ADaPtation Is Important!

2 May 2013

ECO listened carefully to yesterday’s roundtable on adaptation. The roundtable discussions brought forward new ideas and thinking on how adaptation can move ahead in the 2015 agreement in a way that adequately addresses escalating climate impacts. 

There seems to be consensus that adaptation will be a key pillar of the 2015 UNFCCC agreement.  Additionally, many Parties acknowledge that there cannot be a trade-off between mitigation and adaptation, and that without sufficient mitigation, many adaptation efforts will not be enough to cope with mounting impacts, and substantial loss and damage will thus be unavoidable.  While these statements are welcome, ECO asks whether Parties will really deliver the required paradigm shift towards climate resilient development.
We are starting to see some “out of the box” thinking, and a recognition that the 2015 agreement provides additional impetus for action. As the delegate from Uganda so eloquently stated, 2015 needs to mark a watershed for implementation – building, strengthening and fully putting into practice the institutions launched in Cancun.
Ideas from delegates included the possibility of a global benchmark or goal for adaptation, as well as the need to stir up action by other international and regional processes on adaptation. The Marshall Islands set out how national legislative action on adaptation could be counted towards developing country commitments under the ADP (ECO of course assumes that these could not be traded against legally-binding mitigation commitments). ECO was also pleased to hear several countries clearly state that they expect a loss and damage mechanism under the 2015 agreement.
ECO agrees that the ADP negotiations need to build on the work of recent years.  Good working relationships between the SBs and the Adaptation Committee will be crucial. But building on the existing landscape should not be confused with business as usual. The 2015 agreement needs to harvest and catalyse the political will needed to bring existing commitments and institutions to where they need to be, including through substantially scaled-up public finance for adaptation. 
ECO looks forward to further inspiration, ideas and critical reflection by delegates in the ADaPtation negotiations.

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