PM calls for urgent action to advance climate adaptation solutions

Publish: 5:59 PM, September 11, 2019 | Update: 5:59:PM, September 11, 2019

DHAKA, – Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has joined the leaders from the Global Commission on Adaptation urging the governments and businesses to take urgent action to innovate and advance climate adaptation solutions in light of new research findings.

“Bangladesh is home to some of the initiatives taking place all over the world that collectively offer us a roadmap for resilience in the struggle to adapt to climate change,” she said in a message on the occasion of the launching of the flagship report of the Global Commission on Adaptation on Tuesday.

Sheikh Hasina said a new research report of the commission shows that although Bangladesh has made great strides, there is still more work to be done.

“That’s why I am delighted to see the opening of the Global Centre on Adaptation’s new office in Dhaka. This new office will assist Bangladesh in her coordination of new efforts and ideas to adapt to climate change while also serving as a portal for the rest of the world to learn from the successful journey we have undertaken so far,” she said.

The premier added: “After all, no nation can do this alone … we must adapt our world together.”

The Global Commission on Adaptation report was launched at events in over 10 capitals and cities around the world, creating momentum behind a new social media campaign — #AdaptOurWorld# – to demonstrate the strong global demand for adaptation.

The report finds that investing $1.9 trillion globally from 2020 to 2030 in five areas could yield $7 trillion in net benefits.

The Commission is led by Ban Ki-moon, former secretary general of the United Nations; Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation; and Kristalina Georgieva, the CEO of the World Bank.

Bangladesh is a convening country of the Global Commission and hosted a meeting of the high profile figures from the worlds of politics, business and civil society in July this year.

Ban Ki-moon and Kristalina Georgieva visited Bangladesh in July 2019 following an invitation from Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to host the first meeting of the Global Commission on Adaptation in the Global South.

During their visit, they saw first-hand how Bangladesh was adapting to the impacts of climate change. As a result of the visit, the Global Centre on Adaptation, the Managing Partner of the Global Commission on Adaptation, will be opening a new office in Dhaka.

The report was released as climate impacts are becoming an increasingly urgent reality for people around the world. Without action, climate change could push more than 100 million people in developing countries below the poverty line by 2030.

The report puts forward a bold vision for how to transform key economic systems to be more resilient and productive. The Commission finds that adaptation can produce significant economic returns: the overall rate of return on investments in improved resilience is high, with benefit-cost ratios ranging from 2:1 to 10:1, and in some cases even higher.

Specifically, the analysis finds that investing US$ 1.9 trillion globally in five areas from 2020 to 2030 could generate US$ 7 trillion in total net benefits.

The five areas considered are early warning systems, climate-resilient infrastructure, improved dry-land agriculture, mangrove protection and investments in making water resources more resilient. This represents just a portion of what is needed for adaptation globally.

Climate adaptation can also deliver a “triple economic dividend”- it avoids future losses, generates positive economic gains through innovation and delivers additional social and environmental benefits.

The report calls for adaptation that addresses underlying inequality in society and brings more people, especially people who are most vulnerable to climate impacts, into decision making. The reality is that those most affected by climate change did the least to cause the problem, making adaptation a human and moral imperative.

Citing the findings of the report, Chair of the Global Commission on Adaptation Ban Ki-moon said climate change does not respect borders: it is an international problem that can only be solved with co-operation and collaboration, across borders and worldwide.

“It is becoming increasingly clear that in many parts of the world, our environment has already changed and we need to adapt with it. Mitigation and adaptation go hand in hand as two equally important building blocks of the Paris Climate Change Agreement,” he said.

Ban Ki-moon added: “Adaptation is the right thing to boost economic growth and create a climate resilient world.”

CEO of the Global Centre on Adaptation Patrick Verkooijen said: “Climate change is already here. We must adapt to its disruptive effects by doing everything possible to protect lives and livelihoods while seizing the opportunity to create and spread solutions that will make our world stronger and better equipped to deal with future climate challenges. Adaptation generates economic, social and environmental benefits – a triple dividend”.

The report calls for revolutions in three areas – understanding, planning and finance – to ensure that climate impacts, risks and solutions are factored into decision making at all levels.

The report explores how these major system changes can be applied across seven interlocking sectors: food, natural environment, water, cities, infrastructures, disaster risk management and finance.

The Commission will make several announcements and unveil additional actions at the UN Climate Summit on September 23, 2019. These ‘Action Tracks’, which are outlined in the report, are essential to jumpstart the needed transitions.

In some cases, these actions will involve mobilising political, technical and financial support to existing initiatives. In other cases, they will entail forging new coalitions for change.

The Commission will also announce a Year of Action, at an event hosted by the Dutch government, at the UN headquarters on September 24, 2019.

The Year of Action will build on the report’s recommendations to mobilise action on climate change, which will be featured at the Climate Adaptation Summit in The Netherlands in October 2020.