Least Developed Countries call for increased focus on climate adaptation

Date: 28 January 2021

Thimphu, Bhutan – The world’s least developed countries appealed to the international community for a greater focus on climate change adaptation, particularly locally led adaptation, at the Climate Adaptation Summit held virtually this week.

Bhutan, represented by Mr Sonam P. Wangdi, Chairs the Group of the 46 Least Developed Countries in the UN climate negotiations. He said “Our people are increasingly suffering from a climate crisis they did little to cause. We need to work together to adapt to the inevitable effects of climate change and build resilience against its impacts.” 

Support for adaptation is urgently needed in the least developed countries, as our countries have low capacity to respond but have high exposure to increasingly intensifying climate impacts.

“Our priority is ensuring our communities and our economies can adapt to the changing climate. The climate crisis is worsening and our countries are the most vulnerable. Lives and livelihoods are at risk each day. Climate adaptation is critical for ensuring a safe future for all of our people, and future generations.”

At the Climate Adaptation Summit, a number of countries and organisations expressed their commitment to the Principles for Locally Led Adaptation. Mr Wangdi said “we are inspired by these principles for locally led adaptation. It is at the local level that communities are most familiar with climate impacts affecting them, and best positioned to develop and implement actions to adapt that are effective and sustainable long term.”

At the summit, German chancellor Angela Merkel announced that Germany is making 100 million euro available for the Fund for the Least Developed Countries. 

Mr. Wangdi welcomed this announcement for increased support for climate adaptation, saying “I’m pleased that some countries are scaling up their support dedicated to actions for adapting to climate change. We welcome the announcement made by Germany to contribute additional funding to the LDC Fund. The LDC Fund is the only multilateral fund fully dedicated to climate action in LDCs. We therefore highly acknowledge contributions made to this fund that helps to implement adaptation action in our countries.  We hope to see other governments follow suit to protect our people from the worst climate impacts. There is still a long way to go to close the gap between the level of adaptation finance that is needed and that which has been received.” 

The UN Adaptation Finance Gap Report estimated that, by 2030, adaptation costs are likely to be in the range of US$140-300 billion per annum. Developed countries are yet to fulfil their commitment of mobilising $100 billion in climate finance, and so far most of what has been delivered is geared towards mitigation actions. Renewed focus on supporting vulnerable countries with climate change adaptation actions is key to protecting the lives and the livelihoods of the poorest and most vulnerable as the climate crisis worsens.

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