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Adaptation to climate change: international agreements for local needs

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Author:
E. Levina
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In view of the climate change challenges, this paper aims to outline a possible framework for an agreement on adaptation. It highlights several issues that need to be recognised and clarified to make such an agreement effective and in the process, it also examines several key building blocks that could be considered for such an agreement. Since 1992 many significant achievements in addressing vulnerability and adaptation have been made from the framework for adaptation under the UNFCCC to other international agreements. However, many gaps remain especially in implementation of adaptation measures. The author asserts that several innovative measures could be proposed to address special adaptation needs of low income and vulnerable countries. For example, development of microfinancing structures in developing countries would allow local communities, civil society groups and municipalities to implement adaptation actions on their own and microfinancing structures could combine financial services with clearing-house services that would facilitate access to relevant information and best practices. Key concluding points noted include:

gaps that exist include the fact that actions on adaptation are still very limited and sporadic, and clear framework for staged and planned adaptation actions including an agreed scope of activities does not yet exist
adaptation occurs in the course of the implementation of other international agreements, in particular the Convention on Biological Diversity, Convention on Desertification, the International Strategy for Disaster Risk Reduction, and the Millennium Development Goals. However, the level of efforts on meeting the objectives of these agreements and the level of funding is inadequate
a new agreement on adaptation could include the scope of adaptation-relevant activities, expanded funding mechanisms (including national policy requirements that would mobilise funding into adaptation), and cooperation with other relevant international agreements and organisations.