COP21: Climate Adaptation in the Paris Agreement

b9f7640e54975ccb-a6ddcAt the 21st session of the Conference of the Parties (COP) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Paris, France, 196 countries reached a landmark climate change agreement, which for the first time puts in place a regular, iterative process for evaluating progress and enhancing actions.

In 2018, Parties to the Convention will reconvene for a global “facilitative dialogue” to assess collective progress on achieving mitigation targets. This will be followed by a periodic global stocktake to gauge collective progress on mitigation and adaptation goals, including the state of overall adaptation efforts, priorities, and the efficacy and adequacy of support. The first global stocktake will be conducted in 2023; it will then take place every five years. (See the World Resources Institute’s blog for more information.)

The Paris Agreement also seeks to strengthen adaptation efforts under the Convention and, together with the accompanying COP decision:

• Establishes the adaptation goal of “enhancing adaptive capacity, strengthening resilience and reducing vulnerability to climate change.”

• Calls on countries to carry out national adaptation planning processes, which may include assessing climate change vulnerabilities and impacts to inform prioritization of actions, implementing actions to adapt and build resilience, and monitoring, evaluating, and learning from adaptation plans, policies, programs, and actions.

• Requires each country to submit and periodically update an adaptation communication, which summarizes adaptation priorities, efforts, and support needs.

• Encourages international, regional, and financial institutions to report on their efforts to integrate climate resilience considerations into their development assistance and climate finance programs.

• Urges developed countries to increase adaptation support and extends the timeframe for mobilizing $100 billion annually for climate change from 2020 to 2025; a higher funding target will be set after 2025. Developed countries have pledged $19 billion to assist developing countries, and the US has indicated it will double its support for adaptation to $800 million a year by 2020. Vietnam has also pledged $1 million to the Green Climate Fund, and various subnational entities, including Paris and Quebec, have committed funding to mechanisms such as the Least Developed Countries Fund.

• Requests that the Green Climate Fund provide expedited support to developing countries to prepare national adaptation plans and implement the priority actions identified in these plans.

For questions about international climate adaptation and climate finance, contact our expert Yoon Kim.