Will Rich Countries Answer Africa’s Adaptation Call?

1 December 2015

One message that transpired from Monday’s leaders’ event was that developed countries claim to have a lot of solidarity with vulnerable countries. Good. ECO assumes they are now planning to turn warm words into action–and answer Africa’s call to double the share of adaptation finance in overall climate finance, from today’s 16% to 32% by 2020, a call first heard at the pre-COP a few weeks ago.

This would lead to US$32 billion a year by 2020 for adaptation, within the $100 billion promise, so (good news) no new money would have to be found. Rather, such a target would be a qualification of the $100 billion promise, and likely find support among vulnerable countries from all continents and contribute to the building of an alliance of ambition here in Paris.

However, when ECO spoke to developed countries about this, some offered rather lame excuses (so much for solidarity). One negotiator said setting such a target was too prescriptive–as if developing countries haven’t been asking for increased adaptation finance for ages. Another tried to dodge the challenge, claiming there are not enough adaptation projects in the pipeline, although admitted that if poor countries would be provided with readiness and capacity building support, that pipeline would get clogged in no time, and demand for finance would skyrocket.

To be clear, needs are much higher than $32 billion a year. Adaptation costs in developing countries alone are set to rise to around $500 billion a year by 2050, even in a below-2°C scenario. Against this, Africa’s call seems rather modest, actually; getting 50% of the $100 billion by 2020 channelled to adaptation would be more appropriate, ECO thinks.

In any event, adopting such a pre-2020 adaptation finance target would be a political move–of which the next two weeks will require quite a few. Answering Africa’s call on adaptation finance might turn out to be one of the easier ones.

Will Rich Countries Answer Africa’s Adaptation Call?

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