Adapting to climate change is a new challenge for many countries. But a necessary one.
Although it’s difficult to think long term when facing immediate threats or managing recovery efforts from a recent natural disaster, a National Adaptation Plan (NAP) provides a process that forces governments to think about the future and how to prepare for it.
The Central African Republic (CAR) is the most recent country to complete its NAP document and communicate it to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The NAP was developed with technical assistance from United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) under the NAP Global Support Programme (NAP-GSP). With the NAP process, the CAR government aims to reduce vulnerabilities to the impacts of climate change by building capacity and resilience. The NAP process will also integrate climate adaptation into all forms of government decision making, whether in policies, development planning, or different programs.
Country governments cannot create effective climate adaptation plans without first consulting local authorities, civil society representatives, various stakeholders, Indigenous groups, academics, and more. This is a critical step to ensure that the NAP process is inclusive and participatory.
As the people of CAR demonstrated in October 2021 with the “Great March for Climate,” they are aware of the consequences of climate change and are ready to take preparatory action to protect their livelihoods and future.
It is, therefore, no surprise that the last NAP workshop before its submission to the UNFCCC, held in December 2021 in Lobaaye, had more participants than originally expected. The organizers—the Government of CAR with the support of the NAP Global Network—hosted this event to raise awareness of the NAP process among locals and stakeholders and provide updates on its progress, lessons learned, and adaptation priorities identified.
“Policy efforts with a focus on climate change adaptation have only just recently been initiated in CAR. It’s great to see so many people getting involved: their perspectives and knowledge will help shape an effective NAP process,”said David Hoffmann, Policy Analyst, NAP Global Network Secretariat.
This workshop allowed participants to voice any final additions or edits for the NAP document before it was made official. It also helped the Government of CAR mainstream the NAP process among those who have active roles in its implementation, as well as the people it aims to protect and benefit.
Next Steps: With a final NAP document, CAR can now focus its efforts on implementing priority adaptation actions and begin building the resilience of its communities, economies, and ecosystems. To ensure climate action that benefits everyone equally, CAR’s NAP team is building a gender–climate analysis report with the support of the NAP Global Network, which will be referred to continuously throughout the implementation of the NAP.
Photo credits go to GAZOUNDA (TUBCENTRO photographer) and Didier KOUTOU (Agence Centrafricaine de Presse [ACAP]).