Adaptation & Resilience
Climate Change
Global Issues
Dennis Tänzler, adelphi
USA, Hurricane aftermath
Hurrican aftermath, USA | © John Middelkoop/Unsplash.com

As the second week of COP25 in Madrid begins, it is time to stress once more the importance of building momentum for adaptation. At the beginning of the conference, Oxfam published a report outlining the profound impacts of extreme weather events such as flooding and cyclones: more than 20 million people are displaced each year by such events. Meanwhile, Zambia and Zimbabwe are currently facing the worst drought in a century, with tremendous impacts on the Victoria Falls. There is obviously a need for adaptation planning, implementation and financing. However, so far only seventeen countries have presented National Adaptation Plans (NAP) - despite international partners providing important support.

Whereas the international negotiations are bogged down with discussions on how to communicate adaptation activities, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies has published a report that outlines in the costs of doing nothing: the bill for climate-linked disasters alone could reach $20 billion every year by 2050. At the same time, the Global Commission on Adaptation found that there are tremendous co-benefits to adaptation activities: e.g. supporting early warning systems, climate-resilient infrastructure, improved dryland agriculture, mangrove protection, and investments in resilient water resource management. Adaptation activities could generate USD 7.1 trillion in total net benefits – but an initial investment of USD 1.8 trillion is needed.

It remains enormously challenging to effectively steer financial resources to the local level, where they are most needed. This is particularly alarming because vulnerabilities to the effects of climate change are highly localised, and the greatest impacts will be seen on the local level. Nevertheless, despite their needs, local entities often lack the financial resources to plan and implement adequate adaptation measures. In a recent analysis, adelphi shed some light on promising elements of so-called elevator functions – these are specific strategies or operating principles within programmes that aim to channel funding effectively through vertical administrative levels from the international to the local level, where the money can have maximum impact. The report also found widespread agreement that the bottom-up approach to adaptation needs to involve businesses and stakeholders on the ground in emerging and developing countries. This is essential for driving climate adaptation finance as local companies and communities are directly affected by climate change. Here, innovative bottom-up adaptation financing approaches are necessary – e.g. the approach taken for Small- and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) in the context of the SEED initiative.

These are only two of the many possible entry points for informing adaptation governance as well as international negotiations in Madrid and beyond, and to ensure appropriate responses to the ongoing climate emergency.


Adaptation & Resilience
Climate Change
Climate Diplomacy
Early Warning & Risk Analysis
Security
Asia
Dr. Dhanasree Jayaram

South Asia’s vulnerability to climate change and associated fragility risks calls for a regional approach to climate services. Different actors need to cooperate to share actionable climate information—the security architecture in the region would benefit.

Cities
Climate Change
Sustainable Transformation
Technology & Innovation
Global Issues
Asia
Kongjiang Yu, Urbanet

With cities continuously more threatened by climate change-induced disasters, urban planning’s reflex response is to protect cities against nature. But what if the solution lies in working with nature instead against it? Architect Kongjiang Yu invites readers to imagine what cities could look like if they took into account ancient wisdom on spatial planning.

Conflict Transformation
Security
South America
Central America & Caribbean
Andrés Bermúdez Liévano, Diálogo Chino

During the past two weeks, Antigua & Barbuda, Nicaragua and Panama ratified the Escazú Agreement, giving a major boost to the unprecedented and innovative Latin American pact that seeks to reduce social conflicts and protect frontline communities in the world’s deadliest region for environmental defenders.

Climate Change
Climate Diplomacy
Global Issues
Leila Mead, IISD/SDG Knowledge Hub

UN Secretary-General António Guterres outlined priorities for the 26th session of the Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC (COP 26) during a briefing at UN Headquarters. The briefing was hosted by the UK, which will be assuming the COP 26 presidency in partnership with Italy. COP 26 is scheduled to convene from 9-20 November 2020, in Glasgow, UK.