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In Focus, October 2006

UNFCCC African Regional Workshop fosters good practices on adaptation

In September, the UNFCCC secretariat concluded the second of its three regional workshops on adaptation as mandated by COP 10 in its Buenos Aires Programme of Work on Adaptation and Response measures.

The African regional workshop on adaptation was held under the patronage of the Environment Protection Agency of Ghana (EPA) from 21 to 23 September.  At the workshop, 33 African country Parties exchanged information on observing climatic changes and assessing their impacts and countries’ vulnerability to these changes. Countries also shared their experiences in planning and implementing concrete adaptation measures in the areas of agriculture and food security, water resources, health and coastal zones.  Besides representatives from African countries, the workshop included participants from developed countries as well as representatives from a number of organizations.

The workshop was generally successful in fostering an exchange of experiences with good practices on adaptation, many of which can be replicated beyond their country of origin. Good practices highlighted in the field of agriculture, for example, included alternative cultivation methods, such as mixed cropping in Burkina Faso, and appropriate crop selection such as the introduction of improved varieties in Benin.

The workshop also provided for fruitful sharing of information between African participants and support organizations, be it the GEF and its implementing agencies, or bilateral institutions with a strong focus on the African region. From this, the need for enhanced access to funding and broadening the sources of support for adaptation activities emerged. Participants articulated a number of needs and concerns relating to adaptation, which will need to be taken up in the negotiating process, including the need to facilitate access to adaptation funding and promote the integration of adaptation planning into national and sectoral development plans.

Finally, a session devoted to South-South cooperation revealed gaps but also ample opportunities for further promoting such collaboration and streamlining its effectiveness. This is likely to enhance the capacity of African nations in implementing joint or coordinated adaptation activities.

The first workshop in this series of regional workshops was held in Peru for the Latin American region in April. The report on that workshop is included in document FCCC/SBI/2006/19.  A number of common concerns emerged in both the African and Latin American regions, including needs relating to access to funding and linkages between adaptation and poverty alleviation as well as achievement of the Millennium Development Goals.

Workshops for small island developing States and Asian countries will be organized next year. The results of these workshops will feed into the negotiations at COP 13 on what future action is necessary to advance adaptation in developing countries.

For more information, including agendas, background papers and presentations,  please see the respective workshop webpages:

African regional workshop

Latin American regional workshop