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COP26: UNEP calls for more efforts on climate finance and adaptation plans

GLASGOW – Finance for climate change adaptation as well as implementation plans are still very low, despite increasing policies and planning for climate change mitigation, a new report published by United Nations Environment Program, UNEP, has said.

The Adaption Gap Report, 2021: The Gathering Storm, says although the world is focused on stepping up efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions, there is a need to “dramatically up our game to adapt,” as climate impacts continue to outpace attempts to adapt to them,” said Inger Andersen, the Executive Director of UNEP.

The report was launched on Thursday as world leaders continued to hold discussions at Glasgow in the 26th UN conference on climate change, to jointly attempt to limit global warming, in fulfillment of the 2015 Paris Agreement.

In 2001, the Adaptation Fund was created under the Kyoto Protocol to finance real adaptation projects in developing countries that are most vulnerable to the harsh effects of climate change.

Adaptation and climate finance are the first two goals of the COP26, aiming at urging countries affected by climate change to “protect and restore their ecosystems and build defenses, warning and resilient infrastructure and agriculture to avoid loss of homes, livelihoods and even lives,” through various programs.

However, Anderson said, adaptation financing is still a huge concern because the gap between what we need to spend to adapt and what we are spending is widening, and could reach $ 280-500 billion each year by 2050 for poor countries alone.

The report adds that although international public adaptation finance has risen by 50% between 2017-2020, it is still low.

The report recognizes that climate change adaptation is increasingly being embedded in policy and planning worldwide by countries. At least 79% of all countries are said to be using at least one national-level adaptation planning instrument, showing a 7% rise since 2020.

Andersen said, all these efforts are not yet enough, even if the tap on greenhouse gas emissions were to be turned off today.

“We need to scale up further and increase public adaptation finance including but not limited to overcoming barriers for private sector engagement, as implantation at current rates may not keep pace with increasing levels of climate change.”

“This UNEP report clearly shows that we need to change our adaptation ambition for funding and implementation, to significantly reduce damages and losses from climate change. And we need it now,” she said.

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