Adaptation in the latest Paris draft agreement

Reducing global greenhouse gas emissions is at the heart of the UNFCCC’s mission, but enhancing our ability to adapt to unavoidable impacts of climate change is gaining traction within the negotiations. In 2010 the Cancun Agreements stated that adaptation should be treated “with the same priority” as mitigation, and began the process of building a more robust global framework to support adaptation efforts across countries. The agreement identified key focus areas, including national adaptation planning, assessments, institutional capacities, enhancing cooperation across Parties, and strengthening data and learning about climate impacts and adaptation.

In the draft text released today from the Paris negotiations we see promising signals that this commitment to enhancing work on adaptation continues to grow. Article 4, paragraph 1 of the draft agreement establishes a global goal of “enhancing adaptive capacity, strengthening resilience and reducing vulnerability to climate change” and introduces a new mechanism, adaptation communications, to track progress towards this vision. A key area of negotiation remains the adequacy of climate financing for adaptation needs, particularly in Least Developed Countries. With the UN’s own estimations indicating that current INDC commitments still bring us into the range of a 2.7-3.9C increase in global average temperatures, adaptation is more important than ever and a key area to watch as negotiations enter their final hours.

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