Study develops an analytical framework of enabling conditions necessary for synergies between mitigation and adaptation
By Elizabeth Kahurani
report calls for “sustainable-development
trajectories that combine adaptation and mitigation to reduce climate change
and its impacts."
it is becoming more apparent that linking mitigation and adaptation is a more
effective and efficient approach to climate change. Discussions at UN climate
talks are heavy on the benefits of synergy; and climate finance mechanisms are
increasingly looking for projects with linkages to both.
A field extension officer (middle) explains cacao agroforestry farming methods in Cameroon. Findings of a new study show that in developing countries, institutional setup is an area with strong potential for synergy between mitigation and adaptationGiven
that initial framing has had the two elements working in parallel, there is
need to identify where there exists strong potential to actualize harmony
needed to optimize strengths and benefits of mitigation and adaptation
a journal paper titled “A
systematic analysis of enabling conditions for synergy between climate change
mitigation and adaptation measures in developing countries”
published in Environmental Science and
Policy, Dr Lalisa Duguma and his
colleagues from the ASB
Partnership have developed an analytical framework
within which they explore four conditions necessary for integrating mitigation
and adaptation. These are: i) policies and strategies ii) institutional
arrangement iii) Financing iv) Programs and projects.
a comprehensive review of publications on climate change integration,
particularly those on mitigation and adaptation, it was clear that these four
conditions are crucial for countries to move towards synergy,” says Dr Duguma.
four conditions were examined using eight indicators (see table below) to score the synergy potential of 53 developing
countries that were selected based on national communications submitted to the United Nations Framework Convention on
Climate Change (UNFCCC).
the countries had strongest potential for synergy between mitigation and
adaptation on institution setup, mainly because countries had committees to
work on national level climate change strategies and also to participate and
ensure compliance to mutual climate agreements and submissions to international
conventions. Moreover, two thirds of the countries surveyed had programs
dealing with both mitigation and adaptation.
countries were found to be weak on the potential to finance both strategies
simultaneously and to develop policies. “This weak link in potential could be
because most of these countries are in the early stages of developing policies
on climate change and normally funding/budget allocation is informed by already
existing policies. Moreover, majority of these countries are almost entirely
dependent on multilateral funding, most of which is given for mitigation
activities,” explains Susan Wambugu, a co-author in the study.
comparative assessment between the countries showed interesting variations,
with middle-income countries having strong potential to synergy. “Other studies
that we have done show that these fast growing economies exhibit strong
potential for synergy as they want to boost their image to be seen as
responsible global citizens; also to maintain credibility and attract more climate
funding,” says Dr Meine vanNoordwijk who was part of the study. Strong
potential was also identified with countries exposed to high climate change
vulnerability such as the small island states. “Having been among the most
affected by climate change already, these countries have no much option but to
take on adaptation even as they implement mitigation approaches,” Dr
least developed countries had a weak potential score for synergy. According to
the authors, this is contrary to expectations given that they are also among
high climate risk countries and they are strong proponents for adaptation in
international policy debates. However, the study is quick to point out that limited
large-scale programs within which they implement climate objectives could
explain the tendency seen in these countries.
analysis of the synergy score against development and environmental indices
such as GDP, Human Development Index, and Environmental Performance Index (EPI)
confirm the findings of the study. “Among the countries studied, Indonesia and
Jamaica are exceptional on this assessment. Indonesia for example has an
independent body reporting directly to the office of the president. Such institutional
measures with political will and commitment have largely contributed to a high
EPI score for the country,” says Dr Peter Minang, one of the study co-authors.
“ A similar trend is seen among least developed countries, with countries like Malawi
and Ghana emerging with strong synergy potential scores in an environment where
the governments have made deliberate efforts to integrate development and
climate strategies,” he says.
climate change discussions focus on ways to generate meaningful impact from
actions to deal with the challenge, this framework and evidence presented is
among pioneer studies that governments and practitioners could benefit from in
an endeavor to gain lost opportunities from the previous siloed approach to
mitigation and adaptation and embrace far more beneficial avenues of a synergy
the push for global climate communities towards synergies between mitigation
and adaptation measures in order to effectively address climate change, it is
important that the necessary enabling conditions be known and made to use. This
paper is therefore the first attempt to come up with such key elements to
promote synergies particularly from developing countries context” Says Dr. Duguma.
conditions with their respective indicators used to determine countries’
Indicators used for
each of the enabling conditions for synergy
Policies and Strategies
Does the country have a climate policy that addresses both
Is there a common climate strategy/action plan for both
Has the country submitted NAMA (Nationally Appropriate
R-PP (Readiness Preparation Proposal) and/or NAPA to the
Is there a national-level committee addressing both M+A
Is there an implementing body
(institution/agency/department/unit) addressing M+A together?
Is there a climate fund for both M+A?
Programs and projects
Is there a joint program addressing M+A?
Are there subnational projects addressing both M+A
Available on open access