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Institutions for adaptation towards an effective multi-level interplay

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S. Harmeling (ed)
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Science shows that global warming trends and their proxies are happening faster than expected and yet there is little ambition among countries to mitigate climate change. This paper contributes to the ongoing negotiation process on adaptation under the UNFCCC, including the 2011 operationalisation of the Adaptation Committee. It analyses key institutional approaches on the different levels and makes a number of concrete recommendations aimed at optimising the interplay between institutions at the different levels. The paper states that at all the different levels, the following different types of institutions have to be considered to effectively respond to climate change:

On the global level: the Adaptation Committee, expert groups dealing with adaptation aspects and funds, the Convention on Biological Diversity, the Convention to Combat Desertification, other UN agreements and agencies, the World Bank
On the regional level: intergovernmental regional organisations, UN regional commissions, regional science centres
On the national level: intra-governmental coordinating bodies, country-level multi-stakeholder partnerships, national funding entities, national implementing entities, national centres, civil society networks and organisations with adaptation expertise.

Based on the analyses made in this paper, the following specific key recommendations are drawn: On the Adaptation Committee:

set-up a strong Adaptation Committee as the adaptation node under the UNFCCC, which can become the driver for a more coherent, effective and ambitious approach to adaptation under the UNFCCC and oversee the implementation of the Cancún Adaptation Framework
shape the Adaptation Committee in a complementary manner by taking the particular strengths of the national and regional levels into account
Take into account lessons from shaping the Technology Mechanism and consider implications for the institutional set-up.

On regional cooperation and climate change adaptation:

strengthen and support regional cooperation
consolidate and enhance the views on, and the role of regional centres and networks
promote regional transboundary adaptation cooperation.

On national-level arrangements:

support and enhance country-level multi-stakeholder partnerships for national coordination
strengthen national and sub-national civil society networks
increase capacity building through concrete adaptation projects funded internationally
improving and rationalising the financial mechanism under the convention.