About the UNFCCC University Partnership Programme
The UNFCCC University Partnership Programme aims to provide master students with the opportunity to focus their thesis/ cap stone projects on areas that address adaption knowledge gaps at sub-regional, national or local level. Watch a summary video here University partners are welcome to share proposal ideas for a university partnership in the Asia Pacific region, which the UNFCCC team reviews and then the co-development of the project proposal is initiated including definition of target users, expert organizations to involve and expected outputs.
There are three key areas of focus that the university partner can develop a proposal to support, including:
- Closing knowledge gaps under the Lima Adaptation Knowledge Initiative
- Formulation and implementation of the National Adaptation Plans
- UNFCCC Thematic Work areas, including biodiversity, ecosystems and water resources, human settlements, oceans, health, private sector initiative, gender sensitive approaches, local indigenous and traditional knowledge. Read More
Once the proposal has been developed, the UNFCCC team would then provide technical guidance for implementation alongside the expert organization while also playing the facilitative role depending on the arising needs.
Frequently asked questions
- Does the UNFCCC put forward projects they would like to see vetted or do universities generate the projects that universities think is going to be of value? The UNFCCC focus on the needs of the targeted knowledge users. Often projects are identified through two approaches, sometimes a non-university participant might suggest a project and at other times it is the university that has an interest, because of the course’s universities are teaching or bilateral relationships with other countries. In both instances, the UNFCCC will review the idea and help refine it to suit the broader program.
- Are there opportunities for projects relating to mitigation as well? So far, this UNFCCC program has not focused on mitigation, but as long as we can identify a clear gap and the target user the UNFCCC is willing to consider mitigation approaches as well.
- How broad can the scope of the program be interpreted? The UNFCCC encourage a broad interpretation if the project is aligned to a countries National Adaption Plan.
- Is there any opportunity to apply for funding for costs of students, including travel? Unfortunately, there is no funding currently available through the UNFCCC to reimburse students, however this is something the Secretariat is considering and there are related funding avenues and in-kind support that can be discussed in more detail depending on the program.
- Can honours students be involved? It is likely to be acceptable, however it depends on the program and the students educational program.
The National Adaptation Plans
The process for the National Adaptation Plans was established to enable Parties to formulate and implement national adaptation plans as a means of identifying medium- and long-term adaptation needs and developing and implementing strategies and programmes to address those needs. It is a continuous, progressive and iterative process which follows a country-driven, gender-sensitive, participatory and fully transparent approach. Image Source: UNFCCC
As at October 2021, 129 of the 154 developing countries had undertaken at least one activity related to the process to formulate and implement National Adaptation Plans, 61 of which are being supported by the Green Climate Fund. Of the 26 countries that have been through the entire process and submitted a National Adaptation Plan, 15 have submitted a total of 32 project proposals to the Greed Climate Fund for implementing priority projects identified in those National Adaptation Plans. The project proposals relate to food and agriculture, water resources, health, vulnerable people’s livelihoods, ecosystems, infrastructure and built environment, and extreme weather.
Figure 1 – Total Funding accessed by each least developed country under the Green Climate Fund as displayed on country pages of the Green Climate Fund website as at 30 September 2021. Source: UNFCCC
The risk and vulnerability profiles in the submitted National Adaptation Plans reveal floods, droughts, increasing temperature, sea level rise, and the increasing incidence of vector-borne and waterborne diseases as risks common to several countries and having little or no regional variation. Sea level rise has the most regional variation: it was mentioned by all Pacific Island, Caribbean Island and Middle Eastern States that have submitted a National Adaptation Plan but not by any of the countries in Africa and South America.
Approved projects funded under the Green Climate Fund include:
The Amazon Bioeconomy Fund (USD 279m): Unlocking private capital by valuing bioeconomy products and services with climate mitigation and adaptation results in the Amazon, undertaken with the Inter-American Development Bank in Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Peru and Suriname.
United Nations Development Program (USD38m): Scaling up climate-resilient water management practices for vulnerable communities in La Mojana Colombia.
Central American Bank for Economic Integration (USD174.3m): Ecosystem-based Adaptation to increase climate resilience in the Central American Dry Corridor and the Arid Zones of the Dominican Republic
The Lima Adaptation Knowledge Initiative
“In order to fully scale up adaptation, we must understand knowledge needs. The LAKI elaborates the reason behind adaptation knowledge gaps and illuminates a path toward bridging these gaps for end users.”
Youssef Nassef, Director of the Adaptation Program for the UNFCCC Secretariat
Knowledge gaps constitute significant barriers to successful climate change adaption actions, whether it is the absence of knowledge, lack of access to existing knowledge or the disconnect between knowledge holders and users. The Lima Adaptation Knowledge Initiative (LAKI) identifies and prioritizes adaptation knowledge gaps and catalyzes action to bridge these gaps. Image Source: UNFCCC
The LAKI achieves this through the application of the following methodology which includes
- Scoping the Knowledge Gaps: A scoping paper of adaptation knowledge gaps is prepared based on a literature review and input from the subregional coordination entity and multistakeholder group.
- Convening a multistakeholder group: A core group of experts is assembled in collaboration with the subregional coordination entity and invited to a workshop. A support group representing institutions that could provide resources to close knowledge gaps may also be invited.
- Refining and categorising knowledge gaps: The multistakeholder group refines the list of knowledge gaps from the scoping paper and categorizes them by type.
- Prioritizing knowledge gaps and designing response actions: The gaps are prioritized through a quantitative process and the multistakeholder group drafts potential response actions to close each gap, noting how their organization or others could contribute.
- Implementing actions and monitoring: UN Environment, UNFCCC, and subregional partners disseminate the workshop results and facilitate science-policy-practice dialogues to ensure the priority gaps are widely understood. Organizations submit action pledges to implement and report on response actions.
LAKI Case Study in the Peruvian Andes: Accountable investments models for decision makers
As part of the implementation of the Lima Adaptation Knowledge Initiative (LAKI) for the Andean subregion, a priority setting workshop and subsequent research project was undertaken to consider the most appropriate frameworks which monitor, evaluate and teach in a systematic approach that ensures adaptation programs translates to climate resilience in the community.
In a partnership between Yale University, the United Nations Framework for Climate Change and a number of specialist partners in the Andes region, graduate students assessed the systems of an ecosystem-based adaptation project in Peruvian highlands. The group produced specific actionable recommendations for strengthening new and existing monitoring, evaluation and learning frameworks.
The benefits of developing effective frameworks is not only demonstrated in accountability to donors, but it also enables practitioners and decision-makers to identify successful interventions, learn from past failures, adjust activities as circumstances evolve, as well as recognize when projects’ benefits are disproportionately distributed.
How to Participate in the Program?
Please email the Climate Alliance Secretariat for more information or to nominate a project via firstname.lastname@example.org
APRU contributes to a wide range of programs, including enhancing progress towards the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by raising awareness and encouraging the involvement of future leaders in the Asia-Pacific region, supporting capacity building by developing a network of experts across disciplines, and building an effective platform to connect the latest research and experts with policymakers to facilitate policy development and implementation.