Climate change is here. The impact of rising temperatures can be seen through more extreme weather patterns, diminishing water resources and crop yields, and weakening marine ecosystems. The most vulnerable populations are those least able to cope.
We must continue mitigation efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. But, increasingly, the world needs to focus on adaptation, especially for the poorest countries. Not just to build resilience against future changes, but also to preserve all the efforts to fight poverty in these communities. Read more+
In December 2015, global leaders reached an agreement at the Paris climate talks (COP21) to keep global warming below 1.5-2°C. Yet even limiting temperature increases will not undo the need to adapt to the impact of climate change.
The World Bank estimates it will cost between US$70-100 billion every year for adaptation if we can keep temperatures from rising beyond 2°C by 2050. Others put the price tag even higher. They argue we have underestimated the cost of safeguarding our global ecosystems, and meeting the needs of all developing countries.
There are persistent barriers to scale up and mainstream climate change adaptation. Resources for adaptation fall far short of demand, and finance is unpredictable. As a result, vulnerable countries have few incentives for long-term planning. Even if they want to pursue adaptation, these countries often lack institutional and technical capacity to do so.
What We Do
The GEF is an operating entity of the financial mechanism to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). We were the first global source of funds for adaptation. As such, we have been at the forefront of international efforts to strengthen the resilience of developing countries to climate change. We channel our support mainly through the Least Developed Countries Fund (LDCF) and the Special Climate Change Fund (SCCF). Read more+
- The Least Developed Countries Fund (LDCF) was designed to address the special needs of the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) under the UNFCCC. The LDCF has financed the preparation of National Adaptation Programmes of Action (NAPAs) in 51 countries, of which 50 are completed and submitted. Following COP guidance, the LDCF has further financed projects that give each LDC the opportunity to access one-on-one support tailored to their specific needs and circumstances. The aim is to strengthen their institutional and technical capacities to start or advance their National Adaptation Plan (NAP) process. Most LDCF financing, however, provides concrete, on-the-ground adaptation benefits to vulnerable populations.
- The Special Climate Change Fund (SCCF) finances adaptation to climate change in all eligible developing country Parties to the UNFCCC, including non-LDCs. While the SCCF has four financing windows, adaptation was given top priority in accordance with UNFCCC guidance. The SCCF is highly innovative and has financed adaptation activities ranging from port sector resilience to national-level climate risk insurance.
The LDCF and the SCCF have been entrenched in the Paris Agreement and will support climate change adaptation in developing country Parties to the Paris Agreement going forward.
A third mechanism, the Strategic Priority on Adaptation program (SPA), was launched in 2005 as a US$50 million allocation within the GEF Trust Fund. Twenty-six innovative pilot projects were approved under SPA and initial lessons from the portfolio were captured in a 2010 evaluation. The SPA is now closed.
In GEF-6 (2014-18), our programming for adaptation focuses on ten priorities:
- Agriculture and food security
- Water resources management
- Coastal zone management
- Infrastructure, including transport and energy
- Disaster risk management
- Natural resources management
- Climate information services
- Climate-resilient urban systems
- Small-island developing states
Since 2001, the GEF — through the LDCF, the SCCF and SPA — has provided over US$1.3 billion in grant financing and mobilized US$7 billion from other sources for 320 adaptation projects in 129 countries, including all LDCs and 33 small island developing states. These projects are expected to directly reduce the vulnerability of at least 17 million people. Read more+
The GEF in action: Farmers build resilience in Zambia - In the Kazungula district of Zambia, where most people are smallholder farmers, more than 69 percent of the population live in poverty. As part of a GEF adaptation project, farmers are learning skills to strengthen the resilience of their crops and to base harvest and production decisions on weather and climate trends. With improved soil and water conservation, the farmers have tripled their yields of maize and also increased harvests of sorghum, cowpeas and sunflower. In addition, farmers learned how to raise goats, which are resilient to disease and drought. The extra income from goat rearing helps pay their children’s school fees.