Mainstreaming Climate Change in National Development Processes and UN Country Programming: A guide to assist UN Country Teams in integrating climate change risks and opportunities.
Type of tool
Climate change poses a serious challenge to the attainment of the Millennium
Development Goals. Changing rainfall and climate patterns and rising sea levels
will exacerbate existing economic, political and humanitarian stresses and
affect human development in all parts of the world. This is especially true for
countries that rely heavily on climate-vulnerable sectors such as agriculture,
water resources, forests and biodiversity to maintain and improve the living
conditions of their populations.
It is therefore important to manage climate change risks as part of our
development approach. Integrating climate change as a cross-cutting issue
in development plans will protect hard-won advances made to date--and to
be made in the future--in reducing poverty worldwide. Such an integrated
approach will make development more resilient by reducing climate impacts
and identifying development opportunities that may otherwise be overlooked.
For instance, an integrated approach would highlight the risk of rising sea levels
in the development of a national strategy on coastal tourism.
The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) provides policy and
capacity development services on climate change to support developing
countries to respond to climate change impacts and to integrate climate
risks into national planning and UN programming. Through these services,
UNDP supports national and sub-national governments to transform their
development path to a low-emission and ecologically sustainable future.
Mainstreaming (or integrating) climate change in planning and decisionmaking
processes is a crucial tool to ensure climate change adaptation and
poverty reduction are implemented hand-in-hand. This approach involves
taking into account risks and opportunities while putting in place adaptation
measures that are attuned to the long-term vision of development.
Mainstreaming climate change into national policies, plans, and development
projects contributes to:
• reducing vulnerability to climate impacts and variability,
• increasing the adaptive capacity of communities and national
activities facing climate impacts, and
• ensuring sustainable development and avoiding decisions that will
In 2009, UNDP’s Environment and Energy Group launched a project entitled
Integrating Climate Change Risks and Opportunities into National Development
Processes and UN Country Programming (hereon the “Climate Risk Project”),
funded by the Government of Spain. The project was implemented in
five countries: Cape Verde, Colombia, El Salvador, Malawi, and Nicaragua.
The Climate Risk Project was developed to pilot a process to mainstream
climate change in UN and government development planning, as well as build
national capacity to do so. The process can be replicated by following six steps:
Step 1: Create a Country Climate Profile;
Step 2: Prepare an Institutional Map;
Step 3: Engage stakeholders and select the document to be assessed
for climate risks and opportunities;
Step 4: Assess climate change risks and opportunities
Step 5: Build the capacity of stakeholders; and
Step 6: Mainstream climate change into the revised document.
The purpose of this publication is to describe in a practical manner the sixstep
process that proved effective in the Project, in order to assist non-climate
experts in UN Country Teams to apply the mainstreaming process in their
national context. The Guide proposes a set of best practices and identifies
crucial issues to consider.
Please download the PDF Guide