Posted on 14 January 2021
Rich countries have a moral responsibility to ensure there are sufficient resources allocated to poor countries to implement adaptation plans.
14 January 2021 – While the world’s attention is necessarily focused on the COVID-19 pandemic, it is imperative to not lose sight of the need to step up adaptation action now. Failure to do so could have catastrophic economic and societal impacts, according to a new UN report published today.
Reflecting on the UN Environment Programme’s Adaptation Gap 2020 report, WWF senior advisor for global adaptation policy Sandeep Chamling Rai said, “The climate impacts that we are experiencing now are just the tip of the iceberg. These impacts are only going to get worse over time. It is vital that countries move to faster implementation of their National Adaptation action Plans, and that globally, there is greater investment to support building climate resilience.”
Adaptation – reducing countries’ and communities’ vulnerability to climate change by increasing their ability to adapt to impacts – is a key pillar of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change. The agreement requires its signatories to implement adaptation measures through national plans, climate information systems, early warning, protective measures and investments in a green future.
Key findings from the report show that almost three-quarters of nations have some adaptation plans in place, but financing and implementation fall far short of what is needed; financing for adaptation is only 5% of tracked climate funds (around US$30 billion per year); and Nature-based Solutions is critical for adaptation and needs to receive more attention.
Nature-based Solutions provide human well-being and biodiversity benefits by protecting, sustainably managing and restoring natural or modified ecosystems.
Chamling Rai said, “In the adaptation context, Nature-based Solutions are a low-cost option that reduces climate risks, restores and protects biodiversity and brings benefits for communities and economies. It is a triple win for people, planet and nature.”
UNEP Executive Director Inger Andersen said, “As the UN Secretary-General has said, we need a global commitment to put half of all global climate finance towards adaptation in the next year. This will allow a huge step up in adaptation – in everything from early warning systems to resilient water resources to nature-based solutions.”
Chamling Rai said: “2021 must be the year for scaling up adaptation efforts and uniting together for global ambition on adaptation implementation. Rich countries have a moral responsibility to ensure there are sufficient resources allocated to poor countries to implement adaptation plans. Poor countries are, after all, least responsible for climate change, but are most at risk.”
WWF is working across the globe to build more climate resilient societies and ecosystems, including through Nature-based Solutions and innovative financial solutions. For example, WWF and partners are collaborating on the ambitious Resilient Asian Deltas initiative to help stop the deltas from sinking and shrinking and keep them above the rising seas. WWF is also co-managing the game-changing Dutch Fund for Climate and Development, which uses public funds to leverage new private finance into bankable projects that build climate resilience.
Notes for Editors:
Useful facts from the UNEP Adaptation Gap 2020 report:
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- Adaptation planning is growing, but funding and implementation is lagging.
- 72% of countries have adopted at least one national-level adaptation planning instrument.
- Most developing countries are preparing National Adaptation Plans (NAPs).
- Since 2006, close to 400 adaptation projects financed by multilateral funds serving the Paris Agreement have taken place in developing countries. But of over 1,700 adaptation initiatives surveyed, only 3% had already reported real reductions to climate risks posed to the communities where the projects were being implemented.
- The Green Climate Fund has allocated 40% of its total portfolio to adaptation and is increasingly crowding-in private sector investment.
- An analysis of four major climate and development funds (Global Environment Facility, Green Climate Fund, Adaptation Fund and International Climate Initiative) show that only US$ 12 billion was spent on Nature-based Solutions, while cumulative investment for climate change mitigation and adaptation projects under the four funds stood at USD 94 billion.