Seven Guiding Principles for Preparing Financing Strategies for Climate Change Adaptation in Developing Countries

By Deborah Murphy, Senior Associate, NAP Global Network Secretariat (IISD) and Jo-Ellen Parry, Deputy Director, Resilience (IISD)

As developing countries transition from planning to implementation in their National Adaptation Plan (NAP) processes, a critical step is securing financing to implement priority adaptation actions articulated through the NAP process. Several developing countries are preparing “financing strategies for adaptation” to set out a coordinated national approach to identify investment priorities and financing approaches for the specific adaptation actions in the NAP over the short, medium, and long terms. to capture what we are learning.

Our research—which included a review of 24 strategies for financing adaptation (Murphy, 2022), the preparation of case studies for three countries (Murphy & Parry, 2023), and discussions with developing country governments and multilateral institutions1—led to the identification of guiding principles for the preparation of financing strategies for climate change adaptation. 

Guiding Principles for Preparing and Implementing Financing Strategies for Adaptation

How financing strategies are prepared and implemented can significantly influence their effectiveness and potential to help close the adaptation finance gap. This process to develop financing strategies for adaptation should

  1. be country-driven and fit for purpose.It should be determined by a country based on its needs, priorities, capacities, and desired outcomes. The strategy should build on existing information, be mindful of available resources, and respond to the stated needs of the country. For many countries, their NAP is a critical foundation for their adaptation financing strategy.
  2. use a whole of government approach, emphasizing engaging ministries of finance and planning. The strategy should be agreed, prepared, and implemented through a coordinated approach across relevant ministries and subnational governments. Finance and planning ministries should play a critical role in developing and implementing adaptation financing strategies.
  3. take a participatory and inclusive approach. Representatives from across relevant sectors, inclusive of the private sector, including financial institutions, development partners, academia, and civil society, should be engaged. In particular, the engagement of representatives of all genders and social groups is essential for ensuring that the financing strategy meets the needs of the most vulnerable groups.

Guiding Principles to Inform the Development of the Content of a Financing Strategy for Adaptation

Whether articulated through a formal document or not, countries should ensure that their financing strategies for adaptation by making sure they

Where to Next?

Continued research is needed to analyze the approaches to preparing financing strategies for adaptation, measure the impact of these strategies, and identify approaches that will assist governments to prepare effective and useful financing strategies for adaptation that integrate international and domestic public and private finance.

“Financing strategies for adaptation” are defined as nationally coordinated approaches to identifying and encouraging the scaling up of financing for climate change adaptation priorities. They are flexible, inclusive, forward-looking, and structured processes to identify concrete financing needs for adaptation, and most efficient ways of accessing and delivering adaptation finance and enable the implementation of the NAP. The strategy is a matrix of interlinked actions, of which one action may be the preparation of a formal document.







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  1. Expert input was provided by representatives from the African Development Bank, Asian Development Bank, World Bank, International Development Research Centre, and the Governments of Peru and Nepal; as well as by NAP Global Network/IISD experts. The principles were also informed by interviews with representatives from the Green Climate Fund, World Bank, and United Nations Development Programme. ↩︎