The United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) has released its annual Adaptation Gap Report, which provides a scientific assessment of global progress in planning, financing and implementing adaptation. It finds that while the implementation of adaptation actions is increasing, it is not keeping up with the impacts of climate change and that international flows of adaptation finance to developing countries are five to ten times lower than estimated needs.
Titled “Too Little, Too Slow: Climate Adaptation Failure Puts World at Risk”, the report highlights growing impacts “just 1.1°C above pre-industrial temperatures”, for example a multi-year drought in the Horn of Africa, floods in Southeast Asia and summer heat waves in the Northern Hemisphere. According to UNEP’s Emissions Gap Report, countries’ Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) under the Paris Agreement on Climate Change have put the world on a 2-year warming path. .4 to 2.6°C by the end of the century. The 2022 Adaptation Gap Report therefore highlights that mitigation and adaptation are key to helping vulnerable countries and communities cope. It argues that the linkages between adaptation and mitigation actions need to be considered from the outset in planning, financing and implementation, in order to enhance co-benefits.
The report notes that today, “[m]”More than eight out of ten countries have at least one national adaptation planning instrument”, and that these plans “are improving and becoming more inclusive”, a third of the parties to the UNFCCC having integrated quantified objectives and with deadlines. As funding to turn these plans into action increases, he believes a significant acceleration is needed to double 2019 funding flows by 2025, in line with the Glasgow Climate Pact. In 2020, international funding for adaptation to developing countries reached $28.6 billion, an increase of 4% compared to 2019. The report estimates that annual adaptation needs will be between 160 and 340 billion by 2030 and between 315 and 565 billion by 2050.
The report further finds that the implementation of adaptation actions that are now concentrated in agriculture, water, ecosystems and cross-cutting sectors is too slow to address climate impacts. He warns that without “a step change in support”, adaptation “could be overtaken by accelerating climate risks”.
Emphasizing that the war in Ukraine, global supply shortages and the COVID-19 pandemic must not be allowed to derail international efforts to increase adaptation, the report calls on the Sharm el-Sheikh Conference on climate change (UNFCCC COP 27) to “support the strong words in the Glasgow Climate Pact with strong action on adaptation, mitigation and loss and damage.
“We need a rapid acceleration of scientific research, innovative planning, adequate funding and implementation, and deeper international cooperation,” said UNEP Executive Director, Inger Andersen, at the launch of the report on November 3, 2022.
In a message, UN Secretary-General António Guterres called for a dramatic increase in the quantity and quality of financing for adaptation needs, a new business model to turn adaptation priorities into investable projects, and better data and information on climate risks. Noting that in many places it is too late to adapt, he called on COP 27 to “provide a clear and time-bound roadmap to close the financing gap to address loss and damage.” [Publication: Adaptation Gap Report 2022: Too Little, Too Slow: Climate Adaptation Failure Puts World at Risk] [Executive Summary] [Key Messages] [Publication Landing Page] [Adaptation Gap Report Series] [UNEP Press Release] [UNEP Story] [UN News Release]