The Climate Adaptation Summit on 25–26 January 2021 has brought together 30 world leaders, 50 ministers and 50 international organisations, scientists, youth representatives, private sectors, and over 18,500 registered participants.
World leaders focused on climate adaptation and resilience during the virtual summit that the Netherlands hosted. The event is also a call to governments to renew and reaffirm commitments made during the Paris Agreement.
The gathering is timely when the world is facing a “staggering” rise in climate emergencies. According to the UNDRR report, 7,348 disasters have occurred worldwide between 1980 to 1999 or within the last 20 years resulting in 475 thousand deaths and $2.6 trillion in losses.
Climate scientists have also warned that climate-related disasters in the last three years have cost US$650 billion, equivalent to 0.25% of the global GDP of those years and predict that disasters could rise to $54 trillion by 2040.
Many countries are lagging with their Paris Agreement pledges. During the summit, national leaders plan to boost climate adaptation action and strategies.
For climate adaptation to meet and respond to the growing climate-related risks, national leaders agreed to take the following steps: Increase finance for climate adaptation, integrate adaptation throughout public and private sector decisions, and scale up adaptation initiatives and actions, especially in developing countries throughout 2021.
Global spending in climate adaptation has consistently increased from US$22 billion in 2015-2016 to $30 billion in 2017-2018. But this amount still needs to increase up to tenfold or up to $300 billion a year to meet the UN’s estimate to meet the growing climate risks. Investments in infrastructure resilience can yield significant savings. According to UN Secretary-General António Guterres, for each dollar spent on infrastructure resilience, 6 dollars can be saved.
Here are some snippets of what occurred during the Climate Adaptation Summit 2021:
- John Kerry, the US envoy for climate, says that the US is proud to be back, and they’ll do everything to make up for their absence in the last four years. They will provide more funding for climate adaptation and resilience.
- Chinese vice premier Han Zheng called on the internal community to implement their climate adaptation commitments and says that China is working on a new strategy to improve its climate risk capabilities by 2035.
- The International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) annual surveillance of the economic risks of 190 countries will include climate change. Climate risks will also be incorporated in the IMF’s financial sector assessment, encouraging countries to reduce financial sector climate risk.
- The World Bank increased climate adaptation finance last year from 40% to 50% and promised to maintain this share for five years.
- Some European governments, as pledged by their leaders, have set aside financial commitments for climate adaptation. French President Emmanuel Macron promised €2 billion, German Chancellor Angela Merkel €270 million, and Prime Minister Mark Rutte €20 million. These funds will go to the Least Developed Countries fund for their adaptation and resilience initiatives and projects.
During the summit, world leaders have raised the profile and crucial role of climate adaptation. Governments and institutions like the IMF and World Bank have increased their financial commitments to climate adaptation and resilience, going to the least developing countries.
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