What Is the NAP Assessment in Bonn, and Why Does It Matter? 

By Orville Grey and Jeffrey Qi, NAP Global Network Secretariat, IISD

The NAP discussions at SB 60 are crucial, as they lay the foundation for the negotiations at COP 29. (Credit: UN Climate Change)

At the UN Bonn Climate Change Conference (SB 60), taking place from June 3 to 13, countries will initiate an assessment of their progress in formulating and implementing their NAPs.  

We look more closely at what that means, and what’s at stake. 

What is the Assessment of Progress in the NAP process?  

The benefits of adaptation have the potential to be widespread and long-lasting. As global temperatures rise, national adaptation plans (NAPs) remain the main vehicle for countries to systematically build resilience, enhance adaptive capacity, and reduce vulnerability to climate change. The NAP process enables countries to identify and address their medium- and long-term priorities for adapting to climate change and establish the systems and capacities needed to make adaptation an integral part of their development planning, decision making, and budgeting. 

The NAP process was established under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in 2010. Since then, technical guidelines have been developed, extensive capacity building undertaken, dedicated funding windows opened, and various support initiatives—such as the NAP Global Network—launched. 

Mandated by Decision 3/CP.26, this assessment in Bonn aims to evaluate the extent to which the NAP process has contributed to enhancing adaptive capacity, strengthening resilience, and reducing vulnerability to climate change, with countries aiming to adopt a decision on the result of this assessment at the 29th UN Climate Change Conference (COP 29) in Baku.  

More specifically, it represents an opportunity to 

  • recognize developing countries’ adaptation efforts and their progress in achieving the objectives of their NAPs; 
  • consider how the NAP process contributes to the achievement of the Global Goal on Adaptation (Article 7.1 of the Paris Agreement); and 
  • share experiences, best practices, and lessons learned, as well as identify gaps and enhancement needs in countries’ respective NAP processes. 

You can see the NAP Global Network’s submission to this process here.  

Why is this Assessment of Progress important?  

It is important partly because it has been 10 years in the making. The NAP assessment was postponed twice, first at COP 21 in Paris and then at COP 24 in Katowice, because too few NAP documents had been submitted to the UNFCCC. However, as of May 31, 2024, 55 multi-sector NAP documents have been submitted by developing countries, with even more countries undertaking the NAP process domestically. The important progress made by developing country parties in recent years presents an opportunity to assess progress, learn, and figure out what is needed to transition from planning to implementation.  

The assessment will also highlight the adaptation efforts and achievements of developing countries over the last decade, providing a stocktake on national adaptation planning and implementation that highlights key challenges, experiences, and best practices to inform the way forward.  

Drawing on the NAP Global Network’s experience and research, we want to see an eventual outcome at COP 29 that highlights the progress to date and acknowledges the need to transition from adaptation planning to implementation. We also wish to see an emphasis on the need for adaptation mainstreaming; gender equality and social inclusion; vertical integration; and monitoring, evaluation and learning for adaptation. Sufficient means of implementation, especially sources of finance and capacity building, will continue to be crucial for the NAP process post-COP 29. 

This is a finance-focused year for the negotiations, with a nationally determined contribution update on the horizon. However, achieving a robust outcome on the NAP assessment at COP 29 is critical, as it sends an important signal of progress and support for adaptation in developing countries.  

The NAP discussions at SB 60 are crucial, as they lay the foundation for the negotiations at COP 29 and signal the continued importance of maintaining a focus on the adaptation-mitigation balance in the global climate policy process. If we are serious about accelerating efforts to mainstream adaptation and invest in countries’ transition from adaptation planning to implementation, then countries must pay attention to the NAP assessment in Bonn and Baku and ensure this agenda item receives the consideration it deserves to achieve a fair, equitable, and robust outcome.