By Nyasha Mutena
The United Kingdom’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson is set to announce a fresh international coalition to tackle the impacts of climate change.
The launch was done virtually and was hosted by the Netherlands Climate Adaptation Summit, the first ever global summit which focused solely on adaptation and resilience, Prime Minister Boris Johnson will officiate the Adaptation Action Coalition.
Zimbabwe is expected to also benefit from this as it joined the list of countries increasingly becoming susceptible to climate change. According to research conducted by Konrad Adenauer Stiftung, in Zimbabwe, climate change will cause average temperatures to rise by about 3°C before the end of this century. Annual rainfall could decline by between 5 % and 18%, especially in the south. Rainfall will become more variable. There will be an increase in droughts, floods and storms.
According to the Meteorological Services of Zimbabwe, since 1987 the country has experienced its six warmest years on record, with daily minimum and maximum temperatures having risen by approximately 2°C over the past century. This has seen the country experience extremes of weather over the past two decades.
Many countries have had to deal with droughts, decreased freshwater and destroyed biodiversity.
Developed by the UK in partnership with Egypt, Bangladesh, Malawi, the Netherlands, Saint Lucia and the United Nations, this new Coalition will work to turn international political commitments made through the United Nations Call for Action on Adaptation and Resilience into on-the-ground support for vulnerable communities.
Many countries across the world are already experiencing the impacts of climate change, from forest fires in Australia to the recent cyclones in Mozambique. Without action, many more will experience significant disruption and extreme weather, devastating communities and livelihoods.
With support, countries and communities can adapt and build resilience to the impacts of climate change. Measures like early warning systems for storms, investing in flood drainage and drought resistant crops are cost-effective, saving not just money, but lives and livelihoods.
In the UK for example, where most areas experiencing high rainfall events as a result of climate change, the Government has committed an additional £5.2 billion to new flood and coastal defence schemes.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson at the Adaptation Summit had this to say;
“It is undeniable that climate change is already upon us and is already devastating lives and economies. We must adapt to our changing climate, and we must do so now.
“I’ll be making the need for a resilient recovery a priority of the UK’s G7 presidency this year. To make sure we get not just warm words but real change, I am today launching an all-new Adaptation Action Coalition to set the agenda ahead of COP26.
“Let’s work together to adapt, to become more resilient, and to save lives and livelihoods all around the world.”
COP26 President-Designate Alok Sharma said:
“We know that the most vulnerable are at the greatest risk from climate change, and that they have done the least to cause it. Action to address this and build resilience is needed now, before more people lose lives or livelihoods.
“I am calling on all countries to come forward with ambitious adaptation plans. This important new coalition will crucially focus minds around the world to accelerate adaptation delivery in the areas most in need.”
UK Commissioner to the Global Commission on Adaptation Emma Howard Boyd said:
“Last week, flood defences protected tens of thousands of people in England from record river levels during Storm Christoph. Investments in flood protections help economic development and also improve health and wellbeing by enhancing green and blue spaces.
“The Environment Agency, government and local partners have a lot of expertise to share with the world, and we also have a lot to learn. International collaboration, as championed by this coalition, is vital.”
The Coalition will draw on the expertise of scientists, businesses, civil society and more, and will act as a forum for developed and developing countries to share knowledge and best practices on local, regional and global solutions to deal with climate change.
The UN High-Level Climate Champions’ Race To Resilience campaign and new Dutch-led Adaptation Action Agenda will help inform the Coalition to host a series of sector specific events. This will bring together governments, the private sector, communities and funders to deliver action to safeguard people and economies from the impacts of climate change.
The UK is already taking action both at home and internationally to improve resilience to climate change, becoming one of the first countries in the world to fulfil a key commitment of the Paris Agreement by publishing its Adaptation Communication at the end of last year.
The Adaptation Action Coalition takes forward the 2019 Call for Action on Adaptation and Resilience from the United Nations Climate Action Summit, committing countries to act now on adaptation, integrate climate risk into all decision making, and increase the availability of adaptation financing. It has now been signed by over 120 countries, the European Union, and 86 organisations, including a number of UN agencies.
The Climate Adaptation Summit brings together institutions, government leaders, mayors, the private sector, civil society and youth movements, to drive forward the critical changes needed for societies to manage the effects of our climate emergency. It will deliver enhanced ambition, accelerated actions and tangible solutions to the challenges of a world that is heating up, demonstrating how a climate-resilient future can and must be achieved.
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson appointed Anne-Marie Trevelyan MP as the UK’s International Champion on Adaptation and Resilience for the COP26 Presidency in November 2020 to drive forward global ambition and action to support countries on the frontline of climate change to adapt to its impacts and build resilience. In her role, she regularly engages with the governments of the countries most affected by climate change and works to drive support from the international community and private sector.