derived from the NAP process, can foster a holistic approach to climate action and emphasizes the commitment to addressing both causes and impacts of climate change.

Demonstrating the linkages from adaptation actions in an NDC to a more comprehensive and rigorous NAP can highlight necessary details for implementation, and thus support the case for finance to implement actions. By referencing the NAP in the NDC, this links high-level adaptation actions to the evidence and justification for their identification, and the gaps and needs required to implement.

Reflecting the Global Stocktake

The GST includes the following key paragraphs related to this Opportunity:

  • Paragraph 44: “Recognizes the increasing adaptation planning and implementation efforts…as set out in national adaptation plans”
  • Paragraph 46: “Recognizes the significant challenges developing country Parties face in accessing finance for implementing their national adaptation plans”.
  • Paragraph 57: “Calls on Parties that have not yet done so to have in place their national adaptation plans, policies, and planning processes by 2025 and to have progressed in implementing them by 2030”.

The following strategies could help to implement this Opportunity:

Determining alignment objectives:

Countries may seek to achieve informal alignment, strategic alignment, or systematic alignment (see “NAP Global Network, Alignment to Advance Climate-Resilient Development: Brief 1” for guidance on alignment framings and structures). Actors working across NAP and NDC development can jointly agree on the desired degree of alignment, articulate the desired outcomes of alignment, and understand the status of enabling factors for alignment (synergies, institutional arrangements, information sharing protocol, capacity, financing, etc.) (see “NAP Global Network, Alignment to Advance Climate-Resilient Development: Brief 2” for guidance on getting started on aligning different policy processes).

Using the NAP process to improve the quality of adaptation related information in NDCs:

By investing in the NAP process, countries may increase the availability and quality of adaptation information for use and communication in NDCs. Since the last submission of countries’ NDCs, many have progressed their NAP process or adaptation planning processes. They may use this to update and improve adaptation communication in the NDC. (See “NAP Global Network, Alignment to Advance Climate-Resilient Development: Brief 3”).

Using the NAP process to add value and enhance adaptation goals within NDCs:

Countries may benefit from improving the coordination between NAP and NDC development teams through collaboration. They could use this to increase the scope of targets and explicit recognition of the NAP process, as well as its role in implementing the NDC and new commitments based on the NAP process and its results. (See “NAP Global Network, Alignment to Advance Climate-Resilient Development: Brief 3”).

Using the NDC to communicate progress on adaptation:

A country may have identified adaptation targets but not completed a national climate vulnerability assessment. Countries can communicate the intent to complete a national assessment and that this will inform updated targets to be communicated in the NAP.

Communicating adaptation context and priorities established in the NAP within the NDC:

By completing the NAP process, countries will have identified their adaptation priorities based on the national realities of their specific climate-related hazards, vulnerability, exposure, and resulting risk. The detail provided in the NAP can clarify the basis for adaptation outputs/activities in the NDC.

Communicating adaptation gaps in NDCs:

This may include resource, technological, financial, or capacity gaps. These gaps may be related to the ability to implement adaptation action or capacity gaps that are limiting the comprehensiveness of NAP. A country could set its intent to progress adaptation planning within the NAP by expressing capacity needs.

Structuring the NDC adaptation chapter using the NAP and AdCom process as a guide:

Countries may break down the NDC adaptation chapter into sections aligned with the NAP and adaptation communication process. This can be found in NAP and adaptation communication guidance. This strategy does not require countries to also complete the NAP and adaptation communication process but seeks to utilize and align with existing guidance on national adaptation planning. (See “NAP Global Network, Leveraging the National Adaptation Plan Process for Adaptation Communications” for guidance on how to use NAP processes to prepare other national communications. The guide focuses on AdComs as a use case, but lessons are transferable to development of adaptation chapters within NDCs).

Assessing technology needs for adaptation action using information included in NAPs:

Incorporating technology needs into the NDC can support strong alignment between the NDC and NAP. This can be done through the TNA (Technology Needs Assessment) process detailed under Technology and capacity-building as needs and opportunities.

Country Examples

Suriname’s first NDC included a number of measures that contributed to adaptation and achieved resilience across sectors. Following this, Suriname adopted a National Adaptation Plan in 2019 which aimed at the integration and mainstreaming of Adaptation issues into policies, programs, activities, and development planning processes and strategies, across multiple sectors and levels. Strategies included in the NAP aimed to achieve adaptation goals outlined in the first NDC by 2029. Their second NDC in 2020 built on the NAP by including long-term resiliency goals, including an updated NAP. Suriname demonstrates a consistent approach to NDC-NAP integration, using processes and outputs from one to inform the next iteration and ensuring each national plan platforms resilience in all its forms appropriately. (Source: “Suriname’s Second NDC,” UNFCCC).

Mozambique: Facing challenges like low life expectancy and high mortality rates, Mozambique recognized the critical need to integrate national planning processes to support the development of its NAP. However, the country faced challenges due to a lack of coordination mechanisms between actors, a lack of technical capacity for mainstreaming adaptation, and a lack of climate and adaptation-related data. To overcome this, they established the Climate Change Coordination Unit and National Climate Change Monitoring and Evaluation System to encourage accountability and coordination. This has prepared the country for engagement with the National Adaptation Plan Global Support Program to gain technical expertise and guidance in the development of their NAP. (Source: “National Adaptation Plans in focus: Lessons from Mozambique,” UNDP).

Further Resources

Adaptation Actions in the NDC Partnership Plans: Opportunities for Alignment with NAP processes (NAP Global Network, 2019)
This report provides the results of an analysis of adaptation action in the NDC Partnership Plans. It encourages alignment by identifying actions that contribute to the NAP process and achievement of adaptation components of NDCs.

Adaptation Communication as an Adaptation Component of an NDC: Guidelines and Considerations (UNFCCC, 2020)
Decision 9/CMA.1 provides guidance, stressing visibility, balance with mitigation, and input to the Global Stocktake. Adaptation communications should be submitted alongside other relevant documents, covering national circumstances, impacts, priorities, implementation needs, and more. Linkages with NAPs, NCs, or existing guidelines should be considered. Types of information to include a range from adaptation priorities to gender-responsive actions and traditional knowledge.

The Role of the NAP Process in Translating NDC Adaptation Goals into Action: Linking the NAP processes and NDCs (GIZ, 2017)
The document aims to enhance understanding of how adaptation components in NDCs align with the NAP process, and how they can be used to accelerate adaptation action. It provides guidance on linking the NAP process and NDCs and includes a stocktaking exercise for parties to complete based on their progress on the NAP and NDC journeys.

(I)NDC Adaptation Components and NAP (GIZ, 2016)
This policy brief includes discussion on linkages between NDCs and NAPs, highlighting the benefits of integrating processes and what this can achieve.

Using NDCs and NAPs to Advance Climate-Resilient Development (NAP Global Network, 2016)
This paper explores potential to leverage NAPs as a process through which developing countries can implement or identify NDC adaptation priorities, and in turn how countries might leverage these commitments to adaptation in support of achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Leveraging the NAP process for Adaptation Communications (NAP Global Network, 2024)
This paper highlights opportunities for countries to leverage the results of the NAP process for preparing Adaptation Communications; however, lessons can also be applied to the development of NDCs.

National Adaptation Plans: Technical guidelines for the national adaptation plan process (UNFCCC, 2012)
These technical guidelines offer a range of options for dealing with each element of the NAP process and are based on the guiding principles of the NAP process. They are not prescriptive and are developed in a way that seeks to enhance the coherence of adaptation and developing planning within countries, rather than duplicating efforts undertaken or underway.

The Tool for Assessing Adaptation in the NDCs (TAAN)
The Tool for Assessing Adaptation in the NDCs (TAAN) is an interactive knowledge platform that aims to provide an overview of and detailed information on the adaptation content of countries’ NDCs. The TAAN collects adaptation objectives, priorities, and key sectors as well as countries’ adaptation measures as indicated in their NDCs. Hereby, the TAAN focuses on specific parts/chapters that have been dedicated to adaptation in the NDCs, which is also understood in this tool as the adaptation component.

Institutional capacity assessment approach for national adaptation planning in the agriculture sectors (FAO and UNDP, 2018)
The briefing note highlights the need to apply a country-driven institutional capacity development approach for the formulation, implementation and monitoring of National Adaptation Plans (NAPs) for more impactful and sustainable climate adaptation action. More specifically, this brief provides guidance on how to identify country strengths and needs for NAP through a participatory institutional capacity needs assessment process to improve cross-sectoral collaboration and coordination mechanisms between ministries and relevant stakeholders. 

Addressing forestry and agroforestry in National Adaptation Plans (FAO and CIFOR, 2019)
These guidelines’ provide specific guidance for national adaptation planning in the forestry sector. They are intended to be used by national planners and decision–makers working on climate change issues in developing countries and authorities and experts who are contributing to climate change adaptation and NAP formulation and implementation.

Addressing fisheries and aquaculture in National Adaptation Plans (FAO and CIFOR, 2019)
This supplement provides technical guidance on the integration of fisheries and aquaculture in the formulation and implementation of National Adaptation Plans (NAPs) and complements FAO’s

Addressing agriculture, forestry and fisheries in National Adaptation Plans (FAO and CIFOR, 2019) It aims to draw the attention of policy makers and government officers responsible for NAP planning and processes generally, as well as fisheries and aquaculture officers at country level, specifically. It collates and analyses relevant information from fisheries and aquaculture to support the sector’s ability to take part in national climate change adaptation planning processes.

Promoting gender-responsive adaptation in the agriculture sectors: Entry points within National Adaptation Plans (FAO, 2018)
Using the framework of the National Adaptation Plans (NAP) process, this brief provides an overview of the key issues to consider and main entry points for gender mainstreaming in the development of NAPs for the agriculture sectors. By ensuring that gender is mainstreamed at key entry points throughout all four elements of the NAP process, the gender-differentiated needs and priorities of vulnerable groups become clear and are more likely to be addressed.

How This Links to Other Routes

Improving interlinkages between NDCs and NAPs can strengthen both, ensuring they are technically robust, transparent, participatory, and platform priority areas. Navigate to these to read more:

Route: Technically Sound and Transparent Documents

Ensuring all national planning communications are robust and transparent can enable clear cross-referencing and reduce duplication of effort and resources.

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

The engagement process under the NAP may be more substantial due to longer development timeframes. NDC development could build on NAP stakeholder engagement, or link processes. Engaging stakeholders who participated in NAP development can lead to better integration across national planning activities.

Route: Technology and Capacity-Building as Needs and Enablers

Demonstrating and communicating NDC linkages with the NAP can emphasize needs identified throughout each process. It is encouraged that Parties are clear about what is needed and for what purpose. This may be determined in the NAP or NDC process. 

Route: Aligned to the Paris Agreement Temperature Goal

Linking the NDC with the NAP can help identify mitigation-adaptation co-benefits and areas of potential maladaptation.

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.