Dr. Denton joins UNEP’s Adaptation Gap Report Launch, Says Action Needed on Findings

LIMA, Peru 7 December, 2014 (ClimDev-Africa) – A senior official of the Economic Commission for Africa yesterday called for the infusion of the findings of UNEP’s recent Adaptation Gap Report into current discussions on the costs of adaptation to climate change for African countries. 

Ms. Fatima Denton, Director of the Special Initiatives Division at the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), was speaking at the launch of the report on the sidelines of the global climate talks (COP20) which ended the first week of negotiations in Lima, Peru yesterday.

The report, launched by UNEP’s Deputy Executive Secretary, Mr. Ibrahim Thiaw, reiterates the fact that even if global gas emissions were cut to levels needed to keep global temperature below 2 degrees Celsius this century, the cost of adapting to climate change in developing countries would still be two to three times the previous estimates of US$70-100 billion per year by 2050.

The report finds that despite adaptation funding by public sources reaching US$23-26 billion in 2012-2013, there will be a significant funding gap after 2020, unless ‘new’ and ‘additional’ finance for adaptation is made available; a position long held by the African Group of Negotiators (AGN).

The report’s stated goal is to serve as a preliminary assessment of global adaptation gaps in finance, technology and knowledge generation and lays out a framework for future work on better defining and bridging these gaps.

It highlights the need to accelerate the propagation and international transfer of technologies for adaptation and calls on national authorities and the international community to take the necessary steps to ensure that other gaps are addressed in future planning and budgeting.

Mr. Thiaw admitted that the report focuses on gaps just in three areas: funding, technology and knowledge, but promises to look into other areas in future editions.  

Last year, UNEP released the Africa Adaptation Gap Report which cautioned that adaptation costs for Africa alone could reach approximately $350 billion annually by 2070 should the 2 degrees Celsius target be significantly exceeded, compared to $150 billion lower per year if the target were met.

Last Friday, Mr. Achim Steiner, Executive Director of UNEP, told journalists that “as world leaders meet in Lima to take the critical next step in realizing a global agreement on climate change, this report underlines the importance of including comprehensive adaptation plans in the agreement.”

Other experts who discussed the report’s findings were Dr. Richard Klein, Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI), Dr.  Saleemul Huq of the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED), and Youssef Nassef of the UNFCCC Secretariat.

(Issued by ClimDev-Africa)