Middle East and North African Policy Makers Meet to Discuss Climate Change Adaptation

3 - 5 April 2017, Amman, Jordan - The National Adaptation Programme Global Support Programme (NAP-GSP) organized a training workshop for Middle East and North Africa (MENA) countries as part of the support to advance National Adaptation Plans (NAP) processes. The workshop was attended by more than 30 policy-makers from Environment, Planning and Finance Ministries from 13 MENA countries - supported by more than 25 representatives from UN agencies and other development partners. The workshop was organized by the joint UN Environment - UNDP NAP-GSP with financial support from the Special Climate Change Fund of the Global Environment Facility (GEF). 

Photo 1: Participants included 30 policy makers from Environment, Planning and Finance Ministries in the MENA region and more than 25 representatives from UN agencies and other development partners.

Countries in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) are particularly vulnerable to climate change-induced water-scarcity and extreme temperatures. Climate change is likely to intensify the effects of drought, which is currently one of the biggest environmental challenges facing the region. Urban and coastal areas are projected to be impacted by flooding and sea surges. The effects of climate change are also anticipated to further exacerbate conflicts and threats to human security in the region. The process to formulate and implement National Adaptation Plans (NAPs) aims to address these climate change-related challenges.

In his opening remarks, H.E Ahmad Qatarneh, Secretary-General of Jordan’s Ministry of Environment, briefly gave an overview of the situation in Jordan,  “Jordan is currently facing an extraordinary situation with the influx of Syrian refugees. Within the last three years, the population of Jordan has increased by approximately 20%. Today we must share our scarce resources with 9.5 million people. Despite these challenges, Jordan is determined to achieve the target set by our INDCs and to continue the path of climate friendly sustainable development.”

Welcoming the participants, the UNDP Country Director, Sara Ferrer Olivella, highlighted the implementation of the country’s INDC, “UNDP in Jordan has more than two decades of experience in working to address climate change, partnering with the Ministry of Environment and Ministry of Planning to advance development and climate objectives. We are well placed to support ambitious climate action, as part of the drive to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and implement the Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs).”

The objectives of the training workshop were to:

  1. Improve the understanding of the NAPs process;
  2. Take stock of the existing guidance and tools & methods relevant to the NAPs so as to assist countries develop roadmaps/ strategies for their NAPs;
  3. Take stock of what countries are doing on advancing their respective NAP processes and exchange lessons learnt and experiences; and
  4. Exchange information on the mechanisms and options for supporting NAPs. 

The workshop also highlighted support available through the NAP-GSP and partners to support countries in advancing their NAP processes. The country delegates identified key requirements they all share, and agreed that they require climate risk assessment. They further highlighted the value of considering climate change in macro-economic assessments for development planning. Not excluding the benefits in technical capacity building for governments in order to develop, implement and assess climate change adaptation interventions.

Photo 2: Participants from Lebanon and Oman testing the Skills Assessment cards.

UNITAR participated and assisted in the facilitation of some work groups and guided discussions, with the goal to support country delegations to gain a deeper understanding about how the NAP process can help to foster climate-resilient and sustainable development.

In addition, UNITAR field tested the skills assessment framework addendum and cards.  

Photo 3: The cards transform the skills assessment framework into a card game that encourages group discussions.

The cards are created to transform the skills assessment framework into a card game that encourages group discussions and learning around what skills may exist or are required at different implementation levels for a country to undertake national adaptation planning.  

The framework was developed in 2015 and can help countries to better understand their training needs through: 

  1. Identifying and describing existing skills-sets in place (management, technical, and participatory); 
  2. Locating these skills-sets at different implementation levels (policy, organizational, and operational); and 
  3. Identifying the gaps where additional skills development is required. 

The cards and the addendum were created out of the need for a structured and standardized assessment protocol, to complement the elements of the skills assessment framework and support country implementation. 

With the feedback from the participants, the cards will be finalized in the coming weeks and be ready for dissemination to countries later in the year.


Photo 1: Participants included 30 policy makers from Environment, Planning and Finance Ministries in the MENA region and more than 25 representatives from UN agencies and other development partners.  

Photo 2: Participants from Lebanon and Oman testing the Skills Assessment cards.

Photo 3: The cards transform the skills assessment framework into a card game that encourages group discussions.