UN-Habitat presents guide on addressing human settlements in National Adaptation Plans at NAP Expo 2019

Source(s): International Institute for Sustainable Development

By Leila Mead

The UN Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat) has published a guide on addressing human settlements in National Adaptation Plans (NAPs) as a supplement to the UNFCCC’s Technical Guidelines on the NAP Process. The guide titled, ‘Addressing Urban and Human Settlement Issues in National Adaptation Plans,’ was presented at NAP Expo 2019 to gauge interest in, and respond to country requests on, strengthening the human settlement components in the NAP planning process.

According to UN-Habitat, integrating urban and human settlements issues into NAPs will help countries address the needs of urban communities in their efforts to adapt to climate change. National governments will also be able to harness the opportunities of cities for large-scale adaptation impact and project development. The guide will also support urban planners and other decision makers working on climate change issues to better understand linkages to broader goals and ambitions laid out in Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) under the Paris Agreement on climate change. Thus far, 113 countries have included urban or urban-related adaptation priorities in their NDCs, with 73 focused on city-level adaptation action.

During the launch event, participants discussed: ways to leverage finance for NAP implementation; the types of cooperation and coordination mechanisms required; opportunities for cities to implement more cost-effective climate measures, scale up action and attract adaptation finance; and the need for new infrastructure, which will increase resilience and accommodate a growing urban population.

In a press release, UN-Habitat notes that the NAP process helps countries achieve more resilient and sustainable urban development, which is critical to achieving SDGs 11 (sustainable cities and communities) and 13 (climate action). While these SDGs have the greatest relevance to NAP formulation and implementation, other goals are also relevant, overlap with sectors likely to be included in NAPs and are important for urban adaptation. These include SDG 1 (no poverty), SDG 6 (clean water and sanitation), SDG 7 (affordable and clean energy), SDG 9 (industry, innovation and infrastructure), SDG 15 (life on land), SDG 16 (peace, justice and strong institutions) and SDG 17 (partnerships for the Goals).

The guide includes an annex that describes specific SDG targets and indicators relevant to NAPs in urban areas, and reflects the degree of relevance they have for formulating and implementing the urban components of NAPs. Some of these are highlighted below:

  • SDG target 1.5 on building resilience and reducing exposure and vulnerability to climate-related extreme events and target 1.a on mobilizing resources to support programmes to end poverty;
  • SDG target 6.a on expanding international cooperation and capacity-building support in water- and sanitation-related activities and programmes, among other targets;
  • SDG target 7.b on expanding infrastructure and upgrading technology for supplying modern and sustainable energy services in developing countries;
  • SDG target 9.1 on developing reliable, sustainable and resilient infrastructure and target 9.a on facilitating sustainable and resilient infrastructure development in African countries, least developed countries (LDCs), landlocked developing countries (LLDCs) and small island developing States (SIDS);
  • SDG 11 targets on, among others: enhancing inclusive and sustainable urbanization and capacity for human settlement planning and management (11.3); reducing the number of deaths and those affected by disasters and decreasing economic losses caused by disasters (11.5); increasing the number of cities and human settlements adopting and implementing policies and plans towards inclusion and resource efficiency, mitigation and adaptation, disaster resilience, and disaster risk management (DRM) (11.b); and supporting LDCs in building sustainable and resilient buildings using local materials (11.c);
  • SDG 13 targets on, inter alia: strengthening resilience and adaptive capacity to climate-related hazards and natural disasters (13.1); improving education, awareness raising and capacity on mitigation, adaptation, impact reduction and early warning (13.3); and promoting mechanisms for increased capacity for climate-related planning and management in LDCs and SIDS (13.b);
  • SDG target 15.9 on integrating ecosystem and biodiversity values into national and local planning, development processes, and poverty reduction strategies and accounts;
  • SDG target 16.7 on ensuring responsive, inclusive, participatory and representative decision making at all levels; and
  • SDG 17 targets on, inter alia, enhancing: North-South, South-South and triangular regional and international cooperation (17.6); and international support for capacity building in developing countries to support national plans to implement the SDGs, including through a global technology facilitation mechanism (17.9).


Addressing urban and human settlement issues in national adaptation plans English

Document links last validated on: 16 July 2021

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