Representing the Global Commission on Adaptation (GCA), Ban Ki-moon, the 8th Secretary-General of the United Nations, Kristalina Georgieva, CEO of the World Bank, and Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, met with global leaders at the World Economic Forum in Davos to discuss practical solutions to respond to the growing consequences of climate change

Even if the goal of keeping global temperature rise below two degrees Celsius is achieved, climate-related disasters are already happening and will increase, which makes the case for adaptation increasingly urgent noted the GCA.

“Facing mounting climate impacts, we must accelerate adaptation efforts worldwide to reduce risks and expand economic opportunities for all people. Tragically, and too often, the poor are the most affected by the impacts of our changing climate,” said Ki-moon. “Today’s discussions with the Commissioners and other global leaders focused on advancing innovative solutions in agriculture and food security and scaling up finance for adaptation.”

Global Commission on Adaptation
Image Credit: Global Commission on Adaptation

The organization further stated that the international community must step up action ahead of the UN Climate Summit in September, for which the UK is leading efforts to advance climate resilience. This will be followed by a Year of Action culminating in the Global Adaptation Action Summit in October 2020, convened by the Netherlands.

“Adaptation must move into the mainstream of policymaking, business strategies and development planning. Through these efforts, the world can advance dynamic solutions that will reduce risk and bring economic opportunities for more people,” said Ki-moon. “We are all in this together. We must mobilize leadership and unlock investments in adaptation that can improve people’s lives today and for generations to come.”

The Year of Action will advance the recommendations from the flagship report presented at the UN Climate Summit and catalyze and guide several high-impact action tracks on urgent issue areas, including food security, infrastructure, finance, urban resilience, and nature-based solutions, with tangible and actionable targets.

According to this year’s Global Risk Report, extreme weather events and failure of climate change mitigation and adaptation were ranked as the top two risks, with water security and sea level rise also factoring into the top risks, based on a survey of 1,000 leaders in the public sector, private sector, academia and civil society.

Around the world, we are seeing bright spots— action is being taken to ensure that infrastructure can withstand extreme heat, agriculture can remain productive despite prolonged droughts, and homes are protected from coastal storms,” said Ki-moon. “Yet adaptation needs to be achieved at a far greater speed and scale than we are seeing today.”

The Global Commission on Adaptation was launched in October 2018 to accelerate adaptation action and support by elevating the political visibility of adaptation and focusing on concrete solutions to the climate crisis. It is convened by 17 countries and guided by 30 Commissioners, and co-managed by the Global Center on Adaptation and World Resources Institute.

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