The topic of Adaptation to Climate Change has, over the past few years, significantly gained in momentum in the context of multilateral climate negotiations. Most recently, the Paris Decision and the Paris Agreement have enshrined several key advances on that topic:
- A Global Goal for Adaptation was agreed
- A periodic review of the implementation of adaptation, as part of a global stocktake that assesses collective progress towards achieving the purpose of the Paris Agreement and its long-term goals
- Adaptation was raised to the same level of focus as mitigation
The Paris Decision outlined the need to “significantly [increase] adaptation finance from current levels” (Article 115). This need is real, and has recently been outlined by UNEP Deputy Director, Dr. Thiaw, during the 2016 Adaptation Futures event:
“The Adaptation Gap report clearly demonstrates that, even if we succeed in limiting temperature rise to 2 degrees, between 2020 and 2030, adapting to climate change could cost up to $300 billion per year. Yet the amount of public finance currently available is closer to $25 billion.”
The Paris Decision has also launched, in the period 2016–2020, a technical examination process on adaptation (Article 125). The Technical Examination Process endeavours “to identify concrete opportunities for strengthening resilience, reducing vulnerabilities and increasing the understanding and implementation of adaptation actions” (Article 126 of the Paris Decision), and will benefit from the lessons learned from the Technical Examination Process on Mitigation (Article 129 of the Paris Decision). This process is a collaboration between the Adaptation Committee (Cancun Adaptation Framework) and SBI/SBSTA (Article 127 of the Paris Decision). Non-party stakeholders are encouraged to increase their engagement in this process (Article 120 of the Paris Decision).
- Furthermore, the potential of the Global Climate Action Agenda is significant. One of the areas of focus of the GCAA is resilience. Both High-level Climate Champions have expressed their intention of showcasing innovative leadership in this
Adaptation is a key priority for both the North and the South. It is an everyday reality for the most vulnerable countries. Morocco has amassed experience and lessons learned that it would like to share. In particular, in the topics of:
- Water management
- Food Security
Metrics are a key instrument to unlock the adequate levels of financing and concrete action for adaptation. However, as opposed to mitigation, quantitative indicators for adaptation have yet to be defined in a manner that is simple to monitor. The challenges are multidimensional:
- The strong interconnection between sustainable development projects and those focusing on adaptation to climate change is an added difficulty
- Additionally, the distinction between adaptation and loss and damage is not always clear
- Adaptation to climate change impacts is strongly interconnected with development, and is part of a larger narrative that considers the climate agenda to be part of the development agenda. This does not facilitate the issue of reallocation, segregation, additionality of financial flows and their measurement. The quest for synergies is a priority for the United Nations, and in particular the President of the UNGA, the UNSG among other key actors. It is also part of the Spirit of the Paris Agreement. Work is ongoing to identify interfaces and synergies between NDCs and SDGs.
- Building the business case for adaptation could prove to be a simpler endeavour with a consistent and holistic set of metrics
- Common adaptation metrics are a prerequisite for aggregating individual adaptation efforts to review the overall progress made in achieving the collective global goal on adaptation
- Metrics are also needed to review the adequacy and effectiveness of adaptation, and support for adaptation, as stipulated by the Paris Agreement
Concrete progress on Adaptation is a key target of the incoming presidency of the 22nd Session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC COP 22), reflecting the views of the Parties to the UNFCCC. Expectations of some Parties are that COP 22 will be an African COP and that Adaptation will be an important subject for Africa and the Global South during the COP.
This Conference’s objective is to advance the scientific and technical debate on the topic of assessing Adaptation to Climate Change. In that context, it is important to concretely contribute to moving forward the topic of adaptation metrics, a key driver for informed and impactful decision-making from both the public and private sectors. As such, two objectives have been identified:
- Qualifying and then quantifying adaptation needs
- Developing a set of transferrable indicators to measure and track the success of adaptation projects
This ambitious, yet urgently needed, set of objectives will be pursued through a dual approach.
First, a set of panels that will endeavour to expose state of the art approaches to the topic of Adaptation Metrics.
Second, a series of dynamic and thematically focused debates that will attempt, through constructive engagement of innovative thought leaders, to facilitate progress in the technical, scientific dimensions of adaptation metrics.