SPECIAL COP22 – Adaptation finance still an “unfinished business” after Marrakech talks

Last Thursday (Nov. 16) the High-Level Ministerial Dialogue on Climate Finance took place at COP22, bringing together ministers and state representatives to collectively reflect on the path to meet the climate finance adaptation needs of developing countries (including the USD100 billion goal). According to the program the Dialogue was meant to provide a vision on how to further the mobilisation of climate finance, especially for adaptational purposes and how to focus on enabling and delivering initiatives on leveraging and catalysing public and private finance. Furthermore, addressing issues and opportunities related to enhancing access and developing innovative tools to sustain the transformation towards a climate-resilient economy also featured among the topics to be discussed.

Being the last major climate finance related event of the Conference it brought high expectations, which, apparently, haven’t been met. The picture of Marrakech climate talks not being able to deliver the necessary boost for financial means to support poorer countries which struggle to cope with the worsening calamities is becoming clear, according to negotiators and development charities.

A few pledges were made, but they are still a pittance compared with what developing countries need. These countries have made impassioned pleas in Marrakech for more financing to help their transition to a more resilient economy: so far those please have largely fallen on deaf ears, their representatives stated.

Some interventions during the Dialogue complained about the inadequacy of current level of international government finance for poorer nations: for instance, Frank Bainimarama, prime minister of the Pacific Island nation of Fiji, describe the era we live in as “terrifying” because of climate change, after a cyclone wiped out one fifth of his country’s GDP this year. He called for new measures such as strengthening homes and infrastructure, criticising international efforts and urging to rearranging global spending priorities to those most at risk. Lutz Weischer, of the think tank Germanwatch, said that “doubling [the adaptation finance] is not enough”, referring to the estimates of the USD100 billion roadmap projections. A more aggressive action is needed, quantified by developing countries as quadrupling of adaptation funding, but a response from rich states is unlikely since Marrakech talks are drawing to a close, financial experts say.

Speaking of adaptation finance, the bottom line of Marrakech talks is not promising at all. According to Zambian president Edgar Lungu “adaptation needs continue to be neglected rather than prioritised”. Jan Kowalzig (Oxfam Germany) piled it on stating that “[…] adaptation finance gap was unfinished business back in Paris, and the Marrakesh talks seem to be just kicking it down the road once more”. Despite some pledges coming from Germany and Sweden to the Adaptation Fund, adaptation finance discussions achieved little concrete during the twentieth edition of the Conference of Parties and continues to be a critical point for climate change dialogue.

(Image: El Perdigón. Credit: elizabeth lies/unsplash.com)