Implementing adaptation action: making progress to deal with climate impacts

Today, the world has warmed more than 1°C since pre-industrial times. It is no longer enough to stop further climate change: adapting and building community and ecosystem resilience to safeguard lives and livelihoods is necessary

At COP26, adaptation was made a universal agenda with the establishment of the Glasgow-Sharm el-Sheikh work programme on the Global Goal on Adaptation (GlaSS). Loss and Damage was also given more precedence than ever before, with the establishment of the Glasgow Dialogue to discuss funding arrangements to avert, minimise and address loss and damage. 

COP27 provides an opportunity to show those most affected by climate impacts that the international community is prepared to build solutions and prioritise action on adaptation. On Adaptation and Agriculture day, the UK and Partners delivered a number of events during which countries and organisations highlighted progress made on adaptation planning, locally-led adaptation, early warning, and action-oriented research. 

This follows announcements during the World Leaders Summit to triple the UK’s International Climate Finance to adaptation, commit £5 million funding to the Santiago Network to deliver technical assistance for loss and damage; and deliver funding to the Green Climate Fund and Adaptation Fund as pledged at COP26. 

The UK is investing over £13 million new funding to support vulnerable countries to adapt to climate impacts, and towards efforts to avert, minimise and address loss and damage. These will build on the more than £500 million of new funding for adaptation announced at COP26. 

Adaptation planning 

Effective implementation of country priorities identified in National Adaptation Plans (NAPs) helps to build resilience to climate impacts from local to national levels. 86 countries are now covered by Adaptation Communications (AdComms) or National Adaptation Plans (NAPs), with 65 published since the start of the UK’s incoming COP26 Presidency.

At COP27 we heard examples of developing countries’ NAP processes, including Eswatini, Liberia, St Lucia, Zimbabwe, with an emphasis on implementation of priorities, reporting progress and effective and inclusive planning. 

Accelerating adaptation action

Effective adaptation action requires cooperation across scales and sectors. Building on the UK and Egypt’s co-leadership of the Adaptation Action Coalition (AAC), this event focused on how countries can transition from adaptation planning to implementation. The AAC now has 39 country members working together to drive solutions through work-streams on locally-led adaptation (LLA), health, water, infrastructure and disaster-risk reduction.

The AAC’s sectoral workstreams are assisting countries to speed up and scale up implementation of national and local-level priorities outlined in National Adaptation Plans, NDCs and other relevant strategies. Sector-specific adaptation actions can be linked together to form a more cohesive approach that goes beyond project-based implementation.

The UK is also supporting the UN High Level Champions Race to Resilience, with £3m new funding, to catalyse a step-change in non-state actors’ ambition for climate resilience. The UK welcomes the collaboration between the COP27 Presidency and the Race to Resilience on the launch of the ‘Sharm-El-Sheikh Adaptation Agenda’ which outlines 30 adaptation outcomes to enhance resilience for 4 billion people living in the most climate vulnerable communities by 2030. 

Delivering at the frontline through locally-led adaptation

With over 100 endorsements to the Principles to LLA, locally-led adaptation is gaining increasing recognition around the world as an effective approach for ensuring that the most vulnerable people and communities are protected from the impacts of climate change. 

The UK highlighted renewed commitment to the Least Developed Countries Initiative for Effective Adaptation and Resilience (LIFE-AR) and £45 million funding for the Asian Development Bank’s Community Resilience Partnership Program (CRPP), which was announced at COP26.

New country endorsements to the Principles for LLA include Uganda, Fiji, South Africa, Antigua & Barbuda, Norway, Finland, with many organisations also joining. The task now is to translate these principles into tangible action and scale up support for LLA across different levels of governance. 

Private sector mobilisation and climate resilient investment 

The Adaptation & Resilience Investors Collaborative (ARIC) is a partnership of development finance institutions working to address systemic barriers to mobilising private investment in adaptation and resilience. ARIC announced today that UNEP-FI will act as the Secretariat of the initiative, enabling ARIC to further implement its action plan. 

The Coalition for Climate Resilient Investment (CCRI) is a private-sector led initiative that is developing and piloting tools to direct investment where it is most needed in national infrastructure networks, and to help improve the integration of physical climate risks into investment appraisal. CCRI has over 129 members with over $27 trillion in assets under management. Today the UK announced a further £1.3m of funding for CCRI, in addition to the £1m we have already provided. 

Today’s CCRI session heard from governments, leading institutions and individuals representing investors in key industries and sectors in a discussion about the transformational potential of practical solutions, such as the Jamaica Strategic Risk Assessment Tool (J-SRAT) and the Physical Climate Risk Assessment Methodology (PCRAM), at both national and investment levels, redefining the narrative and practice around private investment in climate resilient investment.

Action-oriented research

Action-oriented research is key in informing effective adaptation to reduce the risks from climate change. The Adaptation Research Alliance now has 157 members – bringing together funders, academics, civil society, International Organisations – from 52 countries. 

Progress since COP26 includes the launch of a ‘Co-creation Space’ to scope new programmes, and a second round of grassroots action–research grants for local organisations in the global South. Announcements at COP27 included:

  • The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s Agriculture Development programme is working with the ARA Secretariat to develop a co-creation process focused on smallholder agriculture.
  • UK Research and Innovation – Natural Environment Research Council (UKRI-NERC), in partnership with the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) and the ARA, are scoping the design of a potential new international collaborative research programme focused on ‘nature-based solutions for equitable climate resilience’. 
  • The UN Development Programme (UNDP) and the Least Developed Universities Climate Change Consortium (LUCCC) are working with ARA to enable LDC Universities to support national adaptation plans, in areas such as assessments, implementation and reporting.
  • The ARA and members will collaborate to catalyse a comprehensive co-creation process aimed at new programme development on urban resilience in partnership with initiatives such as The Roof Over Our Heads initiative (ROOH). ROOH is aimed at delivering sustainable habitats for low-income urban residents in the global South.
  • The ARA launched the second round of Grassroots Action Research Micro-grants, a series of grants each totalling GBP £15,000 that support locally led adaptation by targeting action and research entities collaborating to unearth knowledge, ideas, and opportunities for climate change adaptation in the Global South.

Anticipating crises and taking Early Action

Early and anticipatory action helps to protect people from the impacts of extreme weather events. We need to see ideas for delivering and scaling-up more cohesive action between development, humanitarian, and climate leaders to reduce the disaster and climate risk of vulnerable populations. 

At COP27, the UK focussed on catalysing more cohesive action between development, humanitarian, and climate leaders by discussing the co-benefits of smarter investments in anticipatory action, resilience and adaptation, and explored ways to crowd-in sufficient and appropriate financial flows, including climate finance, to reduce the disaster and climate risk of vulnerable populations living in fragile and conflict affected settings.

The UK has committed £4m for Climate Risk Management including the Risk-Informed Early Action Partnership (REAP) to bring together the climate, humanitarian, and development communities to increase action to prevent or reduce the impacts of climate change, making a billion people safer from disasters.