UNEP: Finance needs to grow faster

Nations must urgently increase action to adapt to the new climate reality or face serious costs, damages and losses, a new UN Environment Programme (UNEP) report finds, and whilst the pace of adaptation financing is indeed rising, it continues to be outpaced by rapidly increasing adaptation costs. With annual adaptation costs in developing countries are estimated at $70 bn and expected to reach $140-300bn in 2030.

The UNEP Adaptation Gap Report 2020 also finds that while 72 per cent of countries have adopted at least one national-level adaptation planning instrument, and most developing countries are preparing national adaptation plans, the finance needed to implement these plans is not growing fast enough.

UNEP believes that public and private finance for adaptation must be stepped up urgently, along with faster implementation. Nature-based solutions – locally appropriate actions that address societal challenges, such as climate change, and provide human well-being and biodiversity benefits by protecting, sustainably managing and restoring natural or modified ecosystems – must also become a priority.

There is some respite in that analysis of four major climate and development funds – the Global Environment Facility, the Green Climate Fund, the Adaptation Fund and the International Climate Initiative – suggested that support for green initiatives with some element of nature-based solutions has risen over the last two decades. Indeed, cumulative investment for climate change mitigation and adaptation projects under the four funds stood at $94bn, however, only $12bn was spent on nature-based solutions – a tiny fraction of total adaptation and conservation finance.

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