Following the Marrakech accords in 2001 where National Adaptation Programmes of Action (NAPAs) were mandated to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), this report documents lessons learned by the NAPA teams in Eastern and Southern Africa. This review is intended to initiate a learning process and extract lessons from the NAPA teams. The paper discusses that thinking of climate change adaptation as a discrete planning process which can be easily segmented into additional activities, is likely to be less effective than building a broad understanding and multi-stakeholder action agenda. Learning by doing, social learning, community-based adaptation and participatory assessment are relevant frameworks to take forward. It is asserted that the cost of adaptation could be very high, to the extent that it could not be met by a single source of funding; hence, there is a real need to tap all potential funding sources and present solid and convincing proposals for funding. Key lessons highlighted include that:
the NAPAs, as a process, should not be viewed solely as end products in themselves. In many countries, the NAPAs have been effective to raise awareness at least among national stakeholders, and to put climate change adaptation on the development agenda
the NAPAs should be seen as an essential step in the development of adaptation capacity of LDCs. Moreover, NAPAs have provided the means and tools essential for the LDCs to present and negotiate a country-driven action programme
the NAPA experiences could assist other developing countries (in Africa and elsewhere) to develop similar sets of priority adaptation options. In countries with greater financial and human resources, planning should take into account a wider focus.