Experts in Bonn Shine a Light on Scaling Up Adaptation Finance

Scaling up adaptation finance is critical for unlocking adaptation action and bolstering resilience-building efforts around the world – this was the key conclusion of a meeting of experts in Bonn last month.

Representatives of governments and of non-Party organizations gathered from 25-26 June at the UN Climate Change Conference in Bonn to discuss challenges related to accessing and mobilizing finance for climate change adaptation, and to illustrate concrete case studies and good practices that can help countries, businesses and communities surmount these enduring issues.

Throughout the meeting, panelists and attendees reflected on the striking statistic that, on average from 2015-2016, climate funds represented only 3% of international public adaptation finance flows. This underscored the need to blend and supplement finance from these funds with additional public and private investment.

In Ethiopia, for example, climate finance has been mobilized from multilateral sources, but has been supported by investment from the national government. Aligning domestic spending and government priorities with adaptation needs in this way is imperative for advancing adaptation action.  

Many participants also acknowledged the critical need to better engage the private sector in financing adaptation action. Business for Social Responsibility is working with companies to integrate climate risk into their existing enterprise risk management systems, so that benefits of adaptation action, and the costs of inaction, are made clear and companies can recognize the business case for adaptation investment.

In Costa Rica, in the agriculture sector, demonstrations for farmers have helped to illustrate the business case for adaptation and encourage the uptake of adaptation actions, increasing farmers’ income. Projects financed through international climate funds paved the way for these demonstrations to take place.

Governments can also deploy policy tools and interventions to help incentivize the private sector to expand their investments in adaptation. In the Maldives, partly in response to policy interventions by the national government, the tourism sector is increasingly investing in adaptation and coastal protection. These investments have been recognized by the tourism sector as fundamental to the long-term viability of their businesses.

Collaborating with additional partners can help governments in their efforts to engage their domestic private sectors in adaptation. In Viet Nam, for example, UNDP partnered with the Asian Development Bank on a project supporting the Government of Viet Nam’s Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development to update innovation networks and climate-proof investments. This partnership with UNDP brought a whole-of-government approach that facilitated information sharing. Together, these partners established an open source information sharing platform accessible to sub-national governments and private sector actors that helps them align their investments with climate risk information and adaptation priorities.

These examples were highlighted during the 2019 Technical Expert Meeting on Adaptation, which featured seven sessions led by six volunteer expert organizations: the Green Climate Fund, the Adaptation Fund, the Climate Technology Centre and NetworkStockholm Environment InstituteUNEP-DTU Partnership, and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.

At the closure of the meeting, Tomasz Chruszczow, the High-Level Climate Champion of Poland, underscored that business as usual will not yield the transformations required for a climate-resilient future. He highlighted the need for holistic adaptation planning that leverages the creativity and resources of the private sector and financing that supports the formulation and implementation of national adaptation plans.

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