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Addressing Global Climate Adaptation Meeting, Deputy Secretary-General Calls for Acting ‘Boldly Now for People, Planet before It’s Too Late’

Following is the text of UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed’s video message to the Global Centre on Adaptation’s high-level dialogue on “Adaptation Acceleration Imperative for COP26”, in Rotterdam, Netherlands today:

Excellencies, distinguished guests, dear colleagues,

I welcome today’s important dialogue on Accelerating Adaptation Solutions Ahead of COP26 (twenty-sixth session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change).

The Secretary-General has called the latest IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) report a “code red for humanity”.  It issues a stark warning of the escalating impacts of climate change.

The IPCC findings provide irrefutable evidence that billions of lives are at risk unless we rapidly cut emissions.  And the entire planet is going through a season of fire and floods that is hurting primarily fragile and vulnerable populations in rich and poor countries alike.

It is essential that we limit temperature rise to the internationally agreed goal of 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels.

We are already seeing the impacts with 1.2°C rise.

Countries and populations worldwide — particularly those most vulnerable and least responsible for the climate crisis — will experience even more devastating consequences.  The effects will reverberate through economies, communities and ecosystems, erasing development gains, deepening poverty, increasing migration and exacerbating tensions.

Acting now is a question of climate justice, and we have the solutions.

If we take bold and decisive steps towards a net-zero global economy by 2050, we can keep within 1.5°C.  But, even then, we will still have to contend with violent climate disruption.

We need massively scaled-up investment in adaptation and resilience.  This is absolutely critical for those at the frontlines of the climate crisis.  Yet, only 21 per cent of climate finance is channelled to adaptation efforts.

Of the $70 billion that developing countries need now to adapt, only a fraction is being provided.  Adaptation costs to the developing world could rise to as much as $300 billion dollars a year by 2030.  We have a moral imperative to close this gap.

There is also a clear economic case for early investments in adaptation and resilience building.

Lives will be saved and livelihoods protected.

For this reason, the Secretary-General has called on donors and multilateral development banks to allocate 50 per cent of total public climate finance to adaptation and resilience.

But countries who need this support continue to face severe challenges accessing climate finance.

We need to simplify rules and ease access for LDCs (least developed countries), SIDS (small island developing States) and other vulnerable nations.

We also need to accelerate the development of initiatives such as the Africa Adaptation Acceleration Program, jointly developed between the Global Centre on Adaptation and African Development Bank, that have the potential to deliver rapid and transformative results that protect lives and livelihoods.

The Program will galvanize climate resilient actions to address the impacts of COVID-19, climate change and the economy.  I welcome this much needed support for people of Africa.

Excellencies, We must respond to the climate crisis with solidarity.

Adaptation can no longer be the neglected half of the climate equation.

We have less than 80 days to COP26.  I urge you to act boldly now for people and planet before it’s too late.

Thank you.


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