Article 7, paragraph 14 of the Paris Agreement to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change commits Parties to create a five yearly assessment of observed adaptation to track progress and enable appropriate future commitments through the Nationally Determined Contributions and National Adaptation Plans.
No large-scale study exists that shows the types of adaptation, the spatial distribution of types of adaptation, and the numbers of people engaging in that adaptation. To address this gap, and to feed into debates about the modalities for the global stocktake, this paper proposes a new “stocktaking” approach to document the spectrum and prevalence of observed adaptation over large scales.
The four-step stocktaking approach focuses on: (a) obtaining consensus on the objectives of adaptation; (b) agreeing the sources of evidence; (c) agreeing the search method; and (d) categorizing the adaptations. By focusing on documenting rather than evaluating adaptation, the simple approach avoids some of the adaptation heuristic traps. With guidance to countries on how to operationalize, this approach could improve the transparency of adaptation data collection and analysis, ensure comparability of findings across space and time, and inform the Adaptation Communications (Article 7.10)—a prerequisite to strengthening future ambition commitments within the Paris Agreement.