For Nicaraguan Alliance on Climate Change (ANACC) – a Southern Voices partner network – the most remarkable results from using the Joint Principles for Adaptation (JPA) has been that it has been adopted and put to use by it member organisations on the Caribbean coast. ANACC planned to use the JPA to get a dialogue on Nicaragua’s adaptation priorities with central government – but although it was introduced to the environmental committee of the Parliament – it was almost impossible to establish a dialogue with the relevant government Ministries.
However, the members of ANACC on the Caribbean coast the JPA came handy as a tool to guide adaptation planning at local level – and for dialogue between civil society and the local authorities, so the JPA was spreading in a ripple effect
The Alliance of the Southern Caribbean Coast on Climate Change (Allianza de la Costa Caribe Sur ante el Cambio Climático - ACCSACC) first used the JPA to review and propose improvements to the Regional Climate Change Strategy for the Southern Caribbean Coast to be updated by local authorities.
Bluefields Indian and Caribbean University then incorporated the JPA into a course on adaptation and sustainable livelihoods: “Citizens prepared for Climate Change”
The Municipality of Bluefields have adopted the JPA to improve local planning and used it in 10 workshops and tested its use in national instruments on the coast. ¨
ANACCs use of the JPA to strengthen community adaptation plans has been recognized by the local authorities directly involved in these processes.
The utility of the JPA
But why is it that the JPA has become a relevant tool? There are many reasons: There is a need for new tools and measures, as there is only a poor mechanisms for monitoring results from implementation of local adapatation plans and for ensuring accountability. Often plans are not implemented at all. The capacity of central government institutions in the remote Caribbean cost is very low, and often municipalities depend on CSOs to support local communities. In this context, the JPA are seen as a very useful tool for a better social audit.
The relevance of the JPA as an advocacy tool are several, as it can be used:
- to evaluate national and local policy instruments
- to see how the implementation of adaptation plans by authorities are going
- to support and strengthen the capacity of both government officials and local authorities
- to influence adaptation policies on a national and community level
The JPA on the exposed Atlantic coast
In Nicaragua, climate change are especially hard on the vulnerable communities on the Caribbean Coast of Nicaragua. The natural environment is changing rapidly: Rainfall has decreased with 45% in 2014 and intense tropical storms are creating widespread flooding. On top of this El Niño – reinforced by man-made climate change, now have a devastating impact on food production in the coastal zone – threatening the livelihood of the local population.
It was to address these challenges that the ACCSACC was formed in the coastal capital of Bluefields: This regional platform was created by local personalities, professionals and civil society organisations to promote an adequate response to the worsening situation. As lack of experience and resources limited their ability to take action and influence decision-makers, the national network, ANACC stepped in to support and introduced the JPA; this proved to be a useful advocacy tool for ASSACC in their work to implement the Climate Change Strategy for the region.
Working at several levels: from the Caribbean coast to the government
On the Southern Caribbean Coast, local authorities, ACCSACC and other local stakeholders are all participating in a major USAID-funded programme, which provide a platform for more dialogue and coordination through the construction of local adaptation plans. The aim is to increase capacity in the region to respond to climate change. The fact that several actors in the programme are applying the JPA – may give it an impact also at national and governmental level. The ANACC hope that the ripples of the Joint Principles for Adaptation will reach every level of authority.