DRC makes strides in adaptation planning and validates a first National Adaptation Plan
In the midst of the on-going COVID-19 pandemic and a recent Ebola outbreak in 2021, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) advanced their adaptation planning nonetheless. In January 2021, relevant stakeholders in the country validated their first National Adaptation Plan during a virtual workshop. This strategic document was the final deliverable of the Readiness Programme ‘Planning for medium-term investment for adaptation in climate-sensitive sectors in the Democratic Republic of Congo: advancing the National Adaptation Plan (NAP)’ (2018-2020) funded by the Green Climate Fund (GCF) in collaboration with the NAP Global Support Programme (NAP GSP).
This first NAP provides a consolidation of the core information. It includes an extensive benchmark on adaptation capacities in the DRC, a first set of adaptation options to be implemented, and a way forward for developing the plan further. A NAP requires a large array of data about the impacts of climate change in the country’s most vulnerable sectors from local to national levels. This was made possible through the GCF Readiness Programme that was launched in February 2018 by the Ministry of the Environment and Sustainable Development in (MEDD) with UNDP, and funded studies to fill some of the remaining knowledge gaps in climate change adaptation.
It builds on the existing policies and plans related to climate change and the country’s development in general, including the National Climate Change Policy, Strategy and Action Plan (PSPA-CC), the National Strategic Plan for Development (PNSD), the National Determined Contributions (NDCs), the second and third National Communications to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), and the provincial plans among others. On a larger scale, UNDP’s work on first NAPs is aligned with the LEG’s vision and its technical guidelines. It is also an effort to strengthen the current national climate targets developed under the Paris Agreement through the Climate Promise.
|Photo credit: Julie Teng|
As the GCF Readiness project concluded in December 2020, the workshop was an opportunity for the main stakeholders in adaptation to reflect on work achieved over the last two years, which included this first NAP. Numerous studies on climate change adaptation were conducted and led to capacity building trainings and sensitisation workshops in the provinces of Kinshasa, Haut-Katanga, Tshopo, Kwilu, Kongo-Central. Information sharing mechanisms were also strengthened with the setting up of a community radio network and the creation of an online database. A component of the project focused on the integration of women and indigenous peoples’ considerations into the PSPA-CC, PNSD, the National Investment Plan Agriculture (PNIA) and other provincial plans.
To further strengthen national capacities, institutional barriers assessments and capacity building plans were completed at national and subnational levels. Lastly, the programme provided strategies to attract climate investments from the private sector. Important studies were also produced to support the future development of project proposals based on priorities identified in the first NAP and throughout project implementation. An important step of the NAP process was thus concluded after its launch in October 2014 with the assistance of the UNDP-UNEP NAP-GSP.
However, further work is needed to advance the plan. The NAP demands continuous updates to adjust to the evolving and still greatly unknown effects of climate change, especially in a country ranked in the top five most vulnerable countries in the world in term of resilience to climate change. The Readiness Programme has laid the foundation for a holistic and robust NAP process in the country that needs to be followed through with additional financing and support from new initiatives. To that effect, it is expected that another potential Readiness Programme – which is in the drafting stage – will continue to advance the process to formulate and implement the NAP, while strengthening technical and institutional capacities in the DRC.
Story by Thibault Le Pivain, Project Support Officer in Climate Change Adaptation, UNDP.
 ND-GAIN (2018). ND-GAIN Country Index – Ranking. Online: https://gain.nd.edu/our-work/country-index/rankings/.
 Agriculture, energy and transport, forestry, water, health and coastal zones.