Live Online Chat - What Are Your Adaptation Priorities?

Live Online Chat - What Are Your Adaptation Priorities? Examples and Experiences
With Peter King and Lee Baker on Wednesday, 19 August 2015, 10:30am-11:30am (UTC+07:00) Bangkok time

Determining a country’s adaptation priorities and actions is a key component of good project preparation. Because financing is scarce, the highest priority projects should be funded first.
 
Join adaptation project preparation and finance experts Peter King and Lee Baker from the USAID Adapt Asia-Pacific project for a live online chat session next Wednesday (19 August 2015) to discuss:
  • What are Asia-Pacific countries’ and communities’ climate change adaptation priorities?
  • How did they go about defining those priorities?
  • And what are the successes (or failures) in focusing resources on addressing those priorities (i.e. translating priorities into actual adaptation projects)?

TRANSCRIPT:

APAN:
A very warm welcome and thank you all for joining this chat before we begin, I would like introduce myself: I am Augustine Kwan at the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies Regional Centre based in Bangkok, Thailand. And I’ll be moderating this chat. We help support the Asia Pacific Adaptation Network – or APAN for short – with generous assistance from the USAID Adapt Asia-Pacific project. This chat culminates the email-based discussion we recently concluded on “What Are Your Adaptation Priorities” We have Dr. Peter King and Lee Baker from USAID Adapt Asia-Pacific standing by to take questions for one hour.

Peter_King:
Hi everyone. Welcome to this live chat. As we have been working with the USAID Adapt Asia-Pacific project for the past 4 years, we have come to realize that countries are still having difficulty in prioritizing adaptation issues. We would like to discuss how prioritizing is best handled and how useful NAPAs and NAPs have been in doing this. I look forward to an interesting discussion around this topic.

Lee_Baker:
Good morning. I’m Lee Baker, Chief of Party of the USAID Adapt Asia-Pacific project. Welcome to today’s live chat. I thank all of you who have contributed responses to date.

APAN:
Thanks very much, Peter and Lee, for your introductions.

APAN:
Maybe we can start with first question, before the rest jumps in:

APAN:
In your work with countries for the past years, under the USAID Adapt Asia-Pacific project, do you think adaptation is integrated into countries’ development investments?

Peter_King:
The interesting dilemma that countries face is that if we mainstream adaptation into development plans, then it is hard to justify accessing specific climate change funds.

Peter_King:
In principle however, adaptation should be regarded as development done better in the face of climate change.

Peter_King:
This also raises issues of tracking investment in climate change – if it is not identified as a stand-alone issue, then it is hard to say how much has been spent on adaptation.

Bikram_Ghosh:
Do you think that adaptation requires the same approach to governance as development? Do some aspects such as transparency become more important when related to adaptation?

Eve_IGES:
Hi everyone, I am Yi Ying (Eve) Lee from IGES and I’m the associate coordinator for the APAN. APAN operates across the Asia-Pacific region through 8 organizations dealing with agriculture, water, mountain to various other climate change adaptation issues in the region. I have a few comments and questions here -

Eve_IGES:
When we are deciding on adaptation priorities, I believe one way to set the priorities is to assess how much of a positive impact a program/project can achieve at the end. In other words, we want to prioritize with an aim to maximize the benefits/positive impacts.

Eve_IGES:
I believe this approach will also help the private sector to understand more about adaptation and encourage them to engage.

Peter_King:
I think the governance issues only change when countries are trying to achieve accreditation for direct access to climate change

Shylene Belle Cadiao:
Good morning from the Philippines! In my country there’s R.A. 9729 – an act mainstreaming climate change into government policy formulations, establishing the framework strategy and program on CC and there’s also R.A. 10121 – an act strengthening the Philippine disaster risk reduction and management system, providing for the national DRRM framework I would always like to link these two for they both have the same aim: to minimize damages to people and to the environment.

Eve_IGES:
My questions are – how do we assess the impact of an adaptation project before it’s implemented? Then how do we measure the actual impact or effectiveness of the project after its implementation? How is it usually done?

Shylene Belle Cadiao:
But if I’m going to anchor and relate it in my work experience, only few people especially in the community level who know what climate change is.

Peter_King:
Impact assessment should be designed into the project - that is why we always recommend starting with a logical framework, built up from a problem tree and objective tree as part of the project design process

Priyanka:
Hi! I am Priyanka Dissanayake Regional coordinator Global Water Partnership South Asia. In most developing countries the adaptation cannot be separated by development. In Nepal, the Local Adaptation Plan for Action (LAPAs) has mostly the development activities as adaptation activities. If adaptation is presented separated from development, it is hard to implement and will not be accepted.

Peter_King:
Shylene - the act is great, but if it is not being implemented what other processes are needed to ensure that climate change is given the priority it deserves?

Shom Teoh:
Hi Peter, that's very reasonable. However, how do you measure the impacts that are long term? Many projects in the development world do not last beyond 5 years.

Shylene Belle Cadiao:
Climate change education awareness and campaign as a top priority.

Peter_King:
From my vast experience in project implementation the best way is to go back to completed projects at 10-15 years after project completion and find out what the real impacts were.

Shom Teoh:
I see. I heard once that ADB does fund that. But is it a general practice for most funding agencies? (To pay people to look at past projects after more than a decade?)

Peter_King:
Is education awareness and campaign being built into national and local govt. budget priorities in the Philippines? If not, why not?

Priyanka:
Focusing on education and awareness (software) is not enough there should be hardware components linked to that.

Peter_King:
The multilateral development banks do that routinely, but many other donors (and governments) do not.

Bikram_Ghosh:
We also need to separate long term development goals from specific projects - the impact of specific projects maybe limited to a specific area of group whereas the overall impact of the policy objective maybe greater than the individual projects.

Peter_King:
Priyanka - what kind of hardware?

Peter_King:
How would you prioritize the provision of hardware??

Priyanka:
The projects on the ground ex water supply and infrastructure which can enhance resilience

Peter_King:
Is it a chicken and egg problem - without awareness, these kinds of projects may not be prioritized.

Priyanka:
Awareness is important but it should not be the only focus.

Peter_King:
Agreed

Shom Teoh:
Peter and Bikram, in your opinion which are the best countries/communities so far that we can look to as most 'successful' case studies of adaptation? In a sense that they are truly demonstrating an approach that challenges the conventional attitude of being reactive to disasters. In 30 years of human observation, sometimes I feel that perhaps it is not in human nature to be pre-emptive to disasters/threats, especially low-income people (who are about 90% of humans). :)

Shylene Belle Cadiao:
There are existing awareness and campaign on climate change adaptation (CCA) but not as extensive compared to awareness being done for disaster risk reduction.(DRR)

Shom Teoh:
Meaning to say, majority of humans will not be able to prioritize even when they know they are supposed to. So, we are hoping for something that is not reasonable. Lee, what do you say?

Peter_King:
The Pacific island countries have now recognized that disaster risk reduction and climate change need to be integrated into an overall regional strategy, as they see climate change as a survival issue.

Priyanka:
Maldives too have recognized that.

Bikram_Ghosh:
Indonesia is also currently looking at CCA through a DRR lens.

Peter_King:
Yes - unfortunately the adaptation options for low-lying atoll countries are not great.

Priyanka:
DRR is more attractive to the politicians and policy makers than CCA.

Peter_King:
It has greater urgency perhaps. So is it a sensible strategy to integrate CCA and DRR for other countries?

Eve_IGES:
Thanks Peter, I think it would be difficult for private sector to engage if the real impacts can only be measured after 10-15 years after project completion. I wonder if there are any other methods to show tangible impacts to encourage private sector engagement in adaptation projects.

Priyanka:
Therefore awareness on CCA should target the politicians and policy makers.

Bikram_Ghosh:
However, sometimes the disaster is not apparent - line increasing salinity of farmlands due to sea water infiltration.

Priyanka:
Agree with Eve.

Bikram_Ghosh:
There is no current disaster but the long-term disaster is food shortage.

Bikram_Ghosh:
How do we get policymakers to focus on such issues?

Lee_Baker:
I believe as impacts of climate change and climate variability increase DRR and CC will need to be linked.

Priyanka:
Economic costs of not having CCA has to be quantified and demonstrated

Peter_King:
Obviously the way most projects address the issue of impacts is to conduct economic, environmental, and social analysis, using feedback from previous projects. However for a specific project, then real impacts can only be measured by looking back.

Bikram_Ghosh:
Do we have any good examples from the group on linking DRR with CCA?

Shom Teoh:
Some experts have pointed out 30% (or more) of food produced today are wasted/thrown away. Many people in rich societies are overweight or suffering health issues not due to lack of food, but consumption of unhealthy food in a sedentary lifestyle. That the problem is more of distribution.

Priyanka:
Floods and droughts.

Peter_King:
Is part of the problem the excessive focus on projects? How effective are national plans like NAPAs and NAPs in helping to make sure that the most important issues are tackled?

Lee_Baker:
Pacifc countries working on NAPs like Tonga and RMI are grappling with linking DRR and CC.

Evi Damayanti:
What are the solution how to face the problem, based on your experience work with those countries?

Bikram_Ghosh:
Adapt currently supports a regional training program called the Economics of Climate Change in partnership with UNDP.

Bikram_Ghosh:
The program looks at sectoral analysis in conjunction with climate change data to project the economic impacts of climate change.

Bruce Carrad:
For NABARD on the chat: do you have any larger scale project concepts beyond the very small scale 5 that were sent to the Adaptation Fund? Possible GCF submissions?

Peter_King:
Evi - the key solution in my opinion is to get national planning agencies like BAPPENAS to wholeheartedly adopt climate change as a national priority and then look at all development issues through a climate lens.

Lee_Baker:
The goal has to be to take pilot projects to scale.

Priyanka:
UNDP Program is a good initiative however more widespread capacity building is required

Bruce Carrad:
Absolutely agree Lee -- upscaling and getting beyond pilots...

Bikram_Ghosh:
The ECCA program is a step towards looking at broader policy

Bikram_Ghosh:
Agreed Priyanaka - there is much more need for broader capacity building

Shom Teoh:
What are the main reasons that not as many pilots actually (as initially expected) mature into full-scale implementation?

Lee_Baker:
There is very little capacity building of government institutions associated with international intermediary project preparation.

Priyanka:
Community Flood Early warning Systems in Nepal and India has been very effective and needs upscaling

Shylene Belle Cadiao:
But would it be more effective if we're going to start at the bottom? i mean identifying problems from the community level and raising the identified to the higher level?

Peter_King:
Many of the small projects are not highly dependent on proving economic viability, but large projects are.

Peter_King:
The issue with starting with community-based adaptation is that it is really hard for communities to tap into the external funding sources

Priyanka:
Agree with Peter. More decentralized projects are required and they needs to demonstrate the economic benefits

Bruce Carrad:
Yes, correct. There are many proven small-scale approaches that work, and have proven economic value. Who is upscaling -- anyone at all?

Bikram_Ghosh:
It needs to go in both directions I believe - bottom up and top down.

Shom Teoh:
Why is there not enough funding for scaling up proven small-scale approaches? (is it because it is not sexy?)

Bikram_Ghosh:
Some of the larger impacts of cc can only be appreciated at the regional/national level.

Shom Teoh:
Is it because the small approaches are often implemented in the lower-income communities, which politicians/decision makers do not feel affectionate about?

Peter_King:
The Pilot Program for Climate Resilience has been a massively funded program, but now the challenge is to extract the lessons from those projects and apply them to a scaled up program in each of the pilot countries.

Bruce Carrad:
Shom: I feel it is because of lack of commitment institutionally and politically

Priyanka:
The donor agencies should target the small-scale approaches also in the funding calls.

Lee_Baker:
Community and other stakeholders obviously have to be involved in project design.

Priyanka:
Agree with Lee.

Bruce Carrad:
Multilateral agencies have the staff and resources to act -- and do so. Where are the requests from national agencies for help to upscale?

Peter_King:
Some of the national trust funds are targeting these smaller community projects, so that is another alternative which has proved successful

Shom Teoh:
Peter, which countries are those national trust funds in?

Peter_King:
Bruce - that brings us back to the NAPAs and NAPs - if they are not useful in attracting funds, why prepare them?

Bruce Carrad:
ADAPT is ready to help national level agencies and regional level agencies that want to upscale

Bikram_Ghosh:
Perhaps this goes back to the mainstreaming vs project dilemma

Peter_King:
Bangladesh, Indonesia, Tonga, Samoa, Bhutan to name a few

Priyanka:
How is ADAPT helping?

Lee_Baker:
Believe the strategic and planning frameworks for cca are in place in many countries but the capacity, coordination to move to implementation, project prep, etc. are not there.

Bikram_Ghosh:
If CCA is mainstreamed it may have a better chance of long term public funding?

Bruce Carrad:
Sure Peter. Funds are attracted to good projects and programs -- design help can be provided to national and regional agencies that want it

Shom Teoh:
I would like to quote Dr. Ky from Can Tho on this: “Please do not use the word "mainstreaming" since this term makes the development and adaptation are two separate activities, even contradictory. We can see many constructions which can meet development goals has to cope done on many countries. In Can Tho we built river embankments combine road for erosion control as a way to meet the needs of human transportation or flood control when necessary.”

TerenceHay-Edie:
Here is one example of taking CBA small grants to scale: http://icccad.net/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/cba_namibia_report_final_ju...

Shom Teoh:
“Development activities and adaptation activities in the future must be one activity, which is the correct view. Because when you think this way, the economy will grow thanks to adaptation activities instead of you spend money just for adaptation.”

Lee_Baker:
Adapt is supporting countries to achieve direct access to climate financing and to prepare projects for climate financing.

Shom Teoh:
Which countries have been successfully framing the adaptation work as a jobs-generating strategy, rather than a harm avoidance strategy?

Peter_King:
Shom - part of the problem is that developing countries insist that they did not cause climate change (correctly) so that developed countries should pay for climate change adaptation - polluter pays principle.

Priyanka:
It has been used as a livelihood strategy specially adaptation in agriculture aquaculture etc.

Shom Teoh:
Yes, peter. That is an ethical issue. However, I'm sure most developed countries do not believe the same.

Priyanka:
Agree with Shom.

Bikram_Ghosh:
The NAP process also looks as adaptation as a sustainability and livelihoods protection strategy

vsbala:
Hello. Good Morning to everyone from India. Sorry to join late.

Lee_Baker:
Adapt's adaptation project prep work with UNDP in Cambodia has a strong gender livelihoods component.

Peter_King:
We will see if the Green Climate Fund makes good on its promise to have 50% go to adaptation and 50% of that to LDCs, Africa etc.

Shom Teoh:
I find that this community is not able to scratch at the real problem. The polluters pay principle is sound, but there is no one to enforce it. In fact, some rich countries use free trade rules to prevent/discourage enforcement of polluters pay principle.

Bruce Carrad:
Let’s take the India example: there are good 3 pilots approved by Adaptation fund. Nothing at scale has appeared on the horizon -- say state level upscaling -- this would require significant discussion/coordination of course -- but the initiative needs to be taken to get started...

Priyanka:
Allocating funds is fine. However in some donor projects high percentage of funds go for staff salaries, travel, accommodation and per diem and not for adaptation activities on the ground.

Lee_Baker:
This will be very difficult with GCF's current stringent project prep and financing terms.

APAN:
We have a question shared in advance from Jim Hicklin at the Ministry of Finance, Republic of the Marshall Islands: Where can one find information regarding best practices in adaptation measures, especially for island environments? Anyone in the group is welcomed to answer.

vsbala:
In India, we need lot of capacity building efforts on CCA project preparation itself. Lot of gap in understanding exists.

Bruce Carrad:
PACC program 2009 to 2014 -- plenty of excellent examples, including for the Marshall Islands

Bruce Carrad:
Hi Bala -- agree on this. Leadership is needed to bring the parties together and get started.

Shom Teoh:
I suggest Jim to allocate some funds to hire a person to first conduct a Google literature review and analysis.

Lee_Baker:
Often a change in institutional mindset is required; more than simply more and more capacity building.

Peter_King:
Actually several of the low-lying atoll countries now need to decide on adapt or retreat. Some are buying land to move their entire population away from unsafe islands.

Bruce Carrad:
Hi Shom: the PACC program, SPREP under google.com -- plenty of information for JIM in RMI.

APAN:
A quick time check, everyone: we have 10 mins left in this live chat session. Please feel free to post any final questions before we begin to wrap up.

Eve_IGES:
Hi all, APAN has an adaptation good practices database if anyone's interested. Link - http://www.asiapacificadapt.net/adaptation-practices

Priyanka:
Deciding to adapt or retreat is important. Having a lot of land reclamation is not worth.

Peter_King:
Contributions to the database are welcome too :)

vsbala:
True, Lee Baker. I take it from the State Level CCA plans where in business as usual cases are presented for adaptation funding which may not get through with the funding norms.

Keith Bettinger:
There's also NOAA's Pacific RISA program at the East West Center that is a good source of information on adaptation for small islands in the Pacific.

Peter_King:
I am still wondering what are the problems in identifying the priorities, getting organized to find solutions, and then just getting on with it

Shom Teoh:
Peter, do you think there's a difference between adaptation as a 'livelihood' strategy over a 'job-creation' strategy?

Peter_King:
If we were about to be hit by an asteroid, would we take this slow laborious approach?

Shom Teoh:
After all, 'job creation' sounds more appealing to the 'private sector' and politicians?

Bikram_Ghosh:
To add to Peter's question - what are some examples of process for identifying priorities?

Peter_King:
What are the long term jobs for adaptation - building thousands of km of sea walls?

Shom Teoh:
If people truly believe they need to adapt (for example, structural measures), there's lots of work to be done and money to be made by the construction and periphery businesses

Lee_Baker:
Strategizing and planning are often institutionally siloed, with implementation requiring cross-institutional cooperation and coordination which is always difficult.

Shom Teoh:
Peter... that's just the engineering solution. What about solutions for decentralized, small-scale self-sufficiency systems that would work well in disasters when centralized systems are broken?

Bruce Carrad:
Semantics only, Shom -- "getting on with it" is the key. How to take this chat next time to some decision makers at the national level?

Shom Teoh:
The big people gravitate to the expensive, construction-heavy projects because of the opportunities for corruption and limiting the spoils to a circle of associates.

Peter_King:
Are the INDCs which are being submitted to the UNFCCC one way of identifying priorities?

Peter_King:
Or will they only cover mitigation?

Lee_Baker:
Identifying priorities is pretty well understood; moving forward is the issue!!

Shom Teoh:
Yes, Lee!!

Peter_King:
What about the research and development - isn't that also lagging behind? For example, rice crops not using irrigation water or using saline water.

Lee_Baker:
Often it's two sets of people preparing the strategies vs. the projects. Project people need to be brought in at the planning stage.

Shom Teoh:
Lee, why are project people not being brought to the planning stage?

APAN:
We have a couple more minutes left in this chat - I think we've established today that moving priorities into actual projects and adaptation activities remain a big challenge for many countries.

Shylene Belle Cadiao:
Or drought resistant seeds... I guess research institutions can also be of great help in CCA.

Peter_King:
Are we too busy looking for the technological solutions rather than resolving the institutional and coordination issues?

Lee_Baker:
Mindset of strategy vs. project people.

Shom Teoh:
Our political systems are not well suited for responding to disasters. This is even worse in developing economies where politicians and business people are sometimes the same persons.

Bruce Carrad:
Hi Peter: suggestion for APAN chat -- get national agency leaders on-line.

vsbala:
Lee, what do you mean by mindset, routine thinking and style working in a box or anything else?

APAN:
Our time in this chat is up - are there any final words from the group before hearing last words from Peter and Lee.

Lee_Baker:
Planners vs. project people -- often two separate camps.

Peter_King:
If we agree that we more or less know what needs to be done (and some rough priorities) then we need to ask why we are not getting on with it. How do we reach out to the blockers, denialists, and tight-fisted finance officials?

APAN:
Final words from Lee and Peter before we close this chat

Shom Teoh:
We need to make planners and project people friends and like working with each other :)

Lee_Baker:
Let's try to find the ways to integrate project design into planning and strategy exercises.

Shom Teoh:
ADB should fund parties for planners and project people so they can interact more

vsbala:
Let us try for that...

Shylene Belle Cadiao:
And stop blaming and start finding solutions, right?

APAN:
Thank you all again for all your contributions and another fruitful discussion. We'll share a full transcript of this chat shortly.

Peter_King:
Thanks to everyone - let's keep the conversation going - online and everywhere we have an opportunity to make a difference.

Lee_Baker:
Thanks everyone!!

Shom Teoh:
Oh yeah!!

vsbala:
Thanks you all..

Shylene Belle Cadiao:
thank you all :)

APAN:
Thank you all - the chat is now closed. Until the next chat!