Fri | Dec 4, 2020

Wanted: More intentional, coordinated support for climate change adaptation

Published:Thursday | October 22, 2020 | 2:26 PM

A RECENT study from the Adaptation Fund has suggested there is need for more effective deployment and use of resources to further advance action on climate change adaptation in vulnerable countries.

The ‘Study on Readiness and Capacity Building for Direct Access to Adaptation Finance’ has also noted that with limited financial resources, only a fraction of the world’s countries, institutions, and organisations are benefiting from readiness and capacity building support, and that this needs to change.

This comes against the background of what the study – undertaken by the AF, in collaboration with Universalia, under its Learning and Sharing pillar of its MTS – calls the “growing gap between available adaptation finance and rising climate change-related impacts and challenges”.

It has, therefore, recommended not only greater financial resources for climate change adaptation, but also greater coherence and complementarity in the delivery of readiness and capacity building between climate funds. Further, the study has, among other things, recommended a greater number and appropriate selection of civil society organisations included in readiness efforts.

The recommendations have found favour with local stakeholders, including Eleanor Jones, the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica representative for the island’s National Adaptation Programme.

“Jamaica was one of the first countries to have received funds from the Adaptation Fund and we had some professionals here, the likes of Jeffrey Spooner from the Met Office, who worked really hard to get us the funds,” she said, while noting the benefits to be derived from climate adaptation fund.

The subsequent management and use of those funds, she said, was an ‘eye-opener’, with the requirement for stakeholder engagement and a relook at the agreed deliverables for which the funds were originally intended.

The lesson there, Jones noted, was the prevailing need for capacity building for vulnerable countries within and outside the Caribbean.

“We say we don’t have the money and we have projects for which the money is returned or is not fully dispersed because the capacity within needs to be developed,” she said.

On more money for adaptation, she said: “I agree that adaptation is very important for small island states. Mitigation is also important because we do contribute to greenhouse gases and we have signed the Paris Agreement. However, it is the impact on climate change that we feel and we have to prepare ourselves to cope to see how we can minimise the impact, and that is what adaptation is about. Adaptation is critical to us.”

As for the integration of civil society, Jones, who also heads Environmental Solutions Limited, said there is also the need to prioritise private sector engagement.

“We tend to neglect the private sector and sort of run around when the time comes to do consultations. However, the private sector has to play a key role. Government sets the policy framework, but we then have to engage the private sector for the effective implementation of programmes within their business models,” she said.

Indi Mclymont-Lafayette, managing director for Change Communications, has herself given the stamp of approval to the recommendations.

“I think the recommendations made are particularly relevant at this time when COVID-19 combined with climate change are exacerbating vulnerabilities and those for small island states like Jamaica,” she noted.

“Recommendations such as the provision of more readiness grants for countries globally and ensuring they have the capacity to apply for them. Also, greater collaboration between international funders so that the money provided can be used more effectively is key,” added Mclymont-Lafayette, who spent years on the front line of climate negotiators as a civil society stakeholder.

Ultimately, she said, “if these recommendations are acted on it would be good for small vulnerable islands like Jamaica to access more funds to build their climate resilience”.