The role of the 2015 agreement in enhancing adaptation to climate change

Adaptation responses are needed to address the existing levels of climate variability and to prepare for future climate impacts. There is wide agreement that adaptation is an important issue and would benefit from being enhanced through more effective action and better planning. The prominence of adaptation in the UNFCCC negotiations has increased, in part as the scientific evidence has become clearer that climate change is occurring and its impacts are projected to grow in future. Efforts to enhance adaptation actions and increase resilience are thus expected to play a key role in the post-2020 climate agreement to be agreed at COP21 in December 2015. This paper explores how the 2015 agreement can help to foster enhanced policies and co-ordinate planning for greater resilience and adaptation capabilities at the national level. The paper considers the technical advantages and disadvantages of selected adaptation-related concepts that have been put forward in the negotiations. These include proposals for global or national goals; developing or improving adaptation institutions or planning; enhancing information availability; and facilitating or enhancing adaptation finance. Many of these proposals have the potential to improve sub-national, national and international planning about and responses to climate adaptation. However, the actual impact of these proposals is likely to vary significantly depending on how they are implemented on the ground.

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