Time to Get It Right on Adaptation

9 December 2014

Yesterday morning, ECO was hardly awake when the much anticipated new ADP texts popped up. With glacial melting in Peru and yet another catastrophic typhoon in the Philippines, it was imperative to look at the adaptation and loss and damage section carefully. A number of good elements are still in there but also a few new ones are evident – for example, that loss and damage seems to be on equal footing with adaptation, and a separate section speaks to the reality that it goes beyond adaptation.

ECO likes the proposal to have new and additional finance for the loss and damage mechanism independent of adaptation budgets. Also good is the proposal for a clear adaptation finance figure, though the link to INDCs and adaptation needs is missing. It’s also good to see the the inclusion of adaptation in the 
INDCs in conjunction with National Adaptation Plans (NAPs), but on a different legal footing than mitigation. The decision text should speak clearly on the need of finance for the preparation and implementation of INDCs.

There are a few issues where concerns remain. For example, the mere mention of a global goal on adaptation is not enough. It needs to be 
defined as outlined here yesterday.

Also, limiting support to adaptation in line with the long-term temperature limit could fall well short, unless parties give convincing evidence that their efforts are actually going to meet that goal. As the temperature continues to rise, leading to catastrophic impacts, we need to adapt to the real world – not so hard to imagine given the greenhouse effect in the overheated sheds at this conference.

Other good elements include key adaptation principles referencing participation, gender-sensitivity (although we would prefer gender-equitable) and taking into account vulnerable groups. But it’s hard to understand why it is only suggested in one option – surely this should be uncontested, since it was agreed by all Parties in Cancun.
What ECO definitely doesn’t like (really, 
really doesn’t) is the option inserted to have “no reference to loss and damage”, which would be a slap in the face to poor and vulnerable peoples who face climate impacts on a day to day basis and have already reached the limits of 

The elements paper also misses a clear link between loss and damage and the historic emissions that have caused them.
ECO thinks that an annex to the ADP decision clearly spelling out the need for strict comparability between the different mitigation INDCs – to avoid comparing apples and oranges – is crucial. This will also help assess associated adaptation and climate risk challenges. For 
adaptation, the information requirements should be relevant to the context and be flexible, building on the guidance provided for 
National Adaptation Plans.

We need to build an agreement that delivers real hope for people who are already suffering from climate change impacts, and also future generations who deserve a just, safe and bright future.

Time to Get It Right on Adaptation

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