Climate change poses a growing threat to all human and natural systems on our planet. International efforts are intensifying to prepare for rising seas, higher temperatures, worsening droughts, frequent floods, and other impacts that can affect water resources, crop yields, and the health of people and ecosystems. Adaptation measures are urgently needed in vulnerable developing countries to safeguard development gains and support resilient growth.

For Least Developed Countries (LDCs) and Small Island Developing States (SIDS) which are uniquely and acutely vulnerable, the impacts of climate change translate into a myriad of hazards affecting life, livelihoods, food security, and health. Women and children are disproportionally impacted by climate change, while warming temperatures threaten to compound other problems faced by vulnerable countries which are already economically fragile and conflict affected.

Huge financing and capacity gaps constrain developing countries in their ability to tackle climate change impacts. In addition, a lack of policy coherence, limited engagement of the private sector, barriers in technology innovation and the low involvement of local communities, restricts the transformation so urgently needed to create climate resilient societies.

The GEF supports adaptation to climate change in developing countries through two trust funds established in 2001 at the seventh Conference of the Parties (COP-7) under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The Least Developed Countries Fund (LDCF) is the only fund dedicated to supporting climate adaptation needs in LDCs. It is helping them address urgent, medium and long-term climate priorities. The Special Climate Change Fund (SCCF), accessible by all developing countries, is focused on targeting the adaptation priorities of SIDS as well as catalyzing innovation, technology transfer, and private sector engagement. The LDCF and SCCF provide grants for country projects - with dedicated allocations for LDCs and SIDS. They also fund regional and global adaptation projects, as well as provide technical support to countries to help them develop effective adaptation projects.

Both the LDCF and SCCF support GEF investments in the Challenge Program for Adaptation Innovation. This initiative, which provides seed funding outside of the GEF’s regular investments, has demonstrated its unique ability to catalyze innovation in adaptation by directly engaging technology and private sector innovators, such as large-scale agricultural commodity managers, commercial financial institutions, academia, small and medium enterprise (SMEs), and insurance providers.

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