Early Action Needed
Ability to adapt — Taking early action can improve seasonal climate forecasts, food security, freshwater supplies, disaster and emergency response, famine early-warning systems and insurance coverage can minimize the damage from future climate change while generating many immediate practical benefits. While adaptation to climate change is important to all countries, it is particularly important to developing countries, whose economies heavily depend on climate-vulnerable sectors such as agriculture, and which have less capacity to adapt than industrialized countries.
Averting economic loss — Without adaptive efforts, a 2.5°C increase in temperature is likely to result in a 0.5-2 per cent decrease in gross domestic product, with higher losses in most developing countries. As an example, Sierra Leone estimated that the full protection of all its vulnerable shores will require an estimated amount of US$ 1,100 million, which is about 17 per cent of its GDP. Making development projects more resilient to climate impacts is expected to increase project costs anywhere between 5 and 20 per cent.
Limited assistance so far for planning — Estimates show that only a small portion of official development assistance-financed projects currently incorporate climate risk into planning.
Delays mean greater risks — Delays in implementing adaptation, including delays in finance and support for adaptation in developing countries, ultimately means increased costs and greater dangers to more people in the future. Major events, such as droughts, monsoon failure or loss of glacial meltwater, could trigger large-scale population movements and large-scale conflict due to competition over scarcer resources such as water, food and energy.
Adaptation strategies vital
— Adaptation, at the national level, includes initiating an effective implementation strategy for adaptation, including enhancement of the scientific basis for decision making; methods and tools for the assessment of adaptation; education, training and public awareness on adaptation, including for young people; individual and institutional capacity-building; technology development and transfer; and promotion of local coping strategies. Beyond that, possible initial activities on adaptation could include appropriate legislation and regulatory frameworks, which promote adaptive-friendly action. Using climate change as a driver to undertake activities with multiple benefits can actually catalyse progress in achieving a country’s sustainable development goals, while contributing to adaptation objectives.
Sustained financing for adaptation — Without targeted funding, adaptation runs the risk of not being effectively addressed and funding may be largely limited to "reactive" funding, such as short-term emergency relief, which would be unsupportive of sustainable development approaches and be very costly.
The member Governments of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change have established a number of funding opportunities for adaptation projects including through the Global Environment Facility Trust Fund and three special funds: the Least Developed Countries Fund, the Special Climate Change Fund and the Adaptation Fund under the Kyoto Protocol.