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Saturday, September 30, 2023

COP26: Adaptation Fund raises record $232.6m in new pledges

The Adaptation Fund held its annual Contributor Dialogue on Monday, November 8, 2021 at the UN COP26 climate change conference in Glasgow, and received a record-shattering $232.6 million in new support from contributing national and regional governments.

Ovais Sarmad
Ovais Sarmad, Deputy Executive Secretary of UN Climate Change Secretariat

A record 13 donors announced new pledges for the Fund. The Fund’s previous annual resource mobilisation record was $129 million, which it reached three years ago at COP24 in Katowice, Poland.

The new amount far surpassed the Fund’s 2021 resource mobilisation goal of US$ 120 million and doubled the $116 million it raised a year ago. It will also make a considerable dent in its $300 million-plus pipeline of project proposals that are under development but have not yet been funded.

New pledges include first-time contributions from the United States, Canada (at the national level) and Qatar and several contributions that were significantly higher than in the past from some of the Fund’s other contributors such as Spain, Quebec and Ireland, and still others such as Finland who returned to contribute after several years. It also included new multi-year commitments to the Fund, from Norway and Ireland, which followed Sweden’s first multi-year pledge to the Fund a couple years ago.

The 2021 pledges announced included Germany (USDeq approx. 58.2 million); the United States (US$ 50 million); Spain (USDeq 34.9 million); the United Kingdom (USDeq 20.6 million); Sweden (USDeq 15.1 million applied from its USDeq 53 million pledge for 2019-2022); Switzerland (USDeq 10.9 million); Norway (USDeq 8.38 million applied from its 300 million NOK pledge for 2021-2024); Finland (USDeq 8.1 million); Canada national government (USDeq 8.1 million); Quebec regional government (USDeq 8.1 million); Ireland (USDeq 5.8 million applied from its EUR 10 million commitment over 2021-2022); the Flanders Region of Belgium (USDeq 3.49 million); and Qatar (USDeq 500,000).

It is possible that more contributions for the Fund may come in before the end of the conference.

The Adaptation Fund had high hopes entering COP26, which has drawn some 40,000 attendees, as one of the conference’s top goals was to enhance adaptation action. Governments, beneficiaries and supporters of the Fund’s concrete actions on the ground for the most vulnerable and innovative programmes came through in the end.

Mattias Broman, Adaptation Fund Board Chair, said: “As the Adaptation Fund has continued to face record demand over the last several years, our hopes for urgently needed adaptation action on the ground and further support for the tangible, effective, scalable and innovative actions the Fund provides to the most vulnerable have been exceeded with these record-breaking pledges that have doubled the amount we raised last year,” said Adaptation Fund Board Chair Mattias Broman, of Sweden.

“We extend our deep appreciation to all of the contributors, both long-time and new alike, as well as those who have made multi-year commitments. It will reach those on the ground who need it most with concrete solutions and go a long way to helping many more vulnerable communities adapt and build resilience to climate change, while empowering country ownership and local leadership in adaptation,” he added.

In addition to its concrete projects in serving the Paris Agreement and pioneering Direct Access to build country ownership in adaptation, the Fund has adapted and continued to deliver throughout the pandemic and actively expanded its funding windows to adapt to the climate urgency by launching new grants to foster scale-up of projects, innovation and learning in adaptation, as well as Enhanced Direct Access. Its Board also doubled the amount of funding countries can access for single-country projects.

Ovais Sarmad, Deputy Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, said the Fund has delivered on its mandate, improving resilience for more than 31 million beneficiaries while restoring ecosystems and establishing early warning systems which have had positive impacts on vulnerable people on the frontlines of climate change.

Although adaptation finance is still far behind where it needs to be and parties have called for a balance between mitigation and adaptation, he said progress is being made and voices are being heard.

“We must keep the momentum going. I really and sincerely appreciate all of your efforts and your support for the Adaptation Fund,” he said.

Mr. Jochen Flasbarth, State Secretary, Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety, of Germany: “The largest contributor to the Fund over the years with US$ 513 million in total contributions, Germany again stepped forward with the highest contribution for the Fund this year, at USDeq 58 million.

“The Adaptation Fund is doing good things on the ground, close to the communities, is enormously innovative given the quite limited amount of money and is seeking ways to most efficiently spend the money,” said Flasbarth, adding praise for the Fund for raising its cap on single-country projects and its country-led nature. “We are very happy to be part of this family.”

Mr. John Kerry, Special Presidential Envoy for Climate of the U.S., said the stakes could not be higher at COP26 to reduce emissions and increase adaptation efforts for years to come for those already feeling climate impacts around the world. He outlined President Biden’s emergency plan for adaptation and resilience, and announced the first ever-contribution for the Adaptation Fund at $50 million.

“We see the Adaptation Fund as a key partner in this effort,” he said “It’s led the way in supporting developing countries as they adapt to climate change, from pioneering a Direct Access approach in building institutional capacity, investing in small-scale locally led adaptation initiatives, to the new innovation facility that will scale up and accelerate new adaptation practices and technologies, and the Adaptation Fund will bring us closer for sure to a climate-resilient future

“ We think working with the Adaptation Fund, building on an excellent track record that helps people and protects ecosystems and continues to accelerate our work, we can get there. Adaptation is clearly more urgent, clearly more important, clearly more on the table than it has been at any other time and it should be. We have to prepare for what the warmer world is going to bring. And that does need investing in a climate resilient future and supporting those communities and countries amongst us that are the most vulnerable.”

In announcing a new USDeq 34.96 million contribution to the Fund, Ms. Valvanera Ulargui, General Director of Spain’s Climate Change Office, said: “This is the year that adaptation has more importance than ever. We need to be bold; we need to invest. Spain has been part of the Fund’s Board since the very beginning. It is very close to our hearts. Impacts of climate change are becoming more evident. We are very happy to participate with this Fund.”

Ulargui added that Spain will collaborate with the Fund to strengthen mainstreaming efforts with all climate funds, and enhance access to information and resources for developing countries.

“We must act now to stop climate change from pushing more people into poverty. We know that climate impacts disproportionately affect those already most vulnerable,” said H.E. Anne-Marie Trevelyan, Secretary of State for International Trade and COP26 Champion for Adaptation and Resilience, of the United Kingdom, in a release announcing UK’s USDeq 20.68 million pledge to the Fund, who also spoke at the dialogue. “We are aiming for significant change that will ultimately contribute to sustainable development and a climate resilient future for all, with no one left behind.”

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