Operationalizing the Global Goal on Adaptation: Insights into the UAE-Belém Work Programme

May 15, 2024

Amidst concerns about the accelerating pace of climate change and the need to significantly increase scale and speed of adaptation efforts, the 2015 Paris Agreement introduced for the first time a Global Goal on Adaptation (GGA). The GGA aims to enhance adaptive capacity and resilience and reduce vulnerability to the impacts of climate change with the view to contributing to sustainable development.1

The Paris Agreement provided no detailed blueprint for the architecture and implementation of the GGA. Consequently, at COP26, the Glasgow-Sharm el-Sheikh (GlaSS) work programme was launched with the mandate to conceptualize and define the GGA within a framework. The work on the GlaSS work programme concluded at COP28/CMA.5 in December 2023, after eight intersessional workshops and associated reports. 

Adopting the UAE Framework for Global Climate Resilience

This two-year initiative helped craft a framework to guide efforts and evaluate progress on achieving the GGA, with a primary focus on setting targets. It led to the adoption of the UAE Framework for Global Climate Resilience. The Framework includes seven thematic targets and four targets in relation to the dimensions of the iterative adaptation cycle. 

The thematic targets focus on enhancing resilience across key areas: water security and sanitation, food and agriculture, health, ecosystems and biodiversity, infrastructure and human settlements, poverty eradication and livelihoods, and the protection of cultural heritage.

The framework also includes the following targets pertaining to the iterative adaptation cycle: i) by 2030, all Parties have conducted climate impact, vulnerability, and risk assessments, and established multi-hazard early warning systems and climate information services by 2027; ii) by 2030, all Parties have in place inclusive, transparent, and comprehensive National Adaptation Plans (NAPs) and mainstreamed adaptation into all relevant strategies; iii) by 2030, all Parties have progressed in implementing these adaptation plans to reduce the social and economic impacts of climate hazards; and iv) by 2030, all Parties have established systems for monitoring, evaluation, and learning to support national adaptation efforts and have built the necessary institutional capacity.

Launching the UAE-Belém work programme

The Framework also launched a new initiative named the “UAE-Belém work programme on indicators for measuring progress achieved towards the targets of the GGA framework” (hereafter called “the UAE-Belém work programme” or “work programme”), aiming to identify and develop relevant indicators and potential quantified elements for measuring progress achieved towards the targets listed above. In their submissions,2 many countries and observer organizations advocate for a combination of 'core' and 'voluntary' indicators to be included in the final outcome package of this work programme.

As part of this work programme, the Chairs of the subsidiary bodies have been mandated by the COP to organize an inaugural workshop to take place from 15th to 17th May 2024 in a hybrid format, with the in-person component held in Thimphu, Bhutan. The workshop brings together representatives of UNFCCC Parties and observer organizations, including technical experts and practitioners.

Insights on the May 2024 workshop

The first session of the workshop will offer more in-depth opportunities to reflect on experiences from other processes regarding indicator development, drawing from sources such as the Sustainable Development Goals, the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, and the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework, among others. The session will also help identify practical challenges in developing indicators that can reflect the highly-context specific nature and diverse range of adaptation efforts.

In the subsequent sessions, participants will engage in substantive dialogue to further characterize the targets, identify connections and synergies, and consider criteria for designing indicator processes. This will include looking at ways to integrate diverse perspectives, particularly those of vulnerable groups and indigenous communities.

The final sessions will help chart a structured approach for this work, aiming to achieve a desirable outcome by CMA.7/COP30. 

Questions to address at the workshop

The workshop will seek to address questions such as: 

  • What can we learn from past experiences within and outside the UNFCCC to develop effective indicators?
  • What challenges may arise in indicator development and reporting, and how can these be addressed?
  • What synergies exist between different thematic targets and between thematic and dimensional targets, and how can these be leveraged to enhance resilience-building efforts?
  • How can indicators be designed to meaningfully integrate social information systems and perspectives of diverse and disadvantaged groups? 
  • What criteria should guide the design of indicator development processes to ensure effectiveness and inclusivity? How can indicator development processes be structured to accommodate the diverse needs and contexts of different countries?
  • What is the best way to conduct the work under the UAE-Belém work programme efficiently to achieve a desirable outcome by COP30? 

Anticipating negotiations at SB60 and beyond

The outcome of this workshop will set the stage to the discussions at the next climate negotiation sessions in Bonn, Germany, from June 3-13, 2024 (SB 60), including by identifying potential linkages to these forthcoming sessions.

At a minimum, Parties will need to leave the June negotiations with a clear roadmap for organizing work for the remainder of the year as well as the rest of the two-year work programme, including expectations for COP29. This could include submissions, expert meetings, technical workshops, and any other formats conducive to deep technical work and political decisions.3

Linkages to other agenda items

Both the May workshop and June sessions also need to unpack the linkages between the work programme and other agenda items, such as the assessment of progress in NAPs in 2024. A stocktaking meeting took place in April on the margins of the NAP Expo, and further discussions on this topic will be held at SB60 and conclude at COP29 in December 2024. Parties could identify a process for the conclusions of this NAP assessment to feed into the UAE-Belém work programme, including through relevant mandates to the Adaptation Committee and the Least Developed Countries Expert Group.

Considering the urgent need for enhanced adaptation action and support, particularly for developing countries facing acute vulnerability to climate change, some countries are proposing the inclusion of indicators to measure the provision of means of implementation. These indicators would assess the support provided by developed countries to developing countries, particularly in terms of finance, technology transfer, and capacity-building.

On finance specifically, the ongoing negotiations on long-term climate finance are geared towards defining a new ambitious financial target (called the new collective quantified goal) and encouraging developed countries to increase their contributions to adaptation finance. The finance needs of developing countries for adaptation are estimated to be between USD 215–387 billion annually up until 2030.4 The UAE-Belém work programme on indicators could contribute to tracking climate finance for adaptation to support work towards addressing this gap.

Among the indicators proposed by countries and observer organizations in their submissions on the UAE-Belém work programme, several focus on measuring losses, particularly economic losses. This underscores the connection between insufficient or ineffective adaptation and climate-induced loss and damage that far exceeds the scale of necessary investments for its prevention. Therefore, there is a need to follow discussions on loss and damage at SB60 and beyond to understand their implications for the work on resilience indicators and mandate the Warsaw Executive Committee as well as the newly established Santiago Network to engage with the UAE-Belém work programme. 

The way forward

As the first workshop under the new UAE-Belém work programme, the hybrid event in Bhutan allows Parties and observers to set the scene and define modalities as well as key thematic areas and approaches for the rest of the work programme towards COP29 and COP30. The development of indicators for the UAE Framework on Global Climate Resilience will allow for the operationalization of targets and track and scale up ambitious climate change adaptation and resilience-building efforts across the world. The workshop can provide a solid foundation for coordinated and meaningful work under the UAE-Belém work programme and lay the foundation, with continued efforts in the remainder of 2024, to potentially adopt an initial set of core indicators at COP29.


  1. Article 7.1 of the Paris Agreement
  2. Synthesis of the first submissions on the UAE-Belém work programme on indicators available on the UNFCCC website at: https://unfccc.int/documents/638384.
  3. As per the submissions from countries and observer organizations.
  4. Decision 1/CMA.5, paragraph 68.

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About the Author
Sadya Ndoko

Sadya Ndoko is a Consultant who collaborates with Slycan Trust on their work on climate adaptation. Her career has spanned roles at the United Nations Development Programme and the Secretariat of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Her academic background includes an Msc in Cities Design and Social Science from the London School of Economics and Political Science, a master’s degree in Political Science from the Université des Antilles and a Beng in Civil and Environmental Engineering from the University College.