The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) was adopted at the “Rio Earth Summit” in 1992 in order to limit global warming and reduce its consequences.
Besides their commitment to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, the parties to the UNFCCC are also required to adopt measures to minimise the negative effects of climate change (adaptation). Furthermore, the countries listed in Annex II to the Convention must ‘assist the developing country Parties that are particularly vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change in meeting costs of adaptation to those adverse effects.’
Many important steps have been taken in the development of the adaptation regime under the UNFCCC. The key milestones are indicated below:
- 2001: the Least Developing Countries work programme was set up to help these countries to deal with problems associated with adaptation to climate change.
- 2006: the Nairobi work programme on impacts, vulnerability and adaptation to climate change was adopted.
- 2010: the Cancun Adaptation Framework is established.
- 2015: Article 7§9 of the Paris Agreement provides for Parties to engage, as appropriate, in adaptation planning processes and implement actions, including the development or enhancement of relevant plans, policies and/or contributions.
- 2018: adoption of the Katowice Climate Package, which lays down the rules for implementing the Paris Agreement. It defines what and how Parties should report on their implemented and planned adaptation actions and needs. Furthermore, adaptation (together with mitigation and funding) will play a prominent role in the 5-yearly evaluation of the progress of the implementation of the Paris Agreement.