COP26 urged to prioritize adaptation to the climate emergency

COP26 urged to prioritize adaptation to the climate emergency

In the wake of last month’s warning from the United Nations climate science panel that extreme weather and rising seas are hitting faster than expected, leaders called for more money and political will to help people adjust to the new reality.
In a dialogue in Rotterdam hosted by the Global Adaptation Center on Monday, more than 50 ministers and heads of climate organizations and development banks called for the November COP26 climate talks to address the issue of climate change. adaptation as “urgent”.

In a statement, they said adaptation – which ranges from building higher defenses against floods to growing more drought-tolerant crops and relocating coastal communities – had not benefited from the same. Be careful, the same resources or the same level of action as efforts to reduce global warming emissions.

This has left communities around the world “exposed to a climate emergency that is unfolding faster than expected,” they said.

“Adaptation can no longer be under-prioritized,” they added. “It is imperative that COP26 initiates an acceleration of adaptation efforts to enable the world to keep pace with this deepest and most ambitious emergency. “

They warned that the COP26 summit, to be held in the UK, would only succeed if it made advancing adaptation efforts a priority equal to reducing carbon emissions.

“The impacts are enormous”

The Rotterdam meeting – attended by former UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon, UN climate chief Patricia Espinosa and director of the International Monetary Fund Kristalina Georgieva – heard from representatives of nations countries, small island developing states and other climate-vulnerable countries.

Ban Ki-moon, President of the JSA, delivers a speech in Rotterdam, the Netherlands [Robin Utrecht/ANP/AFP]

They explained how communities are grappling with exceptionally severe floods, droughts and storms, as well as the COVID-19 pandemic, rolling back hard-earned development gains and uprooting people in the slums or even beyond. national borders after finding it impossible to survive on their land.

“We are now living in the eye of the storm. Adapting the world to our climate emergency is essential for our security, even as we fight a global pandemic, ”said Patrick Verkooijen, CEO of the Global Center on Adaptation, at the opening of the dialogue.

“Millions of lives and the safety of communities around the world are already at stake,” he added.

Akinwumi Adesina, president of the African Development Bank, told Al Jazeera that Africa is experiencing “a lot of problems” due to climate change such as droughts, floods and cyclones.

“The impacts are enormous. Africa is now losing $ 7 billion to $ 15 billion a year in terms of climate change, and if that doesn’t change, it will amount to around $ 50 billion by 2040, “Adesina said.

“It’s never too late [to bring about change]. What Africa needs is to mobilize resources …

Lack of money

Senior officials present called for an urgent increase in international funding to help fund adaptation efforts in the poorest countries, which have long suffered from a lack of liquidity.

UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina J Mohammed stressed the need for “massively increased investments in adaptation and resilience,” which she said was “absolutely critical for those on the front lines. of the climate crisis ”.

She noted that only about a fifth of climate finance has been funneled into adaptation efforts and “only a fraction” of the estimated $ 70 billion that developing countries now need to deal with the effects of global warming is provided. .

The richest countries are under pressure to allocate half of their climate finance to adaptation.

But more than a decade after they pledged to put adaptation finance and emissions reductions on an equal footing, adaptation’s share remains stubbornly low, in part because much should be given in the form of grants, not loans.

UN climate chief Espinosa said on Twitter on Monday that at least 125 of 154 developing countries had started work on national adaptation plans.

She and former UN chief Ban, who chairs the Global Center on Adaptation, said much larger amounts of funding were needed to put those plans into practice.

Georgieva, who chaired Monday’s meeting, said the IMF was discussing with its member countries how to allocate some of the money they received from a recent Special Drawing Rights allocation to a new one. “Trust for Resilience and Sustainability” to help vulnerable countries undertake reforms to tackle climate change. .


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