Adaptation target not keeping pace with growing risks: UNEP Report
Days ahead of the Conference of the Parties (COP27) climate summit in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, a UN report has pointed out that global efforts in adaptation planning, its financing and implementation are not keeping pace with the growing risks.
“The international adaptation finance flows to developing countries are five to 10 times below estimated needs despite eight out of 10 countries having at least one national adaptation planning instrument,” said the United Nations Environment Programme’s (UNEP) Adaptation Gap Report 2022 titled “Too Little, Too Slow: Climate adaptation failure puts world at risk”.
Flow of international adaptation finance to developing countries grew 4 per cent from 2019 to reach $29 billion in 2020 — 34 per cent of overall climate finance. But this falls short of the estimated $160-$340 billion needed by 2030.
“Combined adaptation and mitigation finance flows in 2020 fell at least $17 billion short of the $100 billion pledged to developing countries,” the report said. A third of the 197 countries that are party to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) have incorporated quantified and time-bound targets on adaptation.
UN Secretary-General António Guterres Emphasising said: “At least half of all climate finance should flow towards adaptation.” He highlighted four critical ways — a road map with clear milestones, unprecedented coordination among recipient governments, better climate risk data and information, and universal early warning systems —to meet the growing risks of climate emergencies.
The report said that a multi-year drought in the Horn of Africa, unprecedented flooding in South Asia, and severe summer heat across the northern hemisphere point to mounting climate risks resulting from only a 1.1°C rise above pre-industrial temperatures.
“Climate change is landing blow after blow upon humanity, as we saw throughout 2022. Nations need to back the strong words in the Glasgow Climate Pact with strong action to increase adaptation investments and outcomes, starting at COP27,” said Inger Andersen, executive director, UNEP.
According to the UNEP’s Emissions Gap Report, Nationally Determined Contributions under the Paris Agreement point towards global warming of 2.4-2.6°C by the end of the century.
Research from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says that climate risks will intensify with each tenth of a degree. Such trends mean that adaptation must take centre stage.
The UNEP report said that linking adaptation and mitigation actions — such as nature-based solutions — from the outset in planning, finance and implementation can enhance co-benefits. It could also limit potential trade-offs, such as hydropower reducing food security or irrigation increasing energy consumption.
Loss and damages (L&D) also is in focus in the UNEP report. Stressing the need for L&D funds, Guterres said COP27 must provide a clear road map on closing the finance gap for addressing loss and damage.
“This will be a central litmus test for success at COP27,” he said.
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