At the workshop in Nairobi in 22-23 April 2015 Southern Voices partner networks started the process of updating the Joint Principles for Adaptation (JPA).The JPA version 2.0 has been finalised after a process of validation through an online survey and in the discussion forum on southernvoices.net. The changes have been informed by the experiences of using the JPA as a tool for dialogue and advocacy to promote efficient and equitable national frameworks for adaptation to climate change.
Below we present the major changes, the debate around them and the rationale behind the decisions.
THE PRINCIPLES SHOULD ASSESS IMPLEMENTATION AND MONITORING AND NOT ONLY PLANNING
When the Principles were developed in Kathmandu around the CBA8 the key focus was on developing a benchmark for good national adaptation planning – with a main focus on the NAPs process. Although some SVA-partners have been focusing their policy work on the NAP processes, many more have used the JPA to follow also implementation and monitoring of existing adaptation policies and programmes.
To make the JPA relevant here, the language has been changed both in the introductory “chapeu” text and in principle A – which now reads “The formulation, implementation and monitoring is participatory and inclusive”.
INCLUSIVENESS IS BROADENED
The focus in principle A on participatory and inclusive processes is broadened. Whereas the focus in version 1.0 was mainly on involvement of local communities and local and indigenous peoples, a new criterion A1 now mentions that multiple stakeholders must be included in the process, and important players are listed. The former criteria A2 that “The knowledge and experience of local communities and indigenous peoples is incorporated” has been moved to principle D, as D1.
LOCAL ADAPTATION PLANS TO BE COHERENT WITH NATIONAL POLICIES
Although the focus remains in Principle D on the importance of local adaptation plans, it was decided to stress that these must me developed in a coherent way – to avoid for instance that local adaptation plans have conflicting priorities for the use of shared ecosystem services. This is the rationale behind the new criterion C4: “Local level adaptation plans are guided by mechanisms to ensure coherence with national adaptation policies”
ECOSYSTEMS SERVICES ARE KEY TO ENSURE RESILIENCE OF COMMUNITIES
Many SVA partner networks highlighted the importance of preserving the resilience of ecosystems and that their services are key to ensure the adaptation capacity of local communities. This is captured in the update of principle D which now reads: “Local adaptation plans are developed through approaches that build resilience of communities and ecosystems”
GENDER NOT THE PREDOMINANT SOURCE OF VULNERABILITY
The most heated and protracted discussions were about the principle E – which now reads “The resilience of groups who are most vulnerable to climate change is promoted” the change being that “women and men” are not mentioned in the principle, but only in criteria. A new criterion E1 is added to capture the need for gender differentiation: “Plans and policies address the issues affecting different groups of women, men, boys and girls”.
A number of partner networks argued that having men and women mentioned in the principle itself – and not all the other relevant factors behind vulnerability – was tantamount to arguing that gender was always the predominant source of vulnerability. Other partner networks had based their advocacy strategy on principle E with a main focus on gender and were less pleased with the change, but they were in a minority. Efforts to find a compromise satisfying all were not successful.
Also there are other important changes in the criteria under E, such as E2 – which now identifies vulnerability to both social, cultural, economic and environmental conditions, and E3 which ask for taking into account also the needs and capacities of age groups.
APPROPRIATE INVESTMENT IN SKILLS AND CAPACITIES REPLACE BALANCE
The concept of “balance” seemed to many quite elusive, so a rewording of principle F was decided. Since in most cases there seem to be an imbalance in favour of physical infrastructure – the new Principle F reads: “There is a balance between the investment in physical infrastructure and the building of skills and capacities.”
Also F3 has been changed the wording from a focus on “soft” and “hard” interventions to more explicit language and now reads F3: “Investment plans contain targets for developing human capacities, natural capital, and physical infrastructure”
THE MANIFESTATIONS OF CLIMATE CHANGE ARE KEY TO UNDERSTANDING IMPACT
Principle G and the accompanying criteria has been updated and elaborated: Projections of current and future manifestations of climate change must be based on evidence in order to be able to predict the expected impacts.
The criterion G2 now stresses the need for making vulnerability and adaptation scenarios which are based on science and on evidence from the ground. A new G4 stress the importance of making evidence available for all stakeholders to enable adaptive decision making.
FINAL JPA UPDATE TOWARDS COP21
Later this year there will be a last round of updating the Joint Principles for Adaptation into a final version to be presented in Paris around COP21. Also the experiences of Southern Voices partner networks of using the JPA will be documented in a publication of case studies illustrating how the Principles can be used in different country contexts.