The Adaptation Committee of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) has published its 2014 Thematic Report designed to raise awareness of the importance of institutional arrangements for adaptation. According to the Climate UN body adaptation needs to be a frontline policy for development in the face of climate change, and the issue of adapting to climate change is equally important for the UNFCCC as curbing greenhouse emissions.

The new report highlights current institutional arrangements for adaptation and explores future options to strengthen such arrangements.

The concrete measures recommended by the UNFCCC’s Adaptation Committee are aligned around four “I”s: Integration, Involvement, Information, and Investment:

  •  Integration: Integration of adaptation across all relevant institutions and departments is critical and can be effectively supported by a strong coordination mechanism so as to ensure flexibility to tailor adaptation to various sectors and stakeholders;
  • Involvement: Institutional arrangements should identify clear roles and responsibilities for the involvement of stakeholders at all policy levels;
  • Information: Institutional arrangements need to provide an environment that encourages and supports the exchange and sharing of information at all stages of the adaptation process;
  • Investments: More effective and coherent support of adaptation planning and implementation is possible if institutional arrangements ensure a focused investment that enables stakeholders to optimize strategies.

At the sixteenth session of the Conference of the Parties (COP) in Cancun, Mexico (2010), Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) recognized that adaptation must be addressed with the same priority as mitigation, and that enhancement of adaptation action and support requires appropriate institutional arrangements.

The Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Working Group II (IPCC WGII), Climate Change 2014: Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability, states that institutions provide the enabling environment for implementing adaptation actions. It devotes several chapters to institutional arrangements including needs; the role of institutions as actors in adaptation; in planning and implementing adaptation; and in providing barriers and opportunities.The report finds that institutional weaknesses, lack of coordinated governance, and conflicting objectives among different actors can constrain adaptation. However, enhancing the awareness of individuals, organizations, and institutions on climate change vulnerability, impacts and adaptation can be a starting point to build individual and institutional capacity for planning and implementing adaptation.

At EQO we believe institutional arrangements for the adoption of adaptation measures are key to ensure their effectiveness and durability, and this is why we always include this component in our working framework.