Photo by IISD/ENB

On Adaptation, Loss and Damage Day at COP26, GCA convenes over thirty ministers to accelerate adaptation action

G lasgow, United Kingdom, 8 November 2021 – The Global Center on Adaptation (GCA) in partnership with the UK COP26 Presidency, today convened Ministers at the COP26 Presidency’s Adaptation, Loss and Damage theme day, to discuss accelerating climate adaptation action. The COP26 High-Level Ministerial Dialogue follows the inaugural Ministerial Dialogue held during the Climate Adaptation Summit in the Netherlands in January 2021.

Human activity is changing the global climate. The impacts associated with this temperature change are severe and growing. Around the world, people are experiencing heat waves, wildfires, rising sea levels, fiercer and more frequent storms, unpredictable rainfall bringing floods and droughts, acidification of our oceans and desertification of land. Developing countries and small island states are the most acutely at risk.

The Ministerial anchored its deliberations in three “Focus Streams” where the achievement of progress can deliver the most strategic and wide-ranging impact:

  • Ambition: Sustaining commitments, building understanding, and forging solutions and tools to drive more ambitious adaptation action on the ground.
  • Financing: Mobilizing the billions and shifting the trillions to power a climate resilience transformation within the world economy.
  • Partnership: Sharing best national/subnational adaptive efforts across all of society and innovative collaborative experiences to deliver the most effective results and international partnerships

In each of the three Focus Streams, introduced by leaders from financial institutions, Ministers from every continent and region, representing responsibilities from across governments, put forward proposals and initiatives for action and collaboration that concretely elevate the adaptation agenda and promote enhanced resilience responses on the ground.

Convening the meeting, Anne-Marie Trevelyan, Secretary of State for International Trade of the United Kingdom and UK International Champion on Adaptation and Resilience for the COP26 Presidency said:
“We need a fundamental transformation of economic activity and must address the inequalities and the injustices that exacerbate climate vulnerability for so many populations. It is our responsibility to build a climate resilient future for all. I am privileged to announce today new UK support of £274 million for the ‘Climate Action for a Resilient Asia’ programme. This will empower and equip 14 million people with the means to adapt to the impacts of climate change.”

Patrick Verkooijen, CEO of Global Center on Adaptation, Chair of the meeting said:
“Today’s meeting, with the participation of more than 30 ministers from all regions and leaders of the most important financing organizations, will be judged by one thing and one thing only– have we accelerated bold adaptation action for those living on the frontlines of our climate emergency? We must bring more ambition and more finance to help us adapt to the pace of our changing climate which has increasingly serious consequences for the world’s poorest and most vulnerable. Action on adaptation is critical not only because is the morally right thing to do – it is smart economics. For example every dollar invested in resilient infrastructure yields four dollars in return. Business as usual is a sure-fire route to chaos. But if we adapt we have the opportunity to thrive.”

Ban Ki-Moon 8th Secretary-General of the United Nations and Chairman of the Board of the Global Center on Adaptation said:
“A step-change is needed to address the gaps in ambition – on mitigation, on adaptation and on finance. To support the delivery of the Paris Agreement goals. As the only international organization dedicated entirely to accelerating adaptation action, the GCA is ready to play its part in this transformation. To urgently accelerate climate action and ensure finance is flowing to support this transition, especially for the poorest and the most vulnerable. There is no time to waste.”

Emily Bohobo N’Dombaxe Dola, Youth Representative and Facilitator of the Adaptation Working Group of the Official Youth Constituency to the UNFCCC, YOUNGO, spoke about the importance of listening to the voices of the young and vulnerable and engaging them as critical stakeholders in climate action to accelerate the pace and impact of adaptation solutions:
“We want to ask all countries and ministers to consider when they are thinking about vulnerability, climate adaptation, and loss and damage, they must look at communities as diverse in which some members are more affected by the impacts of climate change than others – from women and girls to disabled people to the elderly to young people. That means that any adaptation plans must be responsive to these differences around social marginalization and discrimination.”

Amina Mohammed, Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations said:
“We have the solutions and technologies we need. Governments, businesses and civil society are showing what is possible through collaboration and partnerships. People centred and inclusive early warning systems to climate proof infrastructure such as buildings, power connectivity, water supply systems and also roadways. To ecosystems’ based models of development such as the Great Green Wall Initiative in the Sahel region in Africa and to affordable expedited and flexible climate finance and risk transfer mechanisms. Step by step we are moving towards a more resilient future and the implementation of the SDGs. But we must do more. We must accelerate and scale up solutions like these and that’s what this meeting is all about. I look forward to hearing the results of your discussion. Let’s continue joining forces to boost adaptation finance and deliver the green economic transformation that humanity requires for our planet, for our children and for our future.”

The following leaders also participated in the dialogue:
Akinwumi Adesina, President of the African Development Bank; Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Canada; Flemming Møller Mortensen, Minister for Development and Nordic Cooperation, Denmark; Per Olsson Fridh, Minister for International Development Cooperation, Kingdom of Sweden; Barbara Pompili, Minister of Ecological Transition, France; Tom de Bruijn, Minister of Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation, Netherlands; Ambroise Fayolle, Vice-President, European Investment Bank; Mariam bint Mohammed Saaed Hareb Al Mheiri, Minister of Climate Change and Environment, United Arab Emirates; John Haley, CEO and director, Willis Towers Watson ; Mari Pangestu, Managing Director of Development Policy and Partnerships, World Bank; Yasmine Fouad, Minister of Environment, Egypt; Andrea Meza Murillo, Minister of Environment and Energy, Republic of Costa Rica; Kwaku Afriyie, Minister for Environment, Ghana; Hyginus Leon, President of Caribbean Development Bank; Susanna Moorehead, Chair of Development Assistance Committee, OECD; Jonathan Pershing, Deputy Special Envoy for Climate, United States of America; Ève Bazaiba, Minister for the Environment, Democratic Republic of the Congo; Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, Attorney-General, Minister for Economy, Civil Service and Communications, and Minister responsible for Climate Change, Republic of Fiji; Juan Nicolas Galarza, Vice Minister of Environment and Sustainable Development, Republic of Colombia; Alfredo Mamani, Vice Minister of Strategic Development of Natural Resources, Republic of Peru; Gamal Mohamed Hassan, Minister of Planning and International Cooperation, Federal Republic of Somalia; Yutaka Shoda, Vice-Minister of the Environment, Japan; Agnes Kalibata, President, Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa; Andrej Vizjak, Minister of the Environment and Spatial Planning, Republic of Slovenia; Pohamba Shifeta, Minister of Environment, Tourism and Forestry, Republic of Namibia; Abdou Karim Sall, Minister for the Environment and Sustainable Development, Republic of Senegal; Hassan Musa, Vice-Minister of State for Environment, Federal Republic of Nigeria; Andres Landerretche, High Level Envoy of the Chilean COP25 Presidency; Sabra Ibrahim Noordeen, Special Envoy for Climate Change, Maldives; Beatrice Atim Anywar, State Minister for the Environment, Republic of Uganda; Nancy Tembo, Minister of Forestry and Natural Resources, Republic of Malawi; Beksultan Ibraimov, Deputy Minister of Natural Resources, Ecology, and Technical Supervision, Kyrgyzstan and Pearnel Charles, Minister of Housing, Urban Renewal, Environment and Climate Change, Jamaica.

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