UN General Assembly: Strong pledges to boost action on climate adaptation
Over the next twelve months the Global Commission on Adaptation (GCA) will foster real action to prepare the world for the impacts of climate change. The commission announced the Year of Action at a special meeting during the UN General Assembly in New York on 24 September. The Year of Action will run until the Dutch Climate Adaptation Summit, to be held in Amsterdam on 22 October 2020.
Action is needed now
The meeting was kicked off by chairman of the GCA-commission and former UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon and Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte as host of the commission and its supporting centre.
‘It is crucial for us to take action in order to prepare properly for the impact of climate change. Dehydration, extreme downpours, prolonged heat, and exhaustion of farmland: innovation, action, and adaptation are desperately needed,’ Prime Minister Rutte stated. ‘If we do not built on a resilient future now, we risk the undermining of food, energy and water security’, he warned.
Mr Ban Ki-Moon added: ‘Action is imperative if we want all people, especially those living on the frontlines of climate change, and our children, who will inherit the impacts of climate change, to have the opportunity for a better future. We no longer have any time to waste.’
Several pledges for action
The meeting was attended by leaders of governments and organisations who were asked what their contributing action will be for the coming year.
Bill Gates reminded of the 300 million dollar earmarked by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation on the development of new seeds for food production. According to Gates small farmers will be impacted most by floods and droughts. ‘It is expected that their yields will go down by 30 percent. This will disturb food markets, leading to higher food prices', he warned. Especially in Africa where the population growth is expected to be the highest in the world.
Prevention of disasters
President Sebastian Pinera (Chile) promised to make sure that climate adaptation will be high on the agenda of the climate summit COP25 in Santiago in December. Mayor Francis Suarez of Miami promised to bring the issue to the table of American cities. Secretary-general Elhadj As Sy of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) highlighted the action by his organisation on early warning systems to prevent extreme weather events becoming disasters.
The Commission, which was set up last year on the initiative of Minister Van Nieuwenhuizen, presented its Adapt Now report on 10 September. Its main conclusion is that damage caused by waterlogging, heat, drought, and urban flooding will increase further if we refrain from prompt investments in the prevention of climate damage.
The Commission has calculated that every euro invested in, for instance levee improvement, will save between 2 and 10 euros, because such efforts will mitigate the damage caused by flooding.
Amsterdam Climate Summit
On 22 October 2020, the Year of Action will be concluded by a Climate Adaptation Summit in Amsterdam, where all the plans generated by the Year of Action will be presented. Furthermore, countries, businesses, and NGOs will be provided with a platform to showcase the climate solutions they have developed.
In the week around the Climate Summit, the Netherlands will demonstrate the Dutch climate solutions to delegations from abroad, as potential solutions to the climate challenges they are faced with.