Category: Development

Caribbean Community to create world’s first climate resilient region

Caribbean Community to create world’s first climate resilient region

By Elisa Jiménez Alonso

Just before the end of 2017, chairman of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), Haiti’s president Jovenel Moïse announced that in 2018 the group is moving towards the creation of the world’s first climate resilient region.

After hurricanes Irma and Maria left widespread devastation in the region, the Caribbean is now in the process of rebuilding and they want to do so in a resilient way. Moïse said “the absolute necessity to create a climate smart region is clear given the effects of climate change, which have brought us droughts, mega hurricanes, heavy floods and unusual weather patterns, all of which adversely affect our development.”

CARICOM’s resilience building efforts will be implemented against the backdrop of its Caribbean Community’s Strategic Plan for 2015-19 period, which also includes making the most out of the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME). CSME, Moïse explained, remains the “best vehicle for creating the economic resilience [the region needs].”

The chairman emphasised “The solidity and efficiency of that partnership will be tested as never before given the magnitude of the rebuilding task ahead of us. We have to rebuild with resilience now to forestall damage in the future, in other words, to build back better.”

Watch Jovenel Moïse’s message below:

Cover photo by Augustin de Montesquiou on Unsplash: Streetscaep of Havana, Cuba.
Creating climate resilient landscapes in Guatemala

Creating climate resilient landscapes in Guatemala

By UNDP Adaptation

Guatemala faces many hazards related to climate variability and climate change. Projections and scenarios indicate increases in temperature, decreases in total mean precipitation, increases in the frequency of extreme precipitation events, as well as in the frequency and intensity of extreme climatic events.

The Productive Landscapes Resilient to Climate Change and Strengthened Socioeconomic Networks in Guatemala project aims to increase climate resilience in productive landscapes and socio-economic systems in pilot municipalities that are threatened by climate change and climatic variability impacts, in particular hydro-meteorological events that are increasing in frequency and intensity. It will achieve this through a suite of key outcomes that range from enhancing institutional capabilities, supporting more resilient local economies, and increasing communities’ adaptive capacity.

The initiative is supported through a grant from the Adaptation Fund (AF), and executed in Guatemala by the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources (MARN) with the support of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) as the implementing agency.

Watch the video to learn more about the project:

Visit the project website by clicking here.

Cover photo by Albert Dezetter/Pixabay: San Antonio on the shores of lake Atitlán, Guatemala.
Stay or go? People under climate pressure must be able to choose

Stay or go? People under climate pressure must be able to choose

By Jan Kellet, UNDP

Millions on the move, and many more millions likely to move – and our changing climate is the cause. This is not an unusual narrative, whether seen in news and views, or predictions of future movement from the advocacy community.

But the evidence of direct causality is not so clear, and in a report ODI and UNDP have just released, we try unpick the facts of climate change and human mobility – asking what we do know and what we don’t.  It is time to move beyond the rhetoric.

What we do know

We are a mobile species, of that there is no doubt – 244 million people live outside their birth country, and 740 million are displaced or have moved within their country.  There are 157 million international migrants living in G20 countries, representing 3 percent of the population.

Evidence reveals that most cross-border migrants stay local, in their region. Beyond this we have insights into how movement is quite particular.

For example, Pakistani men are 11 times more likely to migrate during heatweaves than heavy rainfall because excessive heat has a heavier impact on income. And in India, increasingly erratic rains can push families to move, women doing so for up to three months, locally, and men for a year and more, and much further away.

We also know that sudden-onset climate hazards (storms, typhoons, extreme heat, flooding) displace millions – in 2016, 24 million, 32 times more than those displaced by earthquakes and tsunamis, and three times as many of those fleeing conflict.

And we know that between 2008 and 2016, sudden-onset events were responsible for 99 percent of internal displacement: an average of 21 million people annually. The events with the greatest impact are almost always flooding, such as in 2016, when all 10 of the largest disaster displacement events were from floods or storms.

So we know lots of people move, most often within their region as a matter of choice, while millions are forced to move, usually by flooding, and that patterns of movement can be discerned within particular geographies and hazards.

What we don’t quite know

It gets much more difficult from here.

Those hazards that creep up – drought, desertification, ocean acidification, salinisation, glacial retreat and sea-level rise – are much more difficult to track when it comes to their impact on human mobility. This is because with these – even with things you can visibly see over time, such as rising-sea levels – why people move may not actually be because of that sea-level rise, but attributable to many other factors.

These factors – political, social, economic, environmental, cultural – are part and parcel of people’s lives, and just as critical to why they may move or not.

Perhaps the education system is good enough to remain in an area where desertification is affecting your crops. Perhaps you take great stock in the cultural and familial connections of your home town, meaning you simply put up with seasonal flooding. Perhaps promised infrastructure, such as sea walls and other coastal protection, is year on year being postponed.

When people do move, they balance all these factors with the context of where they are going, and where they might go to. They consider issues of employment, healthcare, education, transportation, communication and much more.

The clear message is this: Independent of other context, our changing climate (arguably even for sudden-onset events) does not necessarily mean people will move.

What should we do?

That we can’t attribute human mobility to the changing climate directly does not mean, however, that we should sit our hands. We certainly need better evidence on the complex inter-relationship between climate and movement, but we also need to take action, improved by ever-growing understanding.

Climate change and its interaction with human mobility is fundamentally about development. The flipside of not being able to link climate and movement directly is the realisation that it is precisely because movement is about every aspect of life and living.

That means an analysis of climate and human mobility must be built into development, into long-term planning and day-to-day delivery of services, particularly for the most vulnerable communities, those for whom movement is a critical consideration each and every day.

This is mirrored globally, where we see concepts and architecture around migration and displacement embedded within an international response machinery more than 70 years old and lagging far behind the complex decisions families and communities now make.

The Global Compacts on Migration and Refugees, due to be agreed in 2018, are key ways the system can catch up, ensuring climate change and climate risk are front and centre of frameworks to govern and support people who move, whether by choice or otherwise.

In addition, there are actions that can target climate impacts where it matters most. This includes investments in disaster risk reduction which can combat forced displacement head-on.

The longer-term picture requires investment in climate adaptation. Projects that tackle the slow-burn effects of sea-level rise, desertification, salinisation and more are critical to ensuring people can choose whether to move or stay.

Movement itself can be considered to be adaptation – and perhaps the best kind when it is based on a carefully considered decision by an individual and their family. This is a message we surely all understand.

Please credit Zilient, an initiative of The Rockefeller Foundation, the Thomson Reuters Foundation, Blue State Digital and OnFrontiers. All rights reserved. Read the original article on

Cover photo by Foreign & Commonwealth Office (CC BY-ND 2.0): Zaatari refugee camp, Jordan.
Action plan to boost women’s input on climate change

Action plan to boost women’s input on climate change

By Fatima Arkin

The 23rd UN Conference of the Parties on climate change (COP23) that took place in Bonn this month (November 6—17) took a step forward on emphasising the role of women in the global fight against climate change by adopting a gender action plan (GAP).

Building on existing frameworks, the plan will create new processes to enable women to become agents of change for climate action. The GAP’s main goal is to support and enhance the implementation of gender-related decisions and mandates so far adopted by the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) through specific initiatives over the next two years.

The GAP moves beyond gender parity in policy negotiations. It integrates gender equality in all aspects of climate policy and action. That means strengthening women’s roles in all activities related to climate adaptation and mitigation as well as implementing processes, including technology development and transfer.

“The question for me is whether these types of gender-sensitive projects can initiate change in attitudes,” Lisa Schipper

Priority areas in the plan include capacity-building, knowledge sharing and communication; and gender balance, participation and women’s leadership.

According to the New York-based Women’s Environment and Development Organisation, women comprised 42 per cent of UNFCCC national delegations in the Bonn, Germany sessions this past May, about the same number as the same conference in 2016.

Climate change specialists based in Asia-Pacific say that the region is uniquely primed to adopt the GAP.

“Obviously there are some very traditional beliefs throughout the region, but this parallel process of change and people adapting to these new things happening, like in the realm of technology, gives me optimism that it provides the right place for changes around gender to also happen,” Lisa Schipper, a Vietnam-based research fellow at Oxford University’s Environmental Change Institute, tells SciDev.Net.

But Schipper warns that gender sensitivity in climate change is a relatively new area. She says there isn’t enough evidence to determine whether gender-sensitive projects really work in reducing people’s sensitivity to climate change over the long term.

“The question for me is whether these types of gender-sensitive projects can initiate change in attitudes about gender or just postpone a clash between men and women,” says Schnipper. “As resources start dwindling and the pressure is on everybody, will initiatives to make things gender-equal without actually making a cultural change just cover up underlying problems that will then emerge later as things get more difficult?”

But Esther Nabuti, a 29-year-old from Kiribati who attended COP23, tells SciDev.Net that she is optimistic about what the new GAP will mean for the future of young Pacific women like her.

“Women are a vulnerable group, we are often harder to see, harder to hear and not at the decision-making table,” said the Red Cross volunteer. “We need to be part of decision-making and action, to ensure it reflects our experiences and realities.”

This piece was produced by SciDev.Net’s Asia & Pacific desk.  This article was originally published on SciDev.Net. Read the original article.

Cover photo by Maggie Boyle/DFAT (CC BY 2.0): Nurses in a maternity ward in Fiji.

Data philanthropy will drive climate resilient development

Data philanthropy will drive climate resilient development


At a high-level side event at this year’s UN Climate Talks in Bonn, leaders from private sector data companies joined with United Nations representatives in a call for increased “data philanthropy” to drive efficiency, power innovation and support efforts for more affective climate action.

Hosted through the Sustainable Innovation Forum, the event uncovered new trends in data-driven innovations to inform policy, inspire collective action, and explore concrete ways to replicate and scale data innovations toward achieving the Climate Action goals outlined in the 2030 Agenda.

“Data, innovation and technology are essential for efficient and effective climate action and sustainable development,” said Deputy Secretary General of the United Nations, Amina J. Mohammed in her opening remarks. “The urgency of climate action is increasing… To fully understand and respond to today’s complex and interlinked challenges we need to make the best use of the powerful tools that innovation and technology can offer. This includes collecting analyzing and presenting big data, one of our most powerful new resources.”

Worldwide, better use of data and technology could have immense impact on achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals and Paris Agreement. For instance, weather collected via vast arrays of easily deployed lightning detection networks could be used to improve crops reports, protect myriad industries from uncertain climate outlooks, and provide fast-acting alerts on severe weather that can destroy infrastructure and take lives.

With financing from the Global Environment Facility Least Developed Countries Fund, Green Climate Fund (GCF), Government of Canada and Adaptation Fund, UNDP supports over 75 countries in modernizing weather, water and climate monitoring and reporting systems worldwide.

One example comes from Malawi, where the Government just launched a UNDP-supported, GCF-Financed climate information project that takes the use of climate data, and extends it to reach vulnerable communities along the “Last Mile” with improved access to farming reports and risk-reduction mechanisms like weather-based index insurance.

“The private sector will be key in bringing this data to the farms, businesses, industries and decision makers that need it most. For instance, mobile operators can share crop reports via cell phones, weather monitoring technologies could be deployed on cell phone towers, Big Data companies can provide platforms to crunch data and package it for use by a diverse group of industries – from energy to agriculture,” said Pradeep Kurukulasuriya, Head – UNDP Climate Change Adaptation Global Environmental Finance Unit. “By sharing this data openly across various ministries and economic sectors, decision makers will have improved information to make more evidence-based plans to build National Adaptation Plans and sectoral strategies for climate resilience.”

At the Bonn event, Rober Orr, Special Advisor to the UN Secretary General on Climate Change, highlighted that one of the main challenges in leveraging big-data for good is that data is often privately owned – and contains private information – creating a “firewall” that prevents effective sharing with policy makers and the public.

The idea behind “data philanthropy,” according to Orr, is to connect public and private sectors as equal partners.

“Data has immense power to help solve the climate equation… Can we use big data to offer new climate solutions to countries, cities and citizens? Can we leverage big data to bring into the tent those actors that are not currently part of the drive for climate action?” asked Orr. “In the drive for climate action, ‘data exhaust’ can be used in any number of ways to dramatically increase energy efficiency in buildings, enforce regulations on deforestation, manage waste, change consumer patterns, or incentivize investors to create smart cities.”

The event featured winners of the Data for Climate Action Challenge, an open-data innovation competition focused on leveraging big data and analytics for social good.

The challenge was launched earlier this year by UN Global Pulse and Western Digital, calling on innovators, scientists and climate experts to harnesses the power of big data and data science to catalyze action on climate change. The Challenge connected 97 semi-finalist research teams with donated datasets from 11 companies.

In 2016, UNDP hosted a similar innovations challenge through the Climate Action Hackathon, which awarded scholarships to 23 web developers to use climate and weather data to build mobile applications that could be delivered on the ground in Africa.

Western Digital and the United Nations Global Pulse were key partners in the Data for Climate Action Challenge.

In his presentation, David Tang, Senior Vice President at Western Digital, underlined that public-private partnerships are proven to work, and that data can be used to drive efficiency.

“Data can also result in deeper insights, which can help drive the acceleration of breakthrough discoveries and it can also be used to fuel real-time analytics to keep us healthier and safer,” Tang said.

Robert Kirkpatrick, Director of UN Global Pulse, underscored the opportunity-cost of not having big data harnessed around the world already.

“Not having these kinds of solutions already in use at scale around the world is incurring an opportunity-cost for literally billions of people,” said Kirkpatrick. “You know we think of big data as a new kind of natural resource – or unnatural resource – infinitely renewable, increasingly ubiquitous – but one that has fallen into the hands of what’s been an opaque and largely unregulated extractive industry that’s  just beginning to wake up to the recognition that it has a social opportunity – and perhaps a social responsibility – to make sure that this data reaches the people who need it most.”

Watch the event recording by clicking here.

Cover photo by Mike Wilson on Unsplash
New UNEP Adaptation Gap Report focuses on assessing progress

New UNEP Adaptation Gap Report focuses on assessing progress

By Georgina Wade

The recent release of the United Nations Environment Programme’s (UNEP) 2017 Adaptation Gap report highlights the necessity of understanding the key opportunities and challenges associated with assessing progress on adaptation at the global level, particularly for the successful implementation of the Paris Agreement.

Launched during the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP23), the annual report differs from previous reports that focused solely on assessing specific adaptation gaps and focuses on the broader issues relating to frameworks, comprising concepts and data methodology. Future Adaptation Gap Reports will return to assessments of specific adaptation gaps.

The context of the report aims attention on four global adaptation provisions contained within the Paris agreement: the global goal on adaptation, the global stocktake to take place every five years beginning in 2023 as a means of monitoring progress, the transparency framework and adaptation communication provisions between parties.

The key findings of the report lead to the recommendation that a framework is needed that can capture the big picture, what is changing, and be flexible as methods improve.

The full report can be found at UNEP’s website.

Cover photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash: Cassava harvest in Sierra Leone.
COP23: Fiji’s presidency puts spotlight on climate challenges faced by island nations

COP23: Fiji’s presidency puts spotlight on climate challenges faced by island nations

By Georgina Wade

Fiji’s presidency over COP23 has given Small Island Developing States (SIDS) an invaluable platform to draw attention to the challenges they are facing due to climate change. SIDS are among the most vulnerable to climate change impacts. Their small geographical area, isolation and exposure leaves them particularly susceptible to climate change risks including sea-level rise, cyclones, increasing air and sea surface temperature, and changing rainfall patterns. And although these countries are among the least responsible for climate change, they are likely to suffer the most from its adverse effects and could, in some cases, become completely uninhabitable.

The Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) finds that the impacts of climate change will affect the livelihoods, coastal settlements, infrastructure, ecosystems and economic stability in SIDS with sea level rise posing an increasing threats to low-lying islands and coastal areas. Additionally, higher water temperatures will increase the rate of coral bleaching causing a significant rise in coral mortality. For many SIDS, coral reefs are integral to daily life through their contribution to the economy via the tourism and fishing industries and their role as a vital protein source.

A 2005 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) report warned that SIDS are reaching their tolerance limits with their vulnerability to climate change expected to worsen with each passing year. The sheer magnitude of climate risks to SIDS was evident throughout the 2017 hurricane season which brought an unprecedented series of catastrophically strong storm systems resulting in an estimated $385 billion in economic loss. Labelled as the most powerful Atlantic storm in recorded history, Hurricane Irma brought about the forced abandonment of Barbuda while Hurricane Maria shut down Puerto Rico’s entire electricity service. To further underline the severity of the situation for SIDS, earlier this month a report was released stating that Fiji alone would have to spend about $4.5 billion over the next decade to reach its development objectives while facing climate change impacts.

Despite their small contribution to global emissions, SIDS have worked to remain at the forefront of global climate resilience efforts. Republic of Fiji’s Prime Minister, Frank Bainimarama, made history with Fiji’s presidency over the 23rd United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP23) by becoming the first SIDS to preside over the conference of the parties. This prominent role put a strong emphasis on SIDS, as Bainimarama said, “I bring a particular perspective to these negotiations on behalf of some of those who are most vulnerable to the effects of climate change […] We owe it not to ourselves but to future generations to tackle this issue head on before it is too late.” The Fijian presidency allowed for the prioritisation of topics that are usually not as prominent during the UN climate talks, highlighting not only the challenges faced by SIDS but the importance of cooperation between all parties in facing climate threats.

Cover photo by UNFCCC/Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0): Timoci Naulusala tells COP23 High-level segment how his home is experiencing the impact of climate change. Watch his speech by clicking here.
Climate migration will only be a crisis if we make it into one

Climate migration will only be a crisis if we make it into one

By Alex Randall

Migration caused by climate change doesn’t have to be a crisis. In fact, with the right planning, migration can become a powerful form of climate adaptation.

Last year 23 million people were displaced by extreme weather. As climate change alters the atmosphere, we can expect this kind of human displacement to increase. The displacement of people is now fundamentally linked to climate change.

It is therefore right that the international climate change negotiations happening this week look at this kind of displacement. However it would be a mistake to think that the climate negotiations can ‘fix’ climate-linked migration and displacement. Or even to think that climate-linked migration is something that needs to be fixed.

Migration as climate adaptation

A new way of thinking about climate change and migration has emerged recently that attempts to harness the power of migration as a way of coping with climate change. Conventional ways of looking at climate-linked migration see it as an apocalyptic problem. News coverage often focuses on the numbers of “climate refugees” who may be on the move.

However human movement does not have to be chaotic or problematic. Millions of people across the world are currently migrants. It may be that migration will also become a key way for some people to adapt to the worst impacts of climate change. This is very different to conventional adaptation projects, which usually focus on helping people adapt where they are now.

Migration as adaptation aims to help people move in an organised and dignified way to somewhere safer. This could potentially happen in a number of ways – for example by helping people finance their move, or by providing education and training to help them find work in new places. And by building infrastructure like decent housing in the places they could move to.

The hope is that by helping people migrate in a dignified way, they won’t suffer being forcibly displaced when their situation reaches crisis point. There is a vast difference between migrating in an organised way and being suddenly forced from your home by a disaster.

Climate and migration at the climate negotiations

States will discuss displacement, among a vast array of other topics, at this year’s climate negotiations. A new task force on displacement, established in previous negotiations, will also issue a report at this year’s gathering, but we don’t yet know what its recommendations will be.

We can hope that it might ask governments to consider the idea of migration as climate change adaptation. The remit of the task force is to “avert, prevent and minimise” displacement caused by climate change impacts. One of the key ways of minimising future displacement could be through the preventative medicine of helping people move in a dignified and organised way in advance. Whether governments will be open to this suggestion is of course another question.

A key issue the climate talks will struggle to address is the rights of people who have to move due to climate change. The climate negotiations are geared up for states to agree on cutting emissions and planning adaptation, but the question of the rights of migrants and displacees doesn’t sit neatly anywhere in the talks.

Not the only show in town

For this reason there are a number of other international negotiations dealing with this. This is a strange situation as only a few years ago climate-linked migration was not being dealt with by the international community at all. It is now the focus of several sets of global talks.

This means that eventually the issue of climate-linked migration will be addressed by a patchwork of international agreements, rather than one.

Hopefully the climate talks will deliver something useful on climate-linked displacement. However, the rights of people who move due to disasters are more likely to be addressed by the new Platform on Disaster Displacement. How states work together on dealing with the risks of disasters will be addressed by new Sendai Framework. The new Global Compact on Refugees recognised climate change as a driving force of migration, but it isn’t yet clear what this agreement will result in. Individual governments may also act alone. New Zealand, for example, has proposed the idea of new climate refugee visas for some islands in the Pacific.

There will not be a neat global ‘fix’ that deals with the entire issue. But given the global nature, and complexity of climate-linked migration perhaps this patchwork approach is the best option.

This article was originally  published on Open Democracy and is shared under a Creative Commons license (CC BY-NC 4.0).

Cover photo by IFPRI -IMAGES/Flickr (CC by-nc-nd): Tilling soil in Senegal.
COP23: Call for donors to set targets for amount of funding that reaches the local level

COP23: Call for donors to set targets for amount of funding that reaches the local level

By Will Bugler

Donors and international finance partners should set voluntary targets, and track the amount of climate finance that reaches the local level. This was the suggestion made by Michelle Winthrop, climate change policy lead at the Irish Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, at the Development and Climate (D&C) Days at COP23 last weekend. The call for action came after research from the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) estimates that only around 11% of funds allocated to climate adaptation, make it to projects at the local level.

IIED’s assessment puts forward several reasons why climate funds are not reaching ground-level initiatives. These include the investment strategies of climate funds which prioritise large-scale results from large-scale projects; the higher transaction costs involved with small-scale projects which can put investors off; risk averse funding strategies; too little support for building local capacity to manage funds; co-financing requirements that hinder local ownership; and poor enforcement of policies for community engagement.

The proposal on targets for local climate adaptation finance was just one of a host of recommendations emanating from the lively discussions that took place at the D&C days, event that takes place each year on the middle weekend of the COP climate talks. This year those who ventured across the Rhine from the UN negotiating centre, were treated to interactive sessions on climate finance, private sector engagement, the value of local knowledge, and how to create downward accountability of climate adaptation.

Supply chain climate resilience

Picking one’s way through the packed D&C Days programme is not easy, with parallel sessions running throughout the day. Selected highlights included a facilitated discussion on resilience to company supply chains, with contributions from Farm Africa’s, Director of Research and Development, Yvan Biot; Diane Holdorf, Chief Sustainability Officer at Kellogg and Company; and Makhegu Mabunda, Sustainability specialist at Woolworths, South Africa.

It was encouraging to hear from both Kellogg’s and Woolworths that they were actively taking steps to assess the climate risks to their supply chains, working with smallholder farmers to improve the reliability of their supplies. It was clear that they recognised climate risk as an issue of business continuity. Ms Mabunda also was frank in admitting that the many in the private sector are prepared to show willing to increase supply chain resilience but that they “don’t have all the answers, and need to work with development and climate specialists in order to get the best outcomes”.

Tracking public expenditure on climate change adaptation

Another session that caught the imagination of a large number of delegates, was a discussion co-hosted by Action on Climate Today (ACT), Oxford Policy Management (OPM) and IIED, which presented three frameworks for assessing, tracking and calculating the benefit of climate spending at the local level in countries in South East Asia.

One such method was the Financing Framework for Resilient Growth (FFGR) which outlines a method for assessing the amount of money being attributed to climate change in government budgets. It assesses the ‘climate relevance’ of the spending, and helps to track the money from the national to local level. In doing so the FFGR might help governments better identify gaps in adaptation funding in important sectors of the economy, and improve the efficacy of resilience planning.

Heard across the river

The recommendations from the D&C days were captured in typical style by sketch artist extraordinaire, Jorge Martin. The collective wisdom of all those that participated, as captured by Jorge, made it across the river and into the negotiations, providing the background to discussions on climate finance.

The key messages from the D&C Days 2017 have been helpfully distilled here.

Cover photo by Simon Anderson.
ADB to double Asia-Pacific climate change funding by 2020

ADB to double Asia-Pacific climate change funding by 2020

By Georgina Wade

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) announced it will more than double its annual climate finance to over $500 million between 2017 and 2020 for its Pacific developing member states, a move that is in step with a global push to reduce greenhousegas emissions and climate change risks.

The decision came with the adoption of two agreements: firstly, the Government of Fiji applied for a $42 million loan to improve water and sanitation services across the island state whilst ensuring that vital infrastructures are climate resilient. Secondly, signing an agreement with the Green Climate Fund for a $31 million contribution to strengthen Fiji’s domestic approach to climate change. Both agreements were signed leading up to the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 23), which Fiji is presiding over.

With this major investment, ADB Vice-President Stephen Groff expects Fiji’s water supply will expand by 40,000 cubic meters per day and broaden the sanitation network for an additional 4,500 households to access improved sewerage by 2023.

Of the $6 billion ADB expects to spend on tackling climate change by 2020, $4 billion will go towards mitigation efforts focused on the integration of renewable energies and the building of sustainable transportation systems. The remaining $2 billion will be used for adaptation efforts through increase resilience in agriculture, infrastructure and disaster planning.

Takehiko Nakao, president of the ADB, said climate change is better handled as a regional issue and highlights that “nowhere is tackling climate change more critically than in Asia and the Pacific, where rising sea levels, melting glaciers and weather extremes like floods and droughts are damaging livelihoods and taking far too many lives.”

Six of the ten most vulnerable nations to climate change are in the Asia Pacific region, the ADB said, making it highly susceptible to climate disasters.

Cover photo by Maksym Kozlenko/Wikimedia (CC BY-SA 4.0): Streetscape of Suva, Fiji.