Days after the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) released it 2022 report on the climate adaptation gap, the COP27 Presidency, held by Egypt, launched the “Sharm El-Sheikh Adaptation Agenda” outlining goals that must be achieved by 2030 to protect billions of lives.
The adaptation gap refers to the difference between the assistance developing countries need to adapt to climate change and what global funding agencies actually provide to them. The Sharm El-Sheikh Adaptation Agenda, announced this week, aims to accelerate transformative actions to adapt to severe climate risks in vulnerable countries.
The UNEP released its “Adaptation Gap Report” on November 3, just before the COP27 climate-change conference opened in Sharm El-Sheikh. In the report, UNEP says that progress on this issue has been too little and too slow, and it warns that failure to adapt to climate change puts the world at risk.
The adaptation finance available to developing countries is likely five to ten times lower than what they need, the report says, and this gap will only widen if donor countries do not ramp up investments.
Annual adaptation needs will be in the range of $160 billion to $340 billion by 2030, the report estimates, and will grow to $315- to $565 billion by 2050.
Enhancing adaptation efforts is one of the four main goals of the climate summit, along with climate finance, mitigating carbon emissions, and partnerships for global climate action.
“The Sharm El-Sheikh Adaptation Agenda represents a significant contribution to strengthening global action on adaptation and resilience as a top priority.”Sameh Shoukry, Egypt’s foreign minister and the president the COP27 climate summit
The summit has also put “loss and damage”, or support for developing countries that are already experiencing destructive effects of climate change, on the agenda.
30 Adaptation Outcomes Needed by 2030
The Sharm El-Sheikh Adaptation Agenda outlines 30 adaptation outcomes that it says must be reached by 2030 to protect four billion people living in the most vulnerable communities, who are suffering from disasters amplified by global warming, such as extreme heat, drought, and floods.
The adaptation targets are in several sectors, the foremost of which is agriculture and food security. The agenda calls for transitioning to sustainable climate-resistant agriculture systems that can increase yields by 17 percent and help smallholder farmers at the economic level, while at the same time reducing greenhouse gas emissions from farms by 21 percent.
Another outcome target is to provide smart, improved early warning systems to protect three billion people from climate emergencies like storms, floods and heat waves. A report by the World Meteorological Organisation warned in October that half of the world’s countries are not protected by multi-hazard early warning systems, and that such systems were not available to those who need them most.
Another agenda item calls for investing $4 billion to protect 15 million hectares of mangroves, by preserving existing forests or planting new trees. Mangrove forests protect lives and property in coastal areas by acting as buffers against storm surges.
“The Sharm El-Sheikh Adaptation Agenda firmly places basic human needs at its core, along with concrete, specific action on the ground to build resilience to climate change.”Simon Stiell, executive secretary of UN Climate Change
Other goals call for expanding access to clean cooking fuels, halting commodity-driven deforestation, and installing sustainable irrigation systems.
Adaptation and Resilience
Introducing the Sharm El-Sheikh Adaptation Agenda at a news conference on Tuesday, Sameh Shoukry, Egypt’s foreign minister and the president of this year’s climate summit, said the agenda “represents a significant contribution to strengthening global action on adaptation and resilience as a top priority.”
The COP27 presidency will monitor progress made on achieving the resilience outcome targets, Shoukry said, and report to the next climate summit, COP28, on progress made.
Simon Stiell, executive secretary of the UNFCCC Secretariat (UN Climate Change), spoke at the same event. “The Sharm El-Sheikh Adaptation Agenda firmly places basic human needs at its core, along with concrete, specific action on the ground to build resilience to climate change,” Stiell said.
He added: “We need all stakeholders on board to deal with current and future impacts of climate change.”
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Read more about the COP27 climate summit and global climate concerns in Climate and Environment, an archive of Al-Fanar Media’s reporting on these topics.