Business Climate Community Development

Climate Action 2021 Summit Launches ‘Decade of Action’

2021 Climate Summit

By Joyce Mukucha

As the world is trying to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, the crisis is still hindering progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Thus the 2021 Climate Action Summit (CAS) has launched a ‘Decade of Action’ aimed at delivering action and inspiring change to help societies build better as well as assist in realising the transitions required for a climate-resilient world by 2030.

The Decade of Action calls for pledges and accelerating sustainable solutions to all the world’s biggest challenges ranging from poverty and gender to climate change, inequality, and closing the finance gap.

In September 2019, the UN Secretary-General called on all sectors of society to mobilize for a decade of action on three levels which include; global action to secure greater leadership, more resources, and smarter solutions for the SDGs.

He said local action embedding the needed transitions in the policies, budgets, institutions, and regulatory frameworks of governments, cities, and local authorities; and people action, including by youth, civil society, the media, the private sector, unions, academia, and other stakeholders, was significant to generate an unstoppable movement pushing for the required transformations.

The Online Summit which was hosted on the 26th of January 2021 in the Netherlands attracted more than 30 world leaders, 50 ministers, and 50 international organizations gathered together with scientists, the private sector, civil society, youth representatives, and over 18 500 registered participants at the Climate Adaptation Summit.

In a statement, Climate Action highlighted that world leaders and participants noted the paramount importance of investing in adaptation action for smart economics therefore several instruments were developed and launched to support an increase in finance and investment for adaptation.

“The Adaptation Finance Mainstreaming Program was launched for middle and lower‐income developing countries to improve their capacity to understand and manage climate risk.

“The newly created private sector‐led Coalition for Climate Resilient Investment (CCRI) committed to the development and testing of solutions for resilient investment decision‐making” the statement reads.

In addition to this, a new Global Ecosystem‐based Adaptation Fund, supported by Germany and implemented by UNEP and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), was developed with an initial capitalization of 15 million euros, and the first call for proposals is expected in 2021.

The International Fund for Agricultural Development launched a new umbrella Fund called the Rural Resilience Program with one key pillar,  the enhanced Adaptation for Smallholder Agriculture Program (ASAP+)  

With the objective of demonstrating the economic case and catalyzing more public and private investment, the Special Climate Change Fund (SCCF) of the Global Environment Facility approved a $2 million novel project to support the monetary valuation of Nature‐Based Infrastructure (NBI).

Climate Action revealed that it was stressed at the Summit that in several events, it was imperative to create action on the ground.

“Adaptation Action Agenda is important and it will serve as a guide for the coming years to accelerate adaptation action. Several partners upscaled the best national and subnational adaptation efforts and innovative collaborative experiences to deliver the most effective results and international partnerships.

“The 1000 Cities Adapt New program was announced by Mayor Aboutaleb of Rotterdam, on behalf of global cities and a new coalition of partners. The Principles on Locally Led Adaptation were endorsed during the CAS 2021 by over 30 organisations, including UNDP, UNCDF, the Adaptation Fund, the Global Environment Facility, Climate Investment Funds, several governments, NGO’s, such as BRAC International, Hivos, WRI, GCA, and the Huairou Commission,” further reads the statement.

It was indicated that a Project Preparation Facility (PPF) will build a pipeline of city‐led NBS projects for climate adaptation that are positioned to access large‐scale infrastructure finance and capital markets.

World Bank, Governments of Bangladesh and Ghana among other stakeholders will catalyze the integration of climate resilience into infrastructure plans in 20 countries by 2030, starting with Ghana and Bangladesh.

“The resilience of over 500 million people will be enhanced by catalyzing the integration of climate resilience into infrastructure plans in 20 countries by 2030, starting with Ghana and Bangladesh. This initiative is supported by the Netherlands. working with partners including UNOPS, GCA, Oxford Environmental Change Institute, UNEP, AfDB, ADB, EBRD, GCF World Bank, Governments of Bangladesh and Ghana.”

The World Food Programme, World Resources Institute, World Business Council on Sustainable Development, Global Center on Adaptation, Columbia University /IRI have launched an Investment Blueprint for Climate‐Informed Digital Advisory Services to help scale the provision of climate information to 100 million smallholder farmers using digital technologies.

For Africa, Royal DSM and Africa Improved Foods (AIF) and the governments of Ethiopia and Kenya announced AIF 2.0 million.

It will be expanding from Rwanda to 10 African countries by 2030, providing climate‐resilient and financially rewarding value chains for over 2 million  smallholder farmers, enhancing the nutrition for more than 100 million  consumers and driving $1 billion of private sector investment.

Other African and European countries and international institutions that participated at the summit have announced that they will jointly invest more in climate adaptation in Africa. For example, the Netherlands is contributing 20 million euros extra to the adaptation fund for least developed countries to adapt to climate change.

The Netherlands is also investing 100 million euros in the Drylands Sahel program for sustainable agriculture and better incomes for farmers and livestock farmers, with special attention for young people and women.

The African Development Bank (AfDB) announced a new Africa Adaptation Acceleration Program (AAAP). This flagship program will focus on agriculture, infrastructure, youth, and innovative finance.

The African Development Bank has also committed to mobilize $25 billion as climate finance between 2020 and 2025, of which at least 50% will support climate adaptation and resilience building.

“AfDB and GCA will use this to leverage an additional $12.5 billion through other key partners,” Climate Action revealed.

The Water Adaptation Hub was again  launched at the Summit to accelerate and scale up climate adaption interventions globally, bringing the water sector together and making the connection with other sectors.

In terms of finance, to support the work on macro, a fiscal budget, and procurement policies required to manage climate risk, UNEP FI contributed to driving the enhancement of physical risk disclosure, alongside a leading group of 10 financial institutions worth US$3.5tn.

The newly created private sector‐led Coalition for Climate Resilient Investment (CCRI) indicated that it was committed to the development and testing of solutions for resilient investment decision‐making.

“CCRI targets both developing and developed countries, in recognition of the global nature of exposure. Its membership currently stands at 70 institutions that are institutional investors, banks, insurance, rating agencies, MDBs, and governments ‐representing over USD 11tn in assets.”

The High-Level Climate Champions Race to Resilience was launched at CAS 2021. Race to Resilience aims to catalyze action by non‐state actors that builds the resilience of 4 billion people from vulnerable groups and communities to climate risks by 2030.

“Through a partnership of initiatives, the campaign will focus on helping frontline communities to build resilience and adapt to impacts of climate change, such as extreme heat, drought, flooding, and sea-level rise, via three themes: Urban: Transform urban slums into healthy, clean and safe cities, Rural: Equip smallholder farmers to adapt and thrive and Coastal: Protect homes and businesses against climate shocks.”

On locally-led action, a global coalition on local adaptation has created a set of principles on Locally Led Adaptation, to bridge the gap between climate adaptation funding and the most climate-vulnerable.

For Agriculture and Food Security, the World Food Programme, World Resources Institute, World Business Council on sustainable development, Global Center on Adaptation, and Columbia University /IRI have launched an Investment Blueprint to help scale the provision of climate information to 100 million smallholder farmers using digital technologies.

“This Blueprint for Climate‐Informed Digital Advisory Services supports countries to unlock the potential for climate-resilient agriculture provides new insights on best practice for digitally-enabled climate services and delivers an investment framework against which donors and governments can confidently invest to scale coverage and usage of critical services to enhance farmer resilience.”

The Investment Blueprint was informed by working groups involving more than 40 organisations, including the World Meteorological Organization, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa, and many others.

In terms of Disaster Risk Management(DRM), the Framework for Action sets out how partners aim to achieve the ambitious targets of the partnership, which ultimately aims to make 1 billion people safer from climate‐related disasters in the coming years.

The Climate Risk & Early Warning Systems Initiative (CREWS) was launched at the Paris Climate Change conference in 2015, with a target of raising US$ 100 million dollars to build resilience, especially in the least Developed Countries and Small Island Developing States.

“It is estimated that an additional 10 million people are being protected thanks to these early warnings systems, through 13 projects covering more than 50 countries in the world.”

Pertaining youths, young people from more than 115 countries presented a call to action among government leaders entitled ‘Adapt for our Future’ to former Secretary‐General Ban Ki‐moon.

Important international principles for the youth are the provision of universal education, expansion of economic opportunities for young people, and a strengthening position for the most vulnerable young people.  

Young people from the Northern Netherlands presented the Regional Action Agenda.

In this report, youth ambassadors of Youth for Climate Adaptation  illustrated seven recommendations to municipalities, provinces and water boards. Among other things, they are committed to more citizen participation and more climate (adaptation) in policy and education.

About the author

Byron Adonis Mutingwende