We must work together for adaptation and resilience to climate change
As the world works to recover from the devastating impacts of Covid-19, we must look at how we build back sustainably. Efforts to cope with climate shocks should be at the heart of this, because even if we stopped global warming tomorrow, countries around the world, including Bangladesh, will continue to feel the impacts. Without urgent action, 100 million people are at risk of being pushed into poverty by 2030 due to the impacts of climate change, primarily in South Asia as well as Sub-Saharan Africa.
That is why we're putting adaptation and resilience at the top of the agenda. Alongside efforts to reduce our emissions, helping vulnerable communities adapt to the impacts of climate change is a priority for the UK in our presidency ahead of the UN Climate Change conference, COP26, in November this year.
At the Climate Ambition Summit in December last year, we welcomed 20 new commitments on adaptation. This included ambitious targets from Bangladesh on mitigation and adaptation, as well as the UK's own Adaptation Communication, setting out our commitments to prepare for the impacts of climate change, both in the UK and supporting others to do so across the world.
In my role as the UK's International Champion for Adaptation and Resilience, I am determined to build on this momentum and drive real change.
In my former role as UK International Development Secretary, I learned how valuable it is to listen to the knowledge and experiences of those on the frontline of some of our world's most pressing challenges. For COP26, this means listening to the voices of those most impacted by climate change and learning from their experiences.
Bangladesh itself is firmly on the frontline, having long experienced the worsening impacts of extreme weather events, including the most prolonged monsoon flooding in decades last summer. Bangladesh is all too aware that climate change is a very real threat, and that it is already having very real impacts.
And that is why Bangladeshi experience and expertise has been so significant in guiding an effective and targeted global response to the issue.
The UK is proud to have worked in partnership with Bangladesh and a host of other countries to deliver the adaptation and resilience workstream of the UN Secretary-General's Climate Action Summit in 2019. I look forward to what else our partnership can deliver.
Last week, I was honoured to participate in the Gobeshona Global Conference on Locally Led Adaptation, virtually hosted by the Bangladesh-led International Centre for Climate Change and Development. I heard from experts around the world about how we can work together to urgently shift the dial on adaptation action, in order to build global resilience. Conversations like these, with those already bearing the brunt of the impacts, are invaluable to ensure action is targeted, practical and effective.
At Gobeshona, I introduced the UK's joint commitment to co-develop the Adaptation Research Alliance, with the International Centre for Climate Change and Development and other global partners. This bold, ambitious new initiative aims to create the systemic change needed to generate knowledge on adaptation that delivers real results on the ground.
We believe this new Alliance has the potential to transform how research is conducted, building a closer link between knowledge and action.
The Climate Adaptation Summit this week, hosted by the Dutch government, was a further opportunity to shine a light on adaptation and resilience. I participated in an event on locally-led action and was fascinated to hear about the challenges, best practices and opportunities for adaptation and resilience, as well as to share the UK's ongoing work to drive global action.
The Prime Minister launched the Adaptation Action Coalition in partnership with Egypt, Bangladesh, Malawi, the Netherlands, St Lucia and the United Nations Development Programme. The Coalition will bring together countries across the world to drive forward ambitious, government-led action to adapt and build resilience to the impacts of climate change.
This will work together with other global initiatives to prioritise adaptation to climate change and build a vital foundation for the work to come. As we count down the weeks to COP26, we must use this time to drive real and impactful change.
While we work to reduce emissions and limit global warming, it is imperative we also implement finance systems, make commitments and take action that will protect communities against climate change for decades to come.
A vital part of this, as COP26 President-Designate Alok Sharma highlighted at the Climate Ambition Summit in December, is that more action is needed by the international community to improve the way we deliver climate finance. Through our G7 and COP26 Presidencies, we will work with other donors and multilateral development banks to put more emphasis on adaptation funding and expedite its delivery.
In March, we will host an event to bring together climate vulnerable and donor countries to address the connected challenges of climate change and development. I am excited to continue our collaboration, at this event and beyond, to transform political commitments into action on the ground.
We must all work together to take coordinated and targeted, effective and practical action to adapt and build resilience as we recover from Covid-19. A fairer, greener and more inclusive world depends on it.
I look forward to working closely with our partners in Bangladesh to drive forward global ambition to protect those most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change.
Anne-Marie Trevelyan is the UK's International Champion on Adaptation and Resilience.