Note to readers: the Mainstreaming and NAP sections have been merged to form a new Mainstreaming & NAP section. This page is no longer maintained and remains only for reference.

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"A closer look"

Adaptation Mainstreaming “at a glance”

What is mainstreaming adaptation?

The idea of mainstreaming adaptation is to systematically include climate risk and adaptation considerations in regular decision-making and planning processes instead of only implementing ‘stand-alone’ adaptation measures. This can take place at different levels (international, national, sub-national level; sectoral and project level).

Why mainstream adaptation?

The main objective is to reduce climate risks or to check whether a decision needs to be modified due to a changing climate. This is necessary because by taking climate change into account in planning and decision-making regarding investments, we can prevent costs and destructive impacts of climate change.

What are different entry points for mainstreaming adaptation?

The mainstreaming adaptation concept can be applied to a wide range of decision-making contexts, e.g. governmental investment decisions on infrastructure, provincial sector strategies, or community development plans. The decision-making process itself determines where to best integrate adaptation considerations (the so-called ‘best entry points’).

How to mainstream adaptation?

Depending on the entry points, mainstreaming adaptation can be linked to e.g. planning, assessments, financing issues, training, awareness campaigns, etc. Given this range of application, there is obviously no single ‘blueprint’ approach, but rather a wealth of different methods and approaches. Mainstreaming can, for instance, mean the inclusion of adaptation experts into planning bodies, a mandatory climate check, or participatory planning approaches.
Irrespective of where mainstreaming adaptation is applied, it always comprises an institutional change process.

What are the main lessons from application?

To name just a few: Examples show that easily understandable, systematic tools can support mainstreaming. At the same time, there should be enough flexibility to address different mainstreaming challenges. The process of setting up mainstreaming adaptation within an institution and participation of those who are supposed to take better informed decisions seem to be crucial. The buy-in from high level decision-makers can be very supportive. Conclusions for concrete situations can be drawn from a large number of past cases in which mainstreaming adaptation was applied.

Where is more information available?
A variety of different guidance and tool descriptions is available about mainstreaming adaptation under different conditions. Check out Further reading and Tools and training material