Adaptation at the International Level

United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)

The Convention came into force in March 1994 and provides a framework for intergovernmental efforts to tackle the challenge posed by climate change.  Under the Convention, governments:

  • gather and share information on greenhouse gas emissions, national policies and best practices
  • launch national strategies for addressing greenhouse gas emissions and adapting to expected impacts, including the provision of financial and technological support to developing countries 
  • cooperate in preparing for adaptation to the impacts of climate change

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The UNFCC National Adaptation Programme of Action (NAPA)

Focused on Least Developing Countries, this programme provides a mechanism to prioritise adaptation needs.  44 adaptation strategies or plans from around the world have been sent to the UNFCC.  Find out more

A database of all NAPA priority adaptation projects sorted by country and sector is available and contains profiles of each activity or project, designed to facilitate the development of proposals for implementation. Find out more

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPPC)

The IPCC is the leading body for the assessment of climate change, established by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) to provide the world with a clear scientific view on the current state of climate change and its potential environmental and socio-economic consequences.

The Fourth Assessment Report (AR4) was released in 2007, and it consists of the following volumes:

Climate change 2007 – Synthesis report

Climate change 2007 – The physical science basis

Climate change 2007 – Impacts, adaptation and vulnerability

Climate change 2007 – Mitigation of climate change

Work has started on the preparation of its Fifth Assessment Report (AR5).

European Commission

Adapting to climate change: Towards a European framework for action

The White Paper, published in April 2009 by the European Commission presented a framework for adaptation measures and policies to reduce the European Union's vulnerability to the impacts of climate change. It outlined the need to create a Clearing House Mechanism by 2011 where information on climate change risks, impacts and best practices would be exchanged between governments, agencies, and organisations working on adaptation policies.

Adapting to climate change will be integrated into all EU policies and will feature prominently in the Union's external policies to assist those countries most affected.

European Environment Agency

Impacts of Europe’s changing climate – 2008 indicator based assessment. 

Published in September 2008, this report by the EEA provides an overview of past and projected climate change and impacts in Europe confirms the need for adaption in the EU at national and regional levels, indentifying the most vulnerable sectors and areas.  As well as presenting around 40 indicators, the report also comments on data availability, impacts, uncertainty and adaptation strategies.

The European Topic Centre on Air and Climate Change

The ETC/ACC is a consortium of European institutes, led by the Netherlands Environmental assessment agency (PBL). It provides support to the European Environment Agency, collects data on climate change, contributes towards harmonising European monitoring networks and reporting obligations  and reports on progress in a range of issues including climate change.

In December 2008, it published a technical paper: Climate change vulnerability and adaptation indicators, which presents key principles for a conceptual framework for indicator development that covers both process based indicators to report progress on implementing adaptation measures (building adaptive capacity) and outcome-based indicators to report on the effectiveness of policies and actions (delivering adaptive capacity).

The Partnership for European Environmental Research

Europe adapts to climate change: comparing national adaptation strategies.

Published by the Partnership for European Environmental Research in 2009, this report surveys the development of national adaptation strategies in countries across Europe. The analysis is based around six themes:

1.     Motivating and facilitating factors for strategy development

2.     Science-policy interactions and the place of research

3.     The role of communicating adaptation.

4.     Multi-level governance in shaping and delivering National Adaptation Strategies.

5.     The integration of adaptation into sectoral policies.

6.     The role of policy monitoring, review and enforcement.

Climate Policy Integration, Coherence and Governance

This report, published in March 2009 by the Partnership for European Environmental Research, examines the extent to which climate change mitigation and adaptation is integrated into policy in European countries.  Integration has increased in recent years, but more is needed, including the interconnections with different (local to international) levels of governance .