Global Leaders Call for Urgent Acceleration of Climate Adaptation Solutions

By Global Center on Adaption

On the heels of one of the deadliest summers of climate-related weather disasters affecting countries all over the world, an unprecedented gathering of global leaders today launched the new Global Commission on Adaptation to catalyze a global movement to bring scale and speed to climate adaptation solutions. The Global Commission on Adaptation is led by Ban Ki-moon, 8th Secretary-General of the United Nations, Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and Kristalina Georgieva, CEO, World Bank. It includes 17 convening countries and 28 commissioners, including the leaders, representing all regions of the globe and all sectors of development and industry.

As indicated in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5 °C, damaging climate change impacts are being felt now, much sooner and more powerfully than previously projected. Adaptation is about managing the risks associated with climate change – from floods and droughts to sea level rise and storms. The work of the Commission will elevate the visibility and political importance of climate adaptation and encourage bold solutions like smarter investments, new technologies and better planning to become more resilient to climate-related threats.

“Without urgent adaptation action, we risk undermining food, energy and water security for decades to come. Continued economic growth and reductions in global poverty are possible despite these daunting challenges—but only if societies invest much more in adaptation. The costs of adapting are less than the cost of doing business as usual. And the benefits many times larger,” said Ban Ki-moon, 8th Secretary-General of the United Nations.

“We are at a moment of high risk and great promise. We need policies to help vulnerable populations adapt and we need to ensure that governments and other stakeholders are supporting innovation and helping deliver those breakthroughs to the people and places that need them most,” said Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. “If everyone does their part, we can reduce carbon emissions, increase access to affordable energy, and help farmers everywhere grow more productive crops.”

“Our climate has already changed. Dramatic weather events and volatile seasons are the new normal,” said Kristalina Georgieva, CEO, World Bank.  “Millions of people in poor countries are already living with the effects of climate change. It is a cruel irony that those who have least contributed to climate change are the ones who are affected and least able to prepare. We face a choice: business as usual and hope for the best. Or we act now and build for a resilient future.”

There are four major roadblocks slowing adaptation that the Commission will work to address:

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