Politics

COP27: Hosts launch plan to help poorest adapt to climate change

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PHILIPPINE STAR/ KRIZ JOHN ROSALES

SHARM EL-SHEIKH, Egypt — The hosts of the COP27 climate talks on Tuesday launched a global plan to help the world’s poorest communities withstand the impacts of global warming.

Unveiling the Sharm-El-Sheikh Adaptation Agenda, named after the Egyptian resort where the talks are being held, the plan sets out 30 goals to hit by the end of the decade to enhance the lives of 4 billion people.

The hope is that by setting targets across themes including food and agriculture, water and nature, and coastlines and oceans, the public and private sectors will work with common goals and accelerate adaptation to change.

Urgent targets highlighted by the COP27 Presidency include moving the world to more sustainable agriculture practices that could increase yields by 17% and cut emissions by 21%.

Other goals include protecting 3 billion people from catastrophic weather events by installing early warning systems to help them prepare; investing $4 billion into mangrove restoration, which protects against flooding; and expanding clean cooking options to 2.4 billion people to reduce indoor air pollution.

“The Sharm-El-Sheikh Adaptation Agenda is a critical step at COP27,” COP27 President and Egypt’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Sameh Shoukry said in a statement

“The COP27 presidency has long articulated our commitment to bringing together state and non-state actors to progress on adaptation and resilience for the 4 billion people that live in the most climate vulnerable regions by 2030.”

In total, the plan seeks to mobilize up to $300 billion a year from private and public investors. By contrast, the world’s biggest multilateral development banks spent $17 billion on adaptation finance for poorer countries in 2021, a report by the lenders published last month showed.

The majority of climate finance goes towards mitigation efforts, such as reducing emissions, despite U.N. pleas that half of all funding should be channeled into helping vulnerable countries adapt.

Africa, hosting its first COP, receives just 3% of total climate finance globally and was being “short changed,” Akinwumi Adesina, president of the African Development Bank, told a conference session on the theme of adaptation.

Among specific Africa-focused projects to be announced at COP27 that will help meet the adaptation targets are a plan to improve water resilience for 29 million people across 100 cities.

Going forward, the U.N. Climate Change High-Level Champions for COP27, which form a link between the hosts of the COP, other national governments and non-state actors such as companies, said they would continue to refine and expand the targets.

U.N. climate chief Simon Stiell said: “The Sharm el-Sheikh Adaptation Agenda firmly puts key human needs at its core, along with concrete, specific action on the ground to build resilience to climate change”. — Reuters