Why are these JPAs needed?
National governments in developing countries have signed up to international agreements to strengthen the resilience of their societies, economies and local communities to the impacts of climate change. However, this is largely a grey area with little progress being made. The JPA will aim to strengthen the influence and authority of climate networks in their dialogue with other stakeholders and authorities at the national and international levels.
What is meant by "principles"?
To be useful the principles should be applicable to countries that are at different stages of adaptation planning and that have different institutional contexts. Some will be producing formal National Adaptation Plans, and using associated technical guidelines, while others may be developing different national policy frameworks.
The principles are intended to complement and strengthen existing adaptation processes. They will be expressed as common principles, which encapsulate a consensus point of view from civil society in different countries. They will then need to be interpreted more specifically within each national context, in a process of dialogue between national civil society networks, government and other actors. Precisely how this happens will vary from country to country, and is part of the learning process that is integral to this project.
How will the JPA be developed?
The draft version of the Joint Principles on Adaptation will be compiled based on input from small number of civil society networks during the first quarter of 2014. It will be discussed and further developed at a workshop in the context of the 8th Conference on Community Based adaptation in Kathmandu end of April.
The JPA will take around two years to develop, in three phases from January 2014:
- Phase 1 (up to April 2014): brainstorming workshops by civil society partners in 5-6 participating countries will take place to generate some early ideas for the components of the JPA.
- Phase 2 (up to April 2015): these ideas will be put to the test in some 12-15 countries around the world, working with multiple stakeholders, before they are reviewed and revised.
- Phase 3 (by December 2015): the first definitive version of the JPA will be launched with supporting evidence of how they have been used in practice.
Who will ensure that the JPA are validated?
The project will set up a standards committee or advisory board drawn internationally from experts in the field of adaptation. The functions of this board will be to exercise quality control and provide technical advice on the emerging standards; to provide contacts with related initiatives from other bodies to ensure coherence; and to champion and disseminate the standards once they are finalised. The board may also advise on closing down the initiative if it is found to be unproductive.
What is the purpose of having a JPA?
We envisage that the process of developing and testing the JPA will be enriching for those involved in each country. Additionally, the final product has many potential uses, which might include for example:
- To promote a coherent approach between different government departments and climate-sensitive sectors;
- To provide a common language for ongoing dialogue between civil society organisations, government and other stakeholders;
- To identify necessary changes to national and international policy and practice;
- To influence donors and decision-makers who control adaptation funding.
Why do we need principles when technical guidelines exist?
The technical guidelines that exist, primarily the LEG guidelines on NAPs, are valuable, but not easy to understand for most people, particularly those with knowledge of how communities are experiencing climate change and what they perceive as their needs. In the process of developing the JPA, the project will aim to simplify existing guidance, making it more accessible, and enriching it with insights from the grass roots.
The NAP process is already complex enough, why add to it with this JPA?
The standards can provide a vehicle for civil society actors to input into the NAP process, which already is intended to be participatory. Rather than complicating national adaptation planning, JAS has the potential for creating a shared framework for dialogue.