An investment of 1.8 trillion US dollars in climate adaptation measures in five areas globally from 2020 to 2030 could generate 7.1 trillion US dollars in total net benefits, stated the report released today at the 14th Conference of Parties (COP14) to the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD).
Investment in five areas including early warning systems, climate-resilient infrastructure, improved dryland agriculture crop production, global mangrove protection and investments in making water resources more resilient would give maximum impact says the ninety-page Global Commission on Adaptation report.
Anand Patwardhan, Research Director of the Global Commission on Adaptation, presented the report. As a funding agency of the convention, Global Environment Facility (GEF) CEO Naoko Ishii was also present at the event. Global Commission on Adaptation seeks to accelerate climate adaptation by elevating the political visibility of adaptation and focusing on concrete solutions. According to the report, “Investing in adaptation will yield economic, social and environmental benefits and reduce losses”. The report focuses on making a case for climate adaptation, providing specific insights and recommendations in key sectors such as food security, environment, water, cities and urban areas, infrastructure, disaster risk management, and finance.
Global Commission on Adaptation is guided by 34 Commissioners, consisting of leaders from political, business and scientific worlds. It is led by Secretary-General of the United Nations Ban Ki-moon, Bill Gates of Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and World Bank’s CEO Kristalina Georgieva.
Land degradation is an emerging environmental crisis worldwide. Globally about 25% of the total land area has been degraded, and it is estimated that 24 billion tons of fertile soil were being lost every year. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), if this trend continues, 95% of Earth’s land could become degraded by 2050. Moreover, climate change could push more than 100 million people within developing countries below the poverty line by 2030. Without adaptation, climate change might depress growth in global agriculture yields by up to 30% by 2050, according to the report. The 500 million small farms around the world would be most affected.
The number of people who may lack sufficient water for at least one month per year would soar from 3.6 billion currently to more than 5 billion by 2050, without adaptation. Rising seas and greater storm surges could force hundreds of millions of people in coastal cities from their homes, with a total cost to coastal urban areas of more than $1 trillion each year by 2050.
UNCCD Executive Secretary Ibrahim Thiaw said that the cost of climate change on people and economy is clear. “Around 1 million species of animals are at risk, and they are severely affected by land degradation worldwide. We already have land degradation, climate change, affected forest community, but we have to transform narratives of all these problems through climate change adaptability.”
The author is covering UNCCD COP 14 under Earth Journalism Network Media Fellowship.