Integrating Climate Change Adaptation with the SDGs and the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction

Vositha Wijenayake

Three landmark global agendas were produced in 2015: the Paris Agreement, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) within the framework of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015–2030.[1]

The Paris Agreement aims to mitigate climate change and to adapt to adverse effects of climate change, as well as making finance for climate action consistent for climate-resilient development.[2] The SDGs are 17 goals that have been modeled after the success of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). They address global challenges and aim to provide a blueprint for a more sustainable future, with goal 13 in specific focusing on addressing climate change and its impacts.[3]


The Sendai Framework is the successor instrument to the Hyogo Framework for Action (HFA). It notes that climate change exacerbates many disasters and increases both their frequency and intensity, which hinders sustainable development.[4]


Integrating climate adaptation, SDGs, and the Sendai Framework


Many countries and stakeholders have noted an interest in integrating approaches to adaptation, sustainable development, and disaster risk reduction.[5] Experts consider that these three agendas should not be applied separately[6] and should instead be implemented as components of one agenda. Enhanced coherence, coordination, and integration among the three agendas could bring a number of advantages. It could contribute to identifying and reducing actions that further one set of goals while undermining others; it could avoid contradictions among the three agendas[7]; and it could increase overall efficiency and facilitate a better use of resources and available capacities.[8]


National Adaptation Plans (NAPs) process under the UNFCCC process is considered[9] an option for improving medium-term and long-term integration of the three agendas by reducing vulnerabilities to adverse impacts of climate change, building resilience, and safeguarding development.[10] Resilience and resilient ecosystems could act as core motivation for integration and tie it to national and international disaster risk reduction efforts.

Capacity building

Effective and efficient integration of adaptation, SDGs, and the Sendai Framework requires planning and coordinated efforts across multiple levels. Cross-sectoral and inter-ministerial collaboration could be challenging requiring capacity building of stakeholders.[11]


The unavailability of data on many indicators has been pointed out as a major problem, especially in Africa and SIDS (Small Island Developing States). Capacity building to address gaps and constraints related to data availability[12], and allocating resources for the collection and management of data are pivotal for integrating the three agendas.[13]Capacity building on climate model projections, trainings on climate science, and climate information also contribute to achieving the targets of all three agendas.[14]


Furthermore, capacity building on the NAP process is important for integrating climate change adaptation with the SDGs, and the Sendai Framework in medium- and long-term planning processes.[15]



Countries are interested in integrating the three post-2015 agendas and common themes of resilience and ecosystems. NAPs could be a tool that facilitates organising integrated planning, which could in turn contribute to resilience building across societies.[16]


However, challenges exist. Capacity building and resource support are necessary to ensure multi-stakeholder driven, efficiently coordinated actions at national and sub-national levels. Access to finance, technology development, and technology transfer are crucial for the effective integration of climate change adaptation with the SDGs and the Sendai Framework, particularly for developing countries.[17]

[1] Available at:

[2] Ibid.

[3] Ibid.

[4] United Nations General Assembly resolution 69/283, paragraph 16

[5] Available at:

[6] Youssef Nassef, Director of Climate Change Adaptation Programme, UNFCCC. Available at:

[7] Available at:

[8] Ibid.

[9] Climate Change Secretariat of Sri Lanka. 2016. National Adaptation Plan for Climate Change Impacts in Sri Lanka. Available at

[10] Youssef Nassef, Director, Adaptation Programme of the UNFCCC. Available at:

[11] Available at:

[12] Available at:

[13] Available at:

[14] Ibid.

[15] Ibid.

[16] Ibid.

[17] Available at:

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About the Author
Vositha Wijenayake

Vositha is an attorney-at-law specialising in public international law, with a focus on international environmental law, UN human rights law, refugee law and EU law. She has over a decade of experience in working on climate change, at national and international level.