KATOWICE, POLAND, December 12, 2018 – The UN-Habitat guide to Addressing Urban and Human Settlement Issues in National Adaptation Plans was launched at the UN Climate Change Conference (COP-24) in Katowice, Poland last week. The guide highlights the crucial role of scaling up climate action by integrating human settlements into national adaptation planning and processes.

As over two-thirds of the global population becomes urban by 2050, it will be faced with risks from a range of potential impacts of climate change including rise in sea levels, extreme variations in climate, and other related disasters. Urgent action is required to address the inter-connected issues of poverty, governance, and climate vulnerability both in cities and at the national level. Robust and comprehensive National Adaptation Plans (NAP) are important tools in delivering the adaptation needs and priorities of nations as detailed in the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs). Cities are a critical location to achieve these NDC targets as 113 countries have urban priorities in their NDCs, much of it focusing on adaptation.

The NDC Partnership, UNDP and UN-Habitat convened participants from local and national governments and the climate finance community to discuss opportunities for connecting local climate adaptation action with national policy and planning [https://bit.ly/2BhhznJ]. “For national governments, looking at cities is looking at population, in our case 95 per cent, and therefore the highest priority for government,” emphasized Ignacio Lorenzo from the Ministry of Housing, Land Use and Environment (MVOTMA) in Uruguay.

Climate Change Adaptation takes top-priority both at national level and local levels. The Mayor of Quelimane, Mozambique Manuel Araujo explains that “city leaders are dealing with climate change daily and we need to engage with partners at national and regional levels, as well as other cities dealing with the same issues like us.” The City of Quelimane has developed a local adaptation plan which is being integrated into the National Adaptation Plan. It has thus contributed positively to national efforts along with other cities, the National Association of Municipalities of Mozambique (ANAMM) and international partners.

Integrating human settlements and key stakeholders of the national urban development community into national adaptation planning will strengthen National Adaptation Plans and processes, enhance climate action and promote the process of building resilient nations. This integration requires close cooperation and coordination between national, sub-regional and local governments as well as key private sector and civic society actors.

During the Launch of the Supplementary Guide at the UN Side Event on Human Settlements [https://bit.ly/2UUywO8], focus was on scaling and speeding up implementation and motivating cities to take urgent action. 1st Vice President Markkula of the Committee of Regions shared the European experience, where EU and National Governments set the targets, mentor and train regions and cities, support climate-compatible legislation and invest in capacity building towards a more effective low-carbon and resilient transformation. The Green Climate Fund, present at the launch, is looking to NAPs to strengthen country-led programing, planning and execution of adaption action. Dr. Horstmann of the German Development Institute advocated for broadening the focus of, and integration of climate adaptation and climate compatibility into all public and private investments.

With this new normative guide supplementary to the UNFCCC NAP Technical Guidelines, UN-Habitat stands ready to support Member States in integrating Human Settlements more strongly into National Adaptation Planning and action.

For more information please contact: marcus.mayr@un.org