UNEP calls for action to close adaptation gap on Climate change


Anjali Sharma

GG News Bureau

UNITED NATIONS, 3rd  Nov. UN Environment Programme on Thursday issued a report on the Adaptation Gap Report 2023 reported that instead of accelerating to meet the challenge of rising emissions, progress on climate adaptation is slowing across the board.

The Adaptation Gap Report 2023 issued by UNEP said the world is underprepared, under invested and lacking the necessary planning, leaving us all exposed. It warns that instead of speeding up, progress on adapting to climate change is stalling.

The agency said that the slowdown extends to finance, planning and implementation with massive implications for loss and damage, particularly for the most vulnerable.

UN chief Guterres commented on the report’s findings stated“Today’s report shows the gap in adaptation funding is the highest ever. The world must take action to close the adaptation gap and deliver climate justice.”

The report noted that the updated adaptation costs for developing countries are estimated at $215 billion to $387 billion annually this decade, reflecting higher estimates than previous studies which are bound to increase significantly by 2050.

The needs of developing countries are 10-18 times higher than the flow of public financing – over 50 per cent higher than the previous estimated range.

It said despite pledges made at COP26 in Glasgow to double adaptation finance support to around $40 billion per year by 2025, public multilateral and bilateral adaptation finance flows to developing countries declined by 15 per cent to around $21 billion in 2021.

The adaptation finance gap is now estimated to be $194-366 billion per year.

The report cited a study that indicated the 55 most climate-vulnerable economies alone have experienced loss and damage valued at more than $500 billion in the last two decades.

Costs are likely to rise steeply in the coming decades, particularly in the absence of forceful mitigation and adaptation.

The new loss and damage fund will be an important instrument to mobilize resources, but issues remain, as the fund will need to move towards more innovative financing mechanisms to reach the necessary scale of investment.

Mr. Guterres thinks one source could come in tax revenue from the big emitters and polluters.

“Fossil fuel barons and their enablers have helped create this mess; they must support those suffering as a result,” he said in his message.

He called on governments to tax the “windfall profits of the fossil fuel industry”, and to devote some of those funds to countries suffering loss and damage.

Authors of the report advocate for an ambitious adaptation: it can enhance resilience is important for low-income countries and disadvantaged groups, including women.

The report reiterated that every $1 billion invested in adaptation against coastal flooding leads to a US $14 billion reduction in economic damages, while $16 billion per year invested in agriculture could help an astonishing 78 million people avoid starvation or chronic hunger due to climate impacts.

UNEP report identifies ways to increase financing, including through domestic expenditure and international and private sector finance.

It noted more avenues include remittances, increasing and tailoring finance to Small and Medium Enterprises, shifting finance flows towards low-carbon and climate resilient development pathways, and a reform of the global financial architecture.

Mr. Guterres pointed out that “Multilateral Development Banks should also allocate at least fifty percent of climate finance to adaptation and change their business models to mobilize far more private finance to protect communities from climate extremes,”.

Guterres said “We need bold action to respond to escalating loss and damage that results from climate extremes.”

“All parties must operationalize the Loss and Damage Fund at COP28 this year. And we need new and early pledges to get the fund started on a strong footing”.

We are in an adaptation emergency. We must act like it. And take steps to close the adaptation gap, now,” he added.

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