Global Commission Calls for Urgent Action on Climate Adaptation, Cites Economic Returns on Investment
UN Photo/Gill Fickling
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The report addresses adaptation in early warning systems, climate-resilient infrastructure, improved dryland agriculture, mangrove protection and investments in increasing water resource resilience.

It finds that investing USD 1.8 trillion globally from 2020 to 2030 in the five climate adaptation areas could result in USD 7.1 trillion in net benefits.

10 September 2019: The Global Commission on Adaptation (GCA) has published a report calling on governments and businesses to take action to innovate and advance climate adaptation solutions based on new research findings. The report explains that climate adaptation can deliver a “triple dividend” by avoiding future losses, generating positive economic gains through innovation, and delivering additional social and environmental benefits.

The report titled, ‘Adapt Now: A Global Call for Leadership on Climate Resilience,’ finds that adaptation can lead to significant economic returns and that investing USD 1.8 trillion globally from 2020 to 2030 in five climate adaptation areas could result in USD 7.1 trillion in net benefits. The five areas – early warning systems, climate-resilient infrastructure, improved dryland agriculture, mangrove protection and investments in increasing water resource resilience – represent only a portion of total investments needed and total benefits available.

Speaking about the report, Axel van Trotsenburg, Acting CEO, World Bank, said the World Bank is increasing investment in adaptation, pointing to evidence that resilient buildings, infrastructure and public services are good for communities, business and sustained economic growth.

Advocating adaptation that addresses underlying societal inequalities and brings more people into decision making, especially those most vulnerable to climate impacts, the report calls for “revolutions” in understanding, planning and finance to ensure that climate impacts, risks and solutions are considered in decision making at all levels. It explores the ways in which these transformations can be applied across seven interlinked systems: food; natural environment; water; cities; infrastructures; disaster risk management (DRM); and finance.

Resilient buildings, infrastructure and public services are good for communities, business and sustained economic growth.

The publication provides specific examples of economic, social and environmental benefits of climate adaptation activities such as:

  • Restoring mangrove forests in countries like Thailand, India and the Philippines protects coastal communities from deadly storm surges, while providing critical habitats to local fisheries and increasing prosperity;
  • The ‘Room for the River’ strategy in the Netherlands moved dikes inland, widened rivers and created water-absorbing plazas to manage and slow floodwaters, while providing public use spaces and revitalizing neighborhoods; and
  • In Zimbabwe, farmers using drought-tolerant maize harvested up to 600 kilograms (kg) more maize per hectare than with conventional maize.

The report and an associated social media campaign, #AdaptOurWorld, were launched on 10 September 2019 with events in more than ten capitals and cities around the world, including: Majuro, the Marshall Islands; Beijing, China; New Delhi, India; Geneva, Switzerland; Mexico City, Mexico; Ottawa, Canada; Wainibuka, Fiji; and Washington, DC, US.

During the UN Secretary-General’s Climate Action Summit on 23 September, the Commission will unveil additional ‘Action Tracks’ outlined in the report, including on food security, resilience, DRM and finance. On 24 September, the GCA will announce the start of the ‘Year of Action’ to build on the report’s recommendations and to mobilize action ahead of the Climate Adaptation Summit in October 2020 in the Netherlands.

Established in October 2018 and convened by 20 countries, the GCA is composed of 34 Commissioners. It is led by former UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Bill Gates, Co-Chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and Kristalina Georgieva, World Bank CEO and candidate for managing director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF). It is co-managed by the Global Center on Adaptation and the World Resources Institute (WRI). [Publication: Adapt Now: A Global Call for Leadership on Climate Resilience] [GCA Report Landing Page] [Global Call to #AdaptOurWorld Homepage] [UNFCCC Press Release] [UNEP Press Release] [WMO Press Release]


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