Progressive countries agree shared vision at COP28 to transform adaptation finance

COP28 saw the 2023 Climate and Development Ministerial (C&DM) launch its vision for building political ambition on adaptation. Gebru Jember Endalew and Sejal Patel reflect on adaptation discussions inside and outside of the negotiation rooms, and set out three ways that the C&DM process can help raise ambition to reform the finance system and deliver adaptation finance more effectively.

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Gebru Jember Endalew is the regional lead at the Global Green Growth Institute; Sejal Patel is a senior researcher in IIED's Climate Change research group
13 December 2023
UN climate change conference (COP28)
A series of pages related to IIED's activities at the 2023 UNFCCC climate change summit in Dubai
A large group of seated people listen to a women speaking at a podium.

Participants listen at the Climate and Development Ministerial event at COP28 in Dubai (Photo: COP28 presidency)

The second week of COP28 saw the Climate and Development Ministerial co-hosts ─ Malawi, Vanuatu, UK and COP28 president UAE ─ launch a vision for reforming the adaptation finance architecture.

A shared vision on adaptation finance

The vision (PDF) sets out three key goals, with priority actions outlined for each goal. 

These goals are: 

  • Enhancing country-owned programmatic financing
  • Easing access to adaptation finance, and
  • Scaling up all sources of adaptation finance.

The vision is the result of a series of technical and political dialogues, supported by IIED and E3G that have taken place through the course of the year.

Twelve countries and one organisation stepped forward at the launch to endorse the vision and confirmed their commitment to work together to drive forward progress on the goals. They were the governments of Denmark, Ireland, Italy, Malawi, Nepal, the Netherlands, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, Samoa, Somalia, Tuvalu, the UK, Vanuatu and the Adaptation Fund.

Pushing for progress

Together, the endorsers will lead on progressing these goals over the coming year. Each endorser will pick one of the three goals. Their job will then be to coordinate with actors across the landscape and lead, facilitate and push forward progress on their designated goal.

They will be at the helm of raising the ambition and will report back on progress at the Climate and Development Ministerial in 2024. 

There are ambitions for this leadership group to grow, with an open invitation for others to join if they can demonstrate that they too are progressive on adaptation finance. 

Reforming the global finance system to transform the adaptation finance landscape is a long-term process, which requires substantial, consistent commitment in the short term.  

Progress next year depends on coordinated, collaborative and targeted efforts, with a strong focus on keeping energy high in the coming months. 

Delivering the vision 

We believe there are three key elements of this process that bring value to the ongoing efforts inside and outside the negotiation rooms, and will be crucial for progressing this agenda.

1. Building on progress

The progressive group of countries and institutions are committed to collaborate, to build on each other’s good practices, to pilot and test, and to amplify what is working. It is critical to share and learn from practice, and feed back into the negotiations. These ongoing efforts will complement the negotiation process and help drive things forward.

Developing a shared vision helps give legitimacy to collective action, creating a mandate for the champions of each goal, that driving progress is now in their hands. We hope that working together in this way will create a shared sense of ownership and the responsibility to deliver.

2. Creating safe spaces and shared evidence bases

The technical dialogues and exchanges under the C&DM process has provided a space for actors from across various groups to come together for frank exchange, removing formalities and allowing for perspectives, approaches and ideas to converge.

To feed into the political process of building a shared vision, earlier this year the least developed countries (LDCs), Small Island Developing States and Champions Group on Adaptation Finance began a process of reviewing evidence on what is working for LDCs and SIDS in adaptation finance delivery.

This work will continue into the new year, seeking to identify what models and characteristics of adaptation finance are working well for delivery and access from both provider and recipient perspectives. The work in achieving the vision will need to chart ways to replicate and scale up examples that are working across funders and contexts.

3. Rebuilding trust

Over the years, the COP negotiations have eroded a lot of trust; the climate finance promise made by developed countries to deliver US$100 billion per year to developing countries by 2020 was not met on time. The Global Stocktake, a review of progress towards the goals of the Paris Agreement, shows how far behind we are on progress.

Setting the Global Goal on Adaptation is an uphill battle, and developed countries are struggling to meet their commitment for doubling adaptation finance from 2019 levels by 2025, with the amount of adaptation finance delivered falling between 2020 and 2021.

This Climate and Development Ministerial’s vision and process can go some way to help rebuild trust by showing countries’ commitment to act and make tangible changes.

Outside of the negotiation rooms, it is these processes that are key for keeping up momentum to push for transformative adaptation.

About the author

Gebru Jember Endalew is the technical lead at the LDC Initiative for Effective Adaptation and Resilience (LIFE-AR) and regional lead, monitoring, reporting and verification, and climate diplomacy, at the Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI)

Sejal Patel ([email protected]) is a senior researcher in IIED's Climate Change and Shaping Sustainable Markets research groups

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