Adaptation Fund: Progress and Peril

11 November 2013

Will the Adaptation Fund (AF) come to a standstill next year?

Only three years after the first call for proposals, the AF has approved 29 concrete adaptation projects and allocated US $200 million. It has entered new ground with its direct access modality.
Just a week ago, the Board of the AF approved a comprehensive environmental and social policy, including capacity building support for developing country institutions to meet the substantive requirements.

Delegates should really have a look at the annual report of the Adaptation Fund Board. The AF has made remarkable strides in very tough circumstances, and yet things are actually getting worse.  

The main funding source of the AF, the “share of proceeds” of CERs from the Clean Development Mechanism, has now almost totally dried up. Early in 2012 the AFB estimated it would have another $200 million from that source during the year. Instead, CER prices collapsed and only $17 million was delivered.
The AFB also set a fundraising goal of an additional $100 million by the end of 2013, to be met mostly from direct contributions by Parties. But only 4 pledges were made since then (brave Sweden weighed in twice), amounting to only roughly $40 million.

And yet some good has come out of it. The new funds were immediately turned into action, since a number of projects have already been approved by the AF but were just waiting for money to come in. But the targeted $100 million will be used up fast and there is an urgent need to replenish the Adaptation Fund.

Could it be that other developed countries were just holding their pledges so they could make them at this COP? ECO, of course, is ever-optimistic. Developed countries that constantly confirm they stand by their goal to mobilise $100 billion a year by 2020 will surely not argue they can’t find $100 million to support urgently needed adaptation actions.

So who's next? ECO will carefully record every single million pledged at this COP to save the Adaptation Fund. We might even suggest that participants at the world coal summit might want to chip in, but suspect they will be distracted by other matters than helping those who need help the most.

But let’s not forget how far the Adaptation Fund has come and where it is going. This is the starting point of a longer journey to 2020 (remember that $100 billion?) and beyond. Making good on climate finance promises requires this COP to deliver much more – making finance available immediately for 2013-2015, a global finance roadmap to 2020 including scaling up plans from each country, and much more.

We all must learn to walk before we can run.  Meeting the $100 million goal of the Adaptation Fund should be a scene-setter for the early days of week 1 in Warsaw – giving ministers a jump start on the bolder stuff that gets us on a path to $100 billion.

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