Mainstreaming adaptation into development planning has been promoted as an effective way to respond to climate change. The expected benefits include avoided policy conflicts, reduced risks and vulnerability, greater efficiency compared with managing adaptation separately, and leveraging the much larger financial flows in sectors affected by climate risks than the amounts available for financing adaptation separately.
A regional forum convened by the Adaptation Knowledge Platform and its partners, held at the United Nations Conference Centre in Bangkok in 2010, provided the starting point for this analysis.
Mainstreaming adaptation is a multi-level process. Planning at the national level provides the overall framework within which sectoral and other sub-national levels operate. The national level is where the policy goals from long-term visions and national development strategies are translated into actions plans and budgets. Key planning interventions including applying a climate lens to sectoral plans and initiating new programmes to enable adaptation which may, for example, reallocate funds to more vulnerable sectors or regions.
Within a sector there are also several entry points. First, during sectoral policy formulation and planning, a climate lens could be applied to avoid maladaptation and to identify potential opportunities resulting from climate change. Second, during the planning stage, interventions could include specific adaptation activities. Third, during resource allocation, programme screening can be used to assess whether project proposals should include climate change risks.
Finally, monitoring and evaluation activities should be introduced to track the performance of adaptation measures and interventions. Of course the details of planning processes and capacities vary substantially among countries. Nevertheless, there are many common constraints and opportunities and thus strategies that can help mainstream adaptation to climate change.
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