ADP Contact Group – Focus: Adaptation – Bonn Intersessions

By Navam Niles

Note: Presentations are available under the title ADP 2.5 – contact group on Bonn 3 Adaptation. Find here.


Bangladesh noted that adaptation and mitigation are interconnected but there are different ways of tackling such issues. There is a need focus on adaptation now. Already, LDGs have completed their National Action Plans for Adaptation (NAPAs), now National Adaptation Plans (NAPs). However, the main challenge concerning mitigation will be finance. However, it noted, that institutions to manage the process were lacking. Moreover, Bangladesh suggested it would handle mitigation first and then adaptation, and if there is a correlation, then handle them separately.

Concerning Loss and Damage (L&D), I noted that slow onset of events need to be addressed right now. Moreover, Bangladesh suggested that the Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC) document, revisit the second part of adaptation and try to develop a baseline and global figures for global financial commitments.

It also noted that while adaptation and mitigation are connected, the IPCC itself has noted that if the world stops emitting now, emissions will increase over the coming years. Therefore, there is a pressing need to consider time-bound outlines concerning adaptation. In addition, the discussion on adaptation must be linked with mechanisms for technology transfer, finance, etc.

Nauru: Small Island Developing States (SIDS)

Nauru, speaking on behalf of SIDS, noted that adaptation defers from region to region and country to country. Therefore, it is not entirely clear how to set a global goal on adaptation measures. Mitigation is the ultimate response to adaptation and unavoidable L&D. Adaptation, in itself is not enough so L&D measures should be included in the 2015 agreement. Moreover, mitigation and adaptation need balance, especially in terms of finance. Low mitigation ambition means more financial requirements for adaptation under commitments and contributions. However, Nauru noted that adaptation is an additional burden on SIDS. Therefore, there is a need for guidance on adaptation planning and priorities.

Concerning institutional agreements, Nauru noted that despite the Cancun Adaptation Framework (CAF), implementation of such associated measures is lacking. Accordingly, there is a need to strengthen the role of adaptation and link it closely to technology transfer mechanisms, Green Climate Fund (GCF) and other elements. In addition, the level of finance will depend on the mitigation scenario agreed in 2015. Thus, there needs to be a long-term prediction for technology to cover costs and any associated increase in needs. Separately, there is also a need for a review mechanism in the new agreement.

 Dominican Republic

The Dominican Republic noted that capturing co-benefits from adaptation has benefits and there is a need to capture best practices and other related benefits. Accordingly, if there are mitigation related co-benefits, then it is important to improve available knowledge to stimulate innovation and develop a results-based approach. It also agreed that there was no need for new bodies to administer such elements but parties could work together to develop mechanisms such as platforms and registries.


Brazil, referring to a specific goal in the UNFCCC, noted that the convention calls for commitment for all parties to cooperate. This, it noted, was key but there are still questions of implementing this and determining how exactly it should refer to adaptation. It also noted that Article 4.4 of the UNFCCC convention tasked developed country parties to support developing countries concerning finance. However, those targets need to be met and there is a need for clear mechanisms concerning the process in which the 2015 agreement will allow for financial commitments to be implement properly.

Concerning aggregated costs and needs, Brazil noted that this process will take a long time and will be difficult to translate into a single goal because the goal posts keep changing over time. Thus, it may not be clever to establish a global adaptation goal because adaptation needs constantly keep evolving. Instead, parties could work methodological approaches designed to quantify adaptation costs and needs of parties based on the idea that adaptation is a right. Thus, there is no need to overburden the process with a global goal on adaptation. In other words, there is no need to commit beyond what is in the UNFCCC convention.

Brazil also noted that the 2C goal represents a clear convergence of mitigation and adaptation and therefore, it is possible to use the temperature limit as a global target for both mitigation and adaptation.

However, Brazil also expressed its concern that there currently a lack of balance between adaptation and mitigation. Thus, the new agreement needs to mainstream adaptation into National Determined Contributions (NDCs). Accordingly, there is a need to provide parties with opportunities to display nationally determined adaptation needs and a process must not preclude any country from including adaptation components in their NDCs. Furthermore, there is a need to incorporate bilateral consultations.


Norway noted that the current context represents a good start and should help enhance action on the ground to further the global goal. It also noted that it did not include a global goal in its submission because the convention already does a good job anchoring it. It also noted that the 2C target developed in Cancun was relevant to the impacts and enable adaptation measures for countries around the world. However, there is a need to have a clearer understanding as to what the goal would do concerning elements not covered in the existing set of mechanisms.

In terms of party commitments, Norway noted that the Chair’s reference to NAP was a good indication. Thus, it recommended a workshop to clarify NAPs.

Furthermore, in terms of Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) it noted there was a need to avoid additional reporting requirements and ensure better use and improvement of existing mechanisms. This also applied to institutions. Norway argued that new institutions were not necessary but sharing knowledge was good. Accordingly, CAF could facilitate such knowledge sharing institutions.

Norway also stated that it agreed adaptation activities need financial technology and capacity building support. It noted that the GCF process could provide 50% of necessary adaptation requirements.


Switzerland noted that it submitted its submission in March but wanted to refer to the general framework the country was planning. It also wanted to assert that adaptation is a country-driven process, and the necessary support and efforts must be made to provide the necessary support. However, it also noted that not all adaptation action depends on external support.

Switzerland also noted that goals could be beneficial but this should not entail having just goals that increase commitments because commitments are not the gaol. Instead, it should be phrased as “to increase resilience and adaptive capacity” or something similar.

The 2015 agreement can include a commitment to adaptation strategies because there is a benefit in adding this element to the agreement. Furthermore, Switzerland noted that NAPs should not be too prescriptive because countries have different experiences and priorities concerning the issue. For instance, Switzerland noted that it does not need to take adaptive measures against sea level rise.

Switzerland also noted that new institutions are not necessary. Instead, COP should review and reform existing institutions. Moreover, there is no need to address this issue in the agreement.

On the question of monitoring and resilience, it noted that those parties should add this to existing agreements.

Egypt: Like Minded Developing Countries (LMDCs)

Egypt, speaking on the behalf of the LMDC group, noted that adaptation is already in the UNFCCC article 4.4. Accordingly, this also forms the basis for NAPs and financial support provided to developing countries.

Egypt also noted there is a need to enhance support in order to build resilience. Moreover, the L&D mechanism discussed in Warsaw needs to be operationalised soon.


India noted that it supports the LMDC paper and reiterated the need to understand the global adaptation goal and its development trajectory. In particular, it noted that countries that proposed this gaol should elaborate their thinking further.

Concerning the 2015 agreement, it noted that there was a common understanding and an established metric to reflect adaptation in the 2015 agreement and associated NDCs. However, it also noted that developing countries will have high adaptation costs and the parties need to indicate the financial, technology and capacity building support. Since NAPs already exist, it noted that the first step would be to examine these documents.

India also expressed its concern that the adaptation fund is limited and current levels of funding will not suffice. In addition, the source of the funding is also shrinking. Thus, provisions in the 2015 agreement need to strengthen the fund. Furthermore, it expressed concern that the GCF was taking a long time to operationalise but noted that 50% of the funding should go to adaptation. In addition, it also expressed the need for such elements as knowledge hubs. In its closing statements, India reiterated the damage that the delayed GCF mechanism was causing, and urged parties to move on the issue quickly.

New Zealand

New Zealand noted the general agreement that adaptation is important and needs implementation at the local and national levels depending on context-sensitive needs. It has already implemented many such strategies and plans at a national level. In addition, it noted the importance of developing confidence in adaptation solutions domestically.

New Zealand noted that it does not see the need for quantified or quantifiable goals for adaptation but see need for shared objectives. These objectives should support national adaptation implementation strategies and support such activities at the national level.

It also expressed its agreement with other parties that there is currently no need for any more institutions and mechanisms. Instead, it would be better to streamline existing adaptation procedures.

New Zealand also noted that it is important to define a legal relationship of existing processes and mechanisms with the new agreement. Such an agreement should support parties and help them address their national adaptation planning. Moreover, there is a need to establish principles that put developing countries into the driving seat of their national adaptation plans and ensure they get the appropriate finance.


Colombia argued that due consideration is necessary for adaptation needs in the new agreement. Moreover, such consideration should come in a balanced form. Accordingly, there needs to be an examination of how adaptation provisions could translate to action on the ground. In the long-term context, Colombia noted that adaptation and mitigation are matters of global and collective responsibility. Hence, the new agreement must reflect the focus of national adaptation and make the link between adaptation and mitigation explicit.

It also noted that all parties should commit to contribute to efforts resilience. Such contributions should use qualitative metrics. In addition, Colombia also noted that institutional measures need strengthening.

European Union (EU)

The EU noted that the core objective of the convention would continue to be collective action. Moreover, there is a need to boost the process in which current institutions are dealing with adaptation. It is also better to have a normative goal of convention guiding the way of adaptation in the future.

The EU also noted that a lot exists to build on to enhance planning and strategies. Such elements include collective commitments on trans-boundary issues, regional and global risk assessment, etc. This is different to the global goal.

It also noted that institutional arrangements could be decided in or before the Paris negotiations. The rest should be part of the 2015 agreement. Moreover, the 2015 agreement could examine the most effective ways to address adaptation as part of the 2015 agreement. For instance, how the GCF could help in the process.

Last, the EU noted that in addition to the overarching goal and institutions, there is also a need to add NDCs as determined at the conclusion of the Warsaw process. However, it is not clear what it means to consult on national commitments.


Japan noted that its submission already outlines its views. Accordingly, it argued that the global goal is an interesting idea but Japan struggles to understand the meaning of such a global goal. It also noted that it is more difficult to measure impacts of climate change and not even the IPCCC has the necessary substance to support this goal. Japan also asked if the world could achieve a global goal by the deadline in 2015.

Concerning commitments and contributions, it noted that 2015 agreement should encourage parties to integrate adaptation in national planning and processes. It also agreed that institutions and arrangements need strengthening. Yet, there is no need to build new institutions. It also argued that it may not be possible to achieve common methodologies by 2015 but this may be possible in the post 2015 context.


Australia noted that adaptation should be an important part of the 2015 agreement but it is important to determine how to reflect this element because it depends on localised implementation. It stated that while it was comfortable with the idea that adaptation is a global responsibility and should be part of 2015 agreement this should be done through a balanced approach with localised solutions.

Australia also noted that in future it could be possible to have some information sharing process to share lessons and best practises. Such modalities can be determined after Paris.

In addition, it noted that national responses are not linked to a global goal, and they should be driven by national priorities. In such cases, it may not be best to introduce global standards on the matter but there is value in the concept of knowledge platforms under Nairobi Work Programme (NWP). It also noted that there was a need for a framework that enabled countries to take appropriate adaptation action.


Ecuador expressed surprise by the amount of invitations for bilateral meetings and stated that it completely aligns itself with Egypt and the LMC group. It noted that it has already made advancements in adaptation. In doing so, Ecuador reiterated that adaptation is guided by the principles of the convention and noted that the world has progressed with adaptation in the CAF.

It also noted that it is important to reflect upon existing agreements in the context of the 2015 agreement. Furthermore, common commitment does not reflect the differentiation as outlined in the UNFCCC convention.

Ecuador also expressed its desire to go back to the proposals presented by parties – the Conference Room Papers (CRPs) – because such documents present the base for discussions on adaptation. For instance, NAPs can for the basis.


Philippines noted that it supports the CRP 1 put forward by the LMDC group. It also noted that it is important to engage in such issues and reflect on the views of the parties involved. It also noted Article 4.4 of the convention must form the basis for framing adaptation needs. In the current state, the adaptation fund in not viable with the second KP period.

The Philippines also highlighted several parts of the CPR related to finance. It also notes that existing institutions needs strengthening and full financing. In addition, it argued that L&D needed to be treated in addition but separately from adaptation, with specific commitments to provide support.


Singapore stated that it would associate itself with the Nauru/AOSIS statement. It also expressed its view that they should not share a common goal on adaptation since this is a country drive process. However, it did noted that it was open to shared commitment for climate resilience.

Singapore also expressed its view that there was no need for additional institutions. While coordination and stocktaking are important, these could be achieved with existing institutions.

Sudan: African Group (AG)

Sudan spoke on behalf of the African group, noting that certain aspects are important over and above of elements such as compliance. It also noted that the African group submissions should be taken into account, including the intervention made right now.

Sudan also noted its expectations for adaptation in the context of the 2015 agreement. It argued that the convention should provide for cooperative action and specific categories of parties. In particular, it also highlighted the importance of articles 3.1., 3.2., 4.4., and 4.8., concerning the convention. Furthermore, there is a need to provide ex-ante assessment of adaptation needs based on the degree of the goals. Lastly, there is a critical need for finance, especially for the GCF.

Sudan also argued that the 2015 agreement should build on the agreement to limit global temperatures. It also noted that the 2015 agreement should acknowledge that national response actions are reflected in national plans, and the assessment of technology needs form a basis for identifying financial support needs.

Sudan also highlighted the importance of two critical elements. First, the need for developed countries to provide support, and clarify the type of support they are willing and able to provide. Second, all countries should communicate concerning the projection of climate costs.

On behalf of the AG, it also asked for an option in the 2015 agreement for ex-post acknowledgement of financial contributions of developing countries. It also noted that NAPs could form the entry point for adaptation support in the 2015 agreement. Such an agreement should be legally binding. In addition, Sudan noted that it is important to reaffirm the notion that adaptation is primarily a country-driven process that outlines technology transfer and financial support amongst other things.

South Africa

South Africa, noted that it supported the statements of the African Group concerning the issue of a global adaptation goal. It noted that such an action would expressively confirm that adaptation is a global commitment despite national implementation requirements. In addition, parties can integrate such elements in accordance to CBDR and other relevant principles.

South Africa also noted the importance of engaging with local authorities in the implementation stage. Costs could be defined across development and adaptation measures should be recognised.


China noted that long-term collective aspect is not just related to adaption but also related to mitigation action. However, there are elements that are missing from the long-term aspect including Research and Development (R&D) and mechanisms for the Means of Implementation (MoI).

China expressed its view on upcoming deadlines that it considered pivotal to the entire process including the long-term aspect and commitments of parties. It also expressed its view on Article 4 of the convention and linked these to the commitments. China, however, noted that some issues such as the meaning of commitments needs further clarification.

In terms of institutional arrangements, China expressed its view that a Subsidiary Body on Adaptation would be a new idea. Furthermore, it noted that the adaptation committee might not be sufficient to implement enhanced actions.

It also noted that formal negotiations do not necessarily amount to bilateral negotiations with various parties. An alternative would be to put all the elements on a single platform, vote on them, and explain the reason for the particular positive or negative vote. This is China’s perspective of multilateral negotiations. It also noted the importance of collective engagement.


Kenya noted that adaptation should be an integral part of the agreement and key part of INDCs. Importantly states should work on adaptation in the context of CR. Furthermore, a global goal for adaptation would be the best way to operationalise linkages.

In terms of commitments and contributions, Kenya argued that while adaptation should be part of INDCs, the entry point could be the associated NAPs. There is also a need for specific consideration of L&D in the new agreement. It also noted the importance of finance for vulnerable countries.

United Arab Emirates

The UAE noted that it could a global goal on adaptation. However, parties would need to work on the language of the agreement. It noted that South Africa and Colombia had good ideas on the matter. It also noted it would like to summarise the commonalities between various states.

The UAE also highlighted the importance of adaptation and emphasised the need to recognise the adaptation efforts of states. There is also a need for international or regional adaptation measures.

Concerning institutions, it noted that while most countries called for the strengthening of current institutions, the UAE did not see much progress on that front. Therefore, suggested the need for new institutions.


Tuvalu, urged parties to include existing institutions in the upcoming 2015 agreement, arguing that this is an important step in ensuring their continuity. Having such institutions in a legally binding agreement will add a greater deal of confidence amongst different parties.

It also noted the need for a review mechanism in the agreement to ensure if financing is matching the various adaptation needs. These elements could link with the findings of the IPCC reports. It noted that this was similar to the Stern review, which estimated various adaptation costs.

Tuvalu also noted the need to recognise Article 4.9 and made special mention of the condition of internally and externally displaced people due to climate change. It argued that such people should have access to basic human rights and opportunities.

Concerning INDCs, Tuvalu sought to emphasise that some advanced economies will be able to provide their submissions before the Paris agreement. However, it was concerned that LDCs will not able to meet that deadline. It also expressed concern over “mainstreaming,” arguing that policy coherence on adaptation is important but the most important actions are done by local communities. Therefore, it is important to avoid placing additional conditions. It also noted that “streamlining” was often a euphemism for cutbacks, and Tuvalu did not want to discuss any version of “adaptation lite”.


The USA noted that its objective was to build concise elements that would endure over time. Moreover, it was building on experience over time. It noted that the world should think about the agreement and its broader implications, especially in terms of curbing emissions. The USA also noted the importance of elevating the profile of national and sub-national adaptation efforts. Accordingly, it noted that parties could reaffirm the commitment to undertake national adaptation process. More details in that process, especially in terms of monitoring and evaluation will prove useful.

The USA also noted that it would be helpful to call on parties to integrate adaptation in development. Importantly, this should not be just the effort of the Environmental Ministries the world over, but also include the input and expertise of other government bureaucracies. Thus, there is scope to discuss plans for greater integration.

It also noted that internationally, various efforts could increase the effectiveness of adaptation and new institutions could help in this regard. Other efforts could include strengthening existing tools and assessing risks.

Concerning long-term goals, the US noted that a qualitative goal is most workable. There are already several proposals in this regard. The USA also noted that a lot of time would be necessary to work out the specific language of the agreement.


Canada noted that there is some utility in anchoring existing institutions in the new agreement. Thus, the process will strengthen them in an important manner. It also noted that an assessment framework is worth exploring further. In this regard, it may be helpful to examine a notion of a registry.

In terms of commitments, it noted that the 2015 agreement should encourage all parties to develop strategies and acknowledge that adaptation should be based on best available science.

Moreover, it noted that it is important to engage with multiple stakeholders throughout the entire process.

Canada also noted that it was not averse to the idea of a long-term goal but it does have some concerns on the framing of the goal, especially in terms of Article 2 and the links to adaptation.

Concerning timeframes, Canada noted that this depends on national and sub-national levels and as a result, the outcomes are large and diverse. It also expressed enthusiasm for the notion of a global goal, despite acknowledging that achieving such an ambitious task would be tricky.


Cuba expressed support for CPR of LMDG group. It noted that there is a need to start introducing concrete language to move forward in the negotiating process. It also noted that this session is useful but there is a need to take more definite steps forward in the process, especially in terms of specific language requirements.


Ethiopia noted that Canada already raised its major concern. Referring to the adaptation framework, it argued that the word “common” is problematic. Accordingly, it felt that such a word seemed to imply actions oriented towards coastal areas while it noted that Ethiopia itself was a landlocked state. Since there is diversity, Ethiopia urged the deletion of the word “common”.

[Photo Credits: IISD]

About the Author:

Navam Niles works as a Research Associate at SLYCAN, focusing on energy security and the politics concerning global environmental problems. His core research interests also include Public International Law, International Development, Foreign Policy Analysis, and International Security. In addition, he is a lecturer at the Royal Institute of Colombo, teaching subjects pertaining to Politics, International Relations and Development Studies.