Climate Change

COP26: Adapting To A Changing Climate

Adaptation – finding ways to cope with the impacts of climate change – will be one of the key priorities at the global climate summit – COP26 in Glasgow at
10 Sep 2021 12:00
COP26: Adapting To A Changing Climate

Adaptation – finding ways to cope with the impacts of climate change – will be one of the key priorities at the global climate summit – COP26 in Glasgow at the beginning of November.

Climate change is already having a significant impact on lives and livelihoods around the world.

There are obvious impacts on agriculture as weather patterns change, and traditional crops suffer from higher temperatures or too little – or too much – rainfall.

As Fiji and other Pacific countries know well, extreme weather events – cyclones, storm surges, heavy rains – damage or destroy schools and houses, roads and infrastructure.


Other parts of the world increasingly face shortages of water.

All these impacts are felt disproportionately by vulnerable countries, and by vulnerable groups within countries – by the poor, and groups who are already marginalised or excluded.

Adaptation is about finding ways to respond to these challenges, through different approaches to agriculture – more resilient crop varieties or different crops, irrigation methods that minimise water use; water storage to keep communities supplied through longer dry periods; building to standards that will withstand extreme events and higher temperatures; better methods of coastal protection; and innovative approaches to insurance, like the Pacific Insurance and Climate Adaptation Programme (PICAP) recently launched with the support of the UN Capital Development Fund.


Making that happen at the necessary scale requires research and knowledge, political will, and financial resources.

Through its COP26 Presidency, the British Government aims to encourage greater political ambition, tools, finance, coordination and commitments to support adaptation action on the ground, delivering the ambition set out in the Paris Agreement.

The UN climate change process must facilitate the actions of countries as they put climate risk at the centre of decision making and agree to put in place delivery mechanisms for adaptation and enhanced action to avert, minimize and address loss and damage.


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What is the challenge?
The scale of climate risks and impacts on communities across the world are increasing.

While we strive to hold global temperatures to well below 2° Celsius and pursue efforts to limit the increase to 1.5° Celsius, change is now inevitable.

Even if we stopped emissions rising today, the world would still need to deal with significant climate disruption.

The current plans for greenhouse gas reduction put us on a trajectory for levels of warming well above the dangerous 2° Celsius threshold.

All countries must do more to prepare for climate change. Action will need to be well informed, co- ordinated and sustained.


This will require adaptation and resilience receiving greater political attention and national plans that enable engagement from the local to the national level.

Those national plans need to address gender and other forms of inequality and exclusion, such as those relating to poverty, race, ethnicity, disability and age, which drive vulnerability to the impacts of climate change and undermine resilience.


At the same time, women and girls, indigenous and marginalised people are frontline responders and critical agents of change within adaptation action.

Their leadership, meaningful participation and access to finance, including through civil society organisations, must be at the heart of effective and sustainable resilience-building efforts.

Supporting national adaptation planning, and improving preparedness for climate-related


Ahead of COP26, all countries need to set out progress on and needs for adaptation through an Adaptation Communication.

This will enable adaptation efforts to be recognised, contribute to a better understanding of progress on adaptation and raise the political profile of adaptation.


States are encouraged to highlight national support for locally-led adaptation and projects that explicitly involve, and deliver for, marginalised groups, including women and girls, indigenous peoples and youth.

Ahead of and at COP26 countries will have the opportunity to showcase their adaptation communications at ministerial level.

Mobilising and advancing adaptation action through state and non-state actors.

Tangible, demonstrable adaptation action supports progress on the Global Goal on Adaptation.


And successful approaches need to be shared, so that methods that have been shown to work in one country or context can be taken up and used in others.

At the United Nations Climate Adaptation Summit (UNCAS) on 25 January 2021, the UK Prime Minister launched the Adaptation Action Coalition (AAC) to mobilise action on adaptation and galvanize momentum ahead of COP26 and beyond.


In partnership with the existing UNCAS Coalition, this will build on the Call for Action on Adaptation and Resilience to transform political commitments into tangible action on the ground.

Fiji is a member of the steering group of the AAC, and has been leading work on Climate resilient and sustainable low carbon health systems.

Through the AAC, and other mechanisms, including the UK’s G7 Presidency, we are encouraging governments to endorse the Principles for Locally Led Adaptation action, and work with countries and organisations towards the operationalisation of these Principles ahead of COP26.


As the UK’s COP26 Adaptation and Resilience Champion Anne-Marie Trevelyan has said, “we know that effective adaptation requires local leadership.

So enabling more locally led adaptation, informed by inclusive plans, is a critical part of what we as a presidency are seeking to catalyse”.


Increasing The Accessibility, Efficiency And Quality Of Adaptation Finance
Increasing the quality and quantity of adaptation finance (public and private) and improving access to finance to support adaptation action will be important items for discussion in Glasgow.

To meet global adaptation and resilience needs, we must make finance more accessible, available and efficient.

We look to the big developed economies to ensure that the commitment of $100 billion per year in climate finance is met, and that a higher proportion of it goes to adaptation.


The UK is doing its part, and has doubled its climate finance commitment for the current five year period.

We need to ensure that adaptation finance advances equality and social inclusion, delivering on the needs of those who are most impacted by climate change.

The UK will use its COP26 Presidency to convene climate finance recipients and providers to identify practical solutions to these issues.


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Nature-based Solutions
It is increasingly clear that in seeking effective responses to the impacts of climate change, we should be working with nature, not against it.

Nature-based solutions – drawing on and protecting natural systems – are central to effective adaptation.

They include restoration of wetlands, which can protect against storms; conserving or restoring forests that stabilize soil and runoff during floods; and protecting or replanting mangroves and sea grass that provide protection to vulnerable coastlines and a habitat for fish and other marine life.

They also include approaches to agriculture that avoid the use of pesticides and chemical fertilisers, and the use of inter-cropping to strengthen resilience.


Nature-based solutions can provide many co-benefits — for nature, economies, communities, culture and health.

We welcome the commitment of the Fijian authorities to greater use of nature- based solutions.


One example is the programme of the Ministry of Waterways for the construction of nature-based seawalls for vulnerable coastal villages, which the British High Commission is pleased to support through a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed on 25 th August 2021.

Adaptation is an issue for the long term. Like many aspects of the climate crisis, it demands new ways of thinking and new ways of acting.

We want COP26 to be a catalytic moment that will see the world’s governments stepping up to respond to the challenges.



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