Explaining NAPAs and Climate Change Adaptation

  Developed countries’ aid programs in Africa often center on responding to the challenges created by climate change, such as desertification, coastal erosion, flooding, and myriad other problems affecting food supply, availability of water, and livelihoods of the impoverished. Through the use of National Adaptation Programs of Action, developed according to guidelines agreed upon internationally, donor nations have found a way to harmonize giving with recipient nations’ development goals and to address populations and regions most vulnerable to climate change in that country. The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change spearheaded the effort to recognize climate change as a major problem for least developed countries in order to organize foreign aid around related development efforts. In 2001, the 7th Conference of the Parties passed a decision identifying least developed countries as those who both will bear a disproportionate burden of the costs of climate change as well as those who do not have the appropriate capacity to develop or implement a plan to mitigate these costs and their impact on populations. The 7th Conference saw fit to call for “a country-driven approach that allows developing country Parties to pursue the specific activities most appropriate to their unique national circumstances,” rather than being obligated to adhere to the development programs created by foreign donor governments. The conference went on to set up a work program with methodologies, guidelines, and funding for...

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