Mon | Jul 15, 2019

Earth Today | Adaptation Fund finds validation in IPCC special report on global warming

Published:Thursday | November 22, 2018 | 12:10 AM
AF manager Mikko Ollikainen (fourth from right, standing) with the stakeholders at the Jamaica AF project during one of his visits to the island.
Hurricanes, the likes of which affected the Caribbean last year, are expected to continue to affect the region, with the changing climate.
Adaptation Fund project implemented by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in 14 vulnerable urban communities in Tegucigalpa and the upper Choluteca watershed of Honduras, has been helping residents adapt to extreme rainfalls and droughts, and water scarcity by safeguarding water supplies. (Photo by Adaptation Fund)
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The Adaptation Fund (AF), which has worked hard to maintain its offerings to the developing world, has found validation in the special report on 1.5 degrees Celsius of global warming, which warns of the need to redouble resilience efforts, given climate change.

"The IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) report confirms what we have been seeing over the last few years, which is reflected in the continuing record demand for Adaptation Fund projects from vulnerable developing countries. We received a record US$264 million in new proposals for this week's board meeting alone," noted AF Board chair, Victor Vinas, in an October 11 release to the media.

The release came just days after the approval won for the Summary of Policymakers (SPM) of that report, at the 48th session of the IPCC, held in Korea. That meeting was hosted ahead of this year's 26th annual global climate talks to be held in Poland, where the report is to inform negotiations.

"The Fund's medium-term strategy is well positioned to share practical on-the-ground knowledge and help accelerate these needed adaptation actions, but increased financial ambition is also needed to help meet these demands. This report is crucial for countries to consider as we head towards COP24 in December," Vinas added.

 

1.5 VERSUS 2

 

The 1.5 special report establishes that the world at 1.5 degrees Celsius is one that is in significantly better shape than one at two degrees Celsius, although the latter is the target behind which many developed countries have thrown their support.

"Climate-related risks for natural and human systems are higher for global warming of 1.5 degrees Celsius than at present, but lower than at 2 degrees Celsius. These risks depend on the magnitude and rate of warming, geographic location, levels of development and vulnerability, and on the choices and implementation of adaptation and mitigation options," reads the SPM.

As to future climate-related risks, those depend on "the rate, peak and duration of warming".

"Future climate-related risks would be reduced by the upscaling and acceleration of far-reaching, multilevel and cross-sectoral climate mitigation, and by both incremental and transformational adaptation," it added.

 

Fund helps shore up adaptation efforts

 

The AF has been doing its part to shore up adaptation efforts, including in Jamaica where work has been done on 'enhancing the climate resilience of the agricultural sector by improving water and land management' (some US$2.5 million) and 'improving institutional and local level capacity for coastal and agricultural adaptation and awareness-raising for behaviour modification' (some US$785,500).

In eight years, the AF has committed more than US$500 million to projects, with a reported 5.7 million direct beneficiaries.

"When looking at this report, you see the huge risks in not enhancing climate ambition. But we also see the enormous potential to reduce impacts on ecosystems, human health and well-being, and make it possible to achieve a more sustainable world for generations to come," said AF manager Mikko Ollikainen.

"The Adaptation Fund, in funding concrete tailored projects to the most vulnerable that are country-led, inclusive and replicable while fostering environmental, social and gender principles and building country capacities, is well positioned to help accelerate effective and innovative adaptation actions," Ollikainen added.

 

CLIMATE THREATS

 

Climate threats include sea level rise and the associated impacts on coastal lives and livelihoods, as well as extreme weather events, including extreme hurricanes, the likes of which wreaked havoc in the sections of the Caribbean last year, leaving in their wake millions of dollars in damage, livelihoods disrupted and lives lost.

The AF, meanwhile, continues to deliver on its mission to enable resilience in the developing world, thanks in part to its pioneering Direct Access modality which gives designated national implementing entities the chance to access resources without having to go through a third party, such as a multilateral institution.

The Fund, nonetheless, continues to rely predominantly on voluntary contributions, including a US$90 million resource mobilisation target it set itself this year, to meet a burgeoning project pipeline.

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