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Southern Voices for Adaptation have provided their input on progress in transparency and participation at a UNFCCC expert meeting in São Tomé on national adaptation plans. 
 
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From 7-9 February, adaptation experts gathered to discuss national adaptation plans (NAPs) at the remote West African island city of São Tomé. The hosts invited Southern Voices for Adaptation (SVA) to provide much-needed civil society input on the level of transparency and participation in NAPs thus far.
 
Obed Koringo, SVA’s African regional facilitator, presented insights from Southern Voices on the use of The Joint Principles for Adaptation (JPA) in supporting adaptation planning and implementation. 

The presentation featured assessments from Malawi, Kenya, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Vietnam on day 2 of the event. SVA’s overall contribution came in the form of an assessment report, NAP Progress in Participation and Transparency.

“Southern Voices' contributions were well-received and touched on many key discussions”, commented Mr. Koringo. Experts praised the JPA for supporting vertical integration and multi-stakeholder adaptation. SVA's input complemented other event topics including gender, indigenous knowledge and NAP financing (full details on the event can be found on the LEG Expert Meeting page: http://unfccc.int/10545)

Partners' assessments suggested slow but steady progress. Governments have encouraged decentralised adaptation, greater civil society involvement and longer-term planning. Nonetheless, capacity gaps, financially-stalled NAPs and low stakeholder involvement still persist. Partners hope the event will galvanise greater commitments from the international community in the future.

A similar sentiment ran throughout the 3-day event. Despite improvements, including praise for the LEG/NAP technical guidelines, constructive criticism featured. Access to and technical support on climate finance was deemed to be lacking.
 
Gender was similarly raised as an area requiring more detailed considerations on women’s vulnerabilities, but also their role as agents of change. The meeting cited a low number of proposals specifying how gender and vulnerabilities can be operationalised in many NAPs as an example of this.
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Integration of adaptation into other policy areas was another prominent talking point. Discussions identified the need for tools such as the JPA and capacity-building to locate access points for integration. “The JPA can definitely guide solutions for many of these issues”, reflected Mr. Koringo.

The event was organised by the UNFCCC Least Developed Countries Expert Group, in collaboration with the Adaptation Committee. The meeting brought together UNFCCC experts, country representatives and international organisations including the OECD, in addition to academics. The goal was to exchange lessons learned, best practices, gaps and needs, alongside an appraisal of support given to countries.

The event's findings will feed into discussions at the NAP Expo and COP24 later this year, which Southern Voices will also attend.

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