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Wales goes green with Welsh national forest plan

Wales goes green with Welsh national forest plan

By Emily Withers

Wales has pledged to reach zero carbon emissions by 2050. So it plans a Welsh national forest with thousands more trees.

A year ago the first minister of Wales, Mark Drakeford, announced a big step forward towards a more verdant and accessible country: a scheme for a Welsh national forest.

Inspired by the Wales Coast Path, the idea is to create a woodland system that enables visitors to walk uninterrupted throughout the country.

As well as protecting and improving existing forest sites, the scheme will fund tree-planting across the nation by farmers and local communities.

Wales is part of a global movement. In Africa’s Sahel, the Great Green Wall programme has been running for a decade and is about 15% complete. Once finished, the 8,000 km-long wall will be the largest living structure on the planet, three times the size of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef.

In east Africa the people of the Tanzanian island of Kokota have planted more than two million trees over a decade. The Borneo Nature Foundation is aiming to plant 1m trees in south-east Asia in the next five years.

“Through the National Forest we can restore, enhance and create woodlands and habitats across the length and breadth of Wales”

These schemes, and many others, are supported by millions of campaigners and small organisations who drive the demand for tree-planting. Trees have an undeniably positive effect on the planet, absorbing from the atmosphere carbon dioxide and other climate-heating emissions produced by humans.

But care is needed. An existing forest is more effective than a new one, as mature trees are better than young ones at absorbing emissions, and are more resilient to storms and drought.

Deforestation across the globe has accelerated in recent decades, with sites such as the Amazon rainforest destroyed by agriculture, mining and wildfires. There are worries that tree-planting programmes cannot withstand this damage.

Tree loss of this sort is happening in Africa too, putting pressure on already threatened ecosystems. Kevin Juma, one of the founders of the Africa Forest Carbon Catalyst, says: “Africa has one-fifth of the planet’s remaining forests but is losing them faster than anywhere else. Protecting and restoring these forest landscapes is not only critical for Africa, but for the entire world.

Better than planting

“This forest protection model is among the most cost-effective natural defences against climate change, in addition to helping maintain biodiversity, and providing economic opportunity for hundreds of thousands of people in the region.”

The World Resources Institute says protecting tropical tree cover alone could provide 23% of the climate mitigation needed to meet the goals set in the 2015 Paris Agreement. Schemes which focus on tree protection and forest restoration are more likely to provide climate mitigation than tree-planting.

Initiative 20X20 aims to restore existing forests in Latin America and the Caribbean. So far, it has secured commitments from 17 countries to protect and restore 50 million hectares (124m acres) of degraded land by 2030.

The region contains some of the most diverse ecosystems on the planet, and restoring them will help their animal inhabitants, as well as contributing to a global effort to reduce emissions.

The Welsh government has been pledging a move towards a more sustainable future for some time. Since 2008 the Plant programme has planted a tree for every child born or adopted in Wales. For the last seven years, this has been matched by planting an additional tree in Uganda for every Welsh birth.

Carbon cuts too

The programme has led to 300,000 new trees being planted in Wales, with 140 hectares of new woodland created. In Uganda, the scheme has supported 1,600 families in 30 villages, and five Fairtrade coffee plantations. Through the Size of Wales programme, the Welsh government also funds projects in Kenya, Borneo, the DRC, Peru and Guyana.

The new National Forest scheme is a way of mirroring this climate action within Wales. It will be part of the nation’s legal commitment to achieve net zero emissions by 2050.

The Welsh wildlife broadcaster Iolo Williams said: “Through the National Forest we can restore, enhance and create woodlands and habitats in a connected way across the length and breadth of Wales, with the right species of tree planted in the right place.

“It will also inspire well-being through creating a love for the outdoors in future generations.” − Climate News Network


This article was originally posted on The Climate News Network.
Willis Research Network Annual Review 2021

Willis Research Network Annual Review 2021

The Willis Research Network is an award-winning collaboration supporting and influencing science to improve the understanding and quantification of risk, with the aim to improve the resilience of our clients and society as a whole.

Download the Willis Research Annual Review here.

The purpose of the Willis Research Network (WRN) is to help society better prepare and cope with the types of events we have all experienced in 2020. Since our formation in 2006, the Network has focussed on developing the science of resilience to support the management of extremes from natural, man-made and hybrid risks.

Through the WRN, and our related activities such as the Coalition for Climate Resilient Investment, we are working hard to support development of expertise and provide wider adoption across the public and private sector.”

Rowan Douglas | WRN Chairman

Despite the operational challenges of 2020, the following pages illustrate another remarkable year in scientific collaboration, real-world application and impact across our research themes and geographies, including North America, Europe and Asia Pacific. Long standing academic partners such as NCAR, Columbia University, NOAA SSL Oklahoma, San Diego State University, University of Exeter, University of Cambridge, Newcastle University, NU Singapore, Tohoku and UCL have been joined by partners from beyond the university sector including Cloud to Street, Mitiga Solutions, RUSI, Temblor and Metabiota. Over the last few years, our scope has continued to expand to encompass risks such as pandemic, cyber and political risk.

COVID-19 illustrates how we should all consider high-impact, low probability events within our core operations, planning and finances. Engineering and re/insurance risk management techniques, such as scenario development and stress testing, are now entering the mainstream. The WRN is at the heart of that integration, driven by our engagement with policy makers, regulators and market practitioners. Structural reform is underway on how markets evaluate, disclose and manage contingent risks and liabilities. Until these risks are effectively accounted for, resilience cannot be sufficiently valued and incentivised. The tragic results will be additional lost lives, livelihoods and assets in the years and decades ahead. Through the WRN, and our related activities such as the Coalition for Climate Resilient Investment, we are working hard to support development of this expertise and its wider adoption across the public and private sector.

Looking ahead, we have a busy year driven by mobilisation in response to the Climate Emergency, the upcoming CoP26 meeting in Glasgow and the needs of Governments, regulators, investors and others. The role of the WRN is to fill in the gaps between high level roadmaps and the practical implementation of the methods, metrics and models to integrate these risks into mainstream valuations and management. In December 2020, we propelled this process with a WRN Challenge Fund competition to support financial sector climate stress testing methods and models.

A decade ago, in September 2011, the WRN co-hosted a three-day summit in Washington DC with the National Academy of Sciences on Managing Extreme Events. Bringing together leaders from science, finance and public agencies, it played a significant role in catalysing the resilience agenda in the U.S. and beyond in the following years. Assuming the COVID situation allows, we aim to hold a second meeting with the National Academy in 2021 to mark the ten-year anniversary and identify the themes and approaches to help us all manage the coming decade.

To underpin all this progress, the Network has also undergone significant internal growth and development this year to prepare for its future. Its success owes most to Hélène Galy, Managing Director, WRN and her growing team. Our thanks also to Carl Hess, Vickie Sefcik and fellow members of the WRN Steering Group, the wider Willis Towers Watson team and WRN members, who have driven our collective projects and programmes. A special thank you to our clients whose engagement and support enables us to maintain our global research programme as a client service and a public good.

Willis Research Network Brochure Topics 2021

Weather and Climate
  • A re-invigorated emphasis on climate risk research
  • Downscaling climate change impacts on Atlantic tropical cyclone landfall rates
  • Projecting changes in severe thunderstorm frequency
  • Quantification of potential climate change impacts on
  • Tropical cyclones
  • How do fishers asses and manage the risks related to extreme storms?
  • Wind vulnerability
Flood
  • Rising levels of flood risk
  • Quantifying the climate change impact on flooding: scenario approach
  • Providing a view of risk in emerging markets
  • How remote sensing technology is becoming the key component of analysing flood risk
Earth
  • Terra Firma, a year of significant achievements
  • Harbour Waves
  • Tsunami fragility of buildings
  • Seismic resilience of telecommunication networks
  • Do earthquakes interact with each other, and how do we account for it?
  • Earthquake risk in realtime for Japan
  • 2019 Ridgecrest: can earthquakes cause a chain reaction?
  • Quantifying the tail risk from very large earthquakes.
  • Better earthquake modelling for (re)insurance decision-making
People
  • People risk management in the modern world
  • Industry focus: towards a net zero and more resilience aviation sector
  • Pandemic models are evolving quickly; pandemic insurance needs to as well
  • Understanding and quantifying political risk
  • Exploiting globalisation
Technology
  • Understanding the digital acceleration
  • Understanding the startup landscape using knowledge spaces
  • Cybersecurity as strategic asset
  • Underlying and consequential costs of cyber security – cost of equity
  • Loss prevention technologies
Emerging risks and geopolitical risks
  • Dealing with change in an interconnected world
  • Emerging risks and resilient futures
  • Geopolitics of risk

This article was originally posted on the Willis Towers Watson website.

Step up climate change adaptation or face serious human and economic damage – UN Adaptation Gap Report 2020

Step up climate change adaptation or face serious human and economic damage – UN Adaptation Gap Report 2020

  • Almost three-quarters of nations have some adaptation plans in place, but financing and implementation fall far short of what is needed
  • Annual adaptation costs in developing countries are estimated at USD 70 billion. This figure is expected to reach USD 140-300 billion in 2030 and USD 280-500 billion in 2050.
  • Nature-based solutions, critical for adaptation, need to receive more attention

Nairobi, 14 January 2021 – As temperatures rise and climate change impacts intensify, nations must urgently step up action to adapt to the new climate reality or face serious costs, damages and losses, a new UN Environment Programme (UNEP) report finds.

Adaptation – reducing countries’ and communities’ vulnerability to climate change by increasing their ability to absorb impacts – is a key pillar of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change. The agreement requires its signatories to implement adaptation measures through national plans, climate information systems, early warning, protective measures and investments in a green future.

The UNEP Adaptation Gap Report 2020 finds that while nations have advanced in planning, huge gaps remain in finance for developing countries and bringing adaptation projects to the stage where they bring real protection against climate impacts such as droughts, floods and sea-level rise.

Download the report

Public and private finance for adaptation must be stepped up urgently, along with faster implementation. Nature-based solutions – locally appropriate actions that address societal challenges, such as climate change, and provide human well-being and biodiversity benefits by protecting, sustainably managing and restoring natural or modified ecosystems – must also become a priority.

“The hard truth is that climate change is upon us,” said Inger Andersen, Executive Director of UNEP. “Its impacts will intensify and hit vulnerable countries and communities the hardest – even if we meet the Paris Agreement goals of holding global warming this century to well below 2°C and pursuing 1.5°C.”

“As the UN Secretary-General has said, we need a global commitment to put half of all global climate finance towards adaptation in the next year,” she added. “This will allow a huge step up in adaptation – in everything from early warning systems to resilient water resources to nature-based solutions.”

Adaptation planning is growing, but funding and follow-up lagging

The most encouraging finding of the report is that 72 per cent of countries have adopted at least one national-level adaptation planning instrument. Most developing countries are preparing National Adaptation Plans. However, the finance needed to implement these plans is not growing fast enough.

The pace of adaptation financing is indeed rising, but it continues to be outpaced by rapidly increasing adaptation costs. Annual adaptation costs in developing countries are estimated at USD 70 billion. This figure is expected to reach USD 140-300 billion in 2030 and USD 280-500 billion in 2050.

There are some encouraging developments. The Green Climate Fund (GCF) has allocated 40 per cent of its total portfolio to adaptation and is increasingly crowding-in private sector investment. Another important development is increasing momentum to ensure a sustainable financial system. However, increased public and private adaptation finance is needed. New tools such as sustainability investment criteria, climate-related disclosure principles and mainstreaming of climate risks into investment decisions can stimulate investments in climate resilience.

Implementation of adaptation actions is also growing. Since 2006, close to 400 adaptation projects financed by multilateral funds serving the Paris Agreement have taken place in developing countries. While earlier projects rarely exceeded USD 10 million, 21 new projects since 2017 reached a value of over USD 25 million. However, of over 1,700 adaptation initiatives surveyed, only 3 per cent had already reported real reductions to climate risks posed to the communities where the projects were being implemented.

Nature-based solutions for adaptation can make a huge contribution

The report places a special focus on nature-based solutions as low-cost options that reduce climate risks, restore and protect biodiversity and bring benefits for communities and economies.

An analysis of four major climate and development funds – the Global Environment Facility, the Green Climate Fund, the Adaptation Fund and the International Climate Initiative – suggested that support for green initiatives with some element of nature-based solutions has risen over the last two decades. Cumulative investment for climate change mitigation and adaptation projects under the four funds stood at USD 94 billion. However, only USD 12 billion was spent on nature-based solutions – a tiny fraction of total adaptation and conservation finance.

Stepping up action

According to the report, cutting greenhouse gas emissions will reduce the impacts and costs associated with climate change. Achieving the 2°C target of the Paris Agreement could limit losses in annual growth to up to 1.6 per cent, compared to 2.2 per cent for the 3°C trajectory.

All nations must pursue the efforts outlined in UNEP’s Emissions Gap Report 2020, which called for a green pandemic recovery and updated Nationally Determined Contributions that include new net-zero commitments. However, the world must also plan for, finance and implement climate change adaptation to support those nations least responsible for climate change but most at risk.

While the COVID-19 pandemic is expected to hit the ability of countries to adapt to climate change, investing in adaptation is a sound economic decision.

NOTES TO EDITORS

About the UN Environment Programme

UNEP is the leading global voice on the environment. It provides leadership and encourages partnership in caring for the environment by inspiring, informing and enabling nations and peoples to improve their quality of life without compromising that of future generations.

For more information, please contact:

Keisha Rukikaire, Head of News & Media, UNEP, +254 722 677747,

New report: Protecting low-income communities through climate insurance

New report: Protecting low-income communities through climate insurance

By Will Bugler (Acclimatise) & Andrew Eil (Climate Finance Advisors)

Since 2015, the InsuResilience Investment Fund (IIF) has worked to build the climate resilience of poor and climate-vulnerable households as well as micro, small and medium enterprises, by increasing climate insurance coverage. Today, at a side event of the InsuResilience Global Partnership’s 4th Annual Forum, it has launched a new report “Protecting low-income communities through climate insurance”, which takes stock of its experience and achievements to date. As the first fund of its kind to raise private capital to invest in climate insurance markets in developing countries, IIF’s report shares valuable lessons relevant tor impact investors, insurers, policy makers and other relevant entities involved in building resilience using insurance and disaster risk finance.

Authored by Acclimatise and Climate Finance Advisors, the report is based on an analysis of reporting data, interviews and survey responses from IIF’s investee companies. It shows how IIF has developed a unique model that allows it to invest in companies across the entire insurance market value chain, helping to build new networks that support climate insurance market growth in developing countries. In its first six years, the IIF has extended climate insurance cover to 25 million poor or climate vulnerable people in developing countries.

Contributing to climate resilience

The report begins by placing the IIF’s work in the context of the wider challenges of closing the climate finance gap and increasing insurance market penetration in developing countries. Climate-driven extreme events have doubled from an average of under 300 events per year in the 1980s to over 600 per year since 2010. This has continued to drive economic losses, affecting practically all sectors. According to Swiss Re, the last decade has been the costliest on record with economic damages from natural disasters totalling over USD 2 trillion. However, as the report notes, current investments worldwide are insufficient to prepare for such impacts. In fact, according one UN estimate, climate adaptation finance totalled an average of $30 billion in 2017-2018,[1] well below the $210-300 billion needed per year between 2010 and 2030.[2]

As noted in the 2015 Paris Agreement, insurance can play an important role in building resilience to climate change and it impacts, allowing people to withstand the financial impacts of disasters and invest in adaptation measures. However, the majority of economic losses generated by climate-related extreme events are not covered by insurance, resulting in a substantial protection gap of $280 billion in 2017 and 2018. Whilst this gap has narrowed in recent years in upper-middle and high-income countries, there has been little progress in lower to middle-income countries, where the protection gap persistently exceeds 95 percent (see map below).

To close the adaptation finance gap and increase access to climate insurance products in developing countries, private sector investment is crucial. The IIF uses a blended finance approach, raising public capital with high risk tolerance complemented by grant resources, and leveraging it to attract private investors. So far, the IIF has raised $166 million (approximately $100 million of which in private capital) and invested $133 million in 21 companies around the world.

Figure 1: Property and casualty insurance premiums per capita. Source: Munich Re in InsuResilience Investment Fund’s ‘Protecting low-income communities through climate insurance’ report.

Overcoming barriers to climate insurance penetration

IIF, managed by BlueOrchard, was initiated by KfW, the German Development Bank, on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). It has a mandate to improve access to and the use of insurance in developing countries and, in so doing, reduce the vulnerability of MSMEs and low-income households to extreme weather events. To achieve this, IIF’s investee companies must overcome several important barriers such as high transaction costs of delivering climate insurance, difficulties distributing products to large numbers of poor and climate-vulnerable clients, low levels of awareness of and trust in insurance, and regulatory challenges associated with earl-stage climate insurance markets.

To overcome these challenges, IIF’s innovative blended finance approach combines aspects of a conventional investment fund with traditional donor grantmaking and technical assistance programmes. It has established a unique model that promotes a whole-value-chain approach to investing, careful selection of investee companies, and a high level of technical support provided by the Fund itself. It does this by operating two sub-funds: A Debt Sub-Fund and an Equity Sub-Fund. The Debt Sub-Fund invests in companies that distribute climate insurance products, such as micro finance institutions, whilst the Equity Sub-Fund invests in climate data and service providers, insurers and reinsurers.

This whole-value-chain approach to investing recognises that a thriving ecosystem of climate insurance entities is essential for long-term climate insurance market development. Service providers cannot exist without insurers and aggregators to buy their products, insurers in developing countries require a healthy pool of distributors to extend insurance to low-income communities, and new technologies from data and service providers underpin the market and are essential to take climate insurance products to scale. Climate insurance entities also interact with financial institutions such as retail banks and reinsurers in critical ways; these interactions are reflected in the business models of many of IIF’s investees and contribute to the development of the climate insurance ecosystem.

Other elements of IIF’s support for its investees to launch and grow climate insurance products are the Technical Assistance Facility (TAF) and Premium Support Facility (PSF). Through the TAF, IIF has undertaken 25 technical assistance projects supporting companies with activities ranging from business planning, and corporate structure, to product development and marketing. To help climate insurance products gain a foothold in the market, the IIF also provides temporary subsidies for insurance premiums through its PSF, making its investees products more affordable.

Figure 2: How the IIF supports entities across the insurance value chain. Source: InsuResilience Investment Fund’s ‘Protecting low-income communities through climate insurance’ report.

Encouraging results

Recent interviews and surveys with IIF’s investee companies have shown that the Fund has delivered significant benefits to their companies. Investees reported that IIF’s involvement has helped them to: develop new and improve existing climate insurance products, tailoring them for specific clients; scale their operations, allowing them to expand into new markets and reach more clients; reduce transaction costs by making capital investment in new technology and strategic planning; and improve business governance and reputation which has enabled them to access new investment.

Many of IIF’s investees are yet to launch or have only recently launched their climate insurance products. This status, coupled with the challenges they face when scaling products in developing countries, serves to explain why reaching large numbers of IIF’s target beneficiaries takes considerable time. Despite the long runway to large-scale impact, IIF has already demonstrated that its investments increase access to climate insurance for poor and climate-vulnerable people. At the end of its first year of operation in 2015, the IIF had approximately 1,700 beneficiaries, a number which had grown to 25 million by September 2020.

With IIF’s model now well established, the Fund expects to make a further 12 to 15 investments in companies in the coming years. Through these new investments and the further growth of its existing investees’ climate insurance offerings in maturing markets, the IIF expects to reach between 90 and 145 million beneficiaries by 2025.

Building resilience

The report also features evidence that the climate insurance products released by IIF’s investees have had a positive impact on the lives of its beneficiaries. Eight IIF investees reported paying out a total value of $4.75 million to clients, from over 18,000 claims, since 2015. The report found that access to climate insurance allowed beneficiaries to recover more quickly from climate related shocks and gave other benefits including improved access to credit in order to invest in their businesses. Interviews conducted by impact measurement company 60 Decibels, with 120 beneficiaries of one of IIF’s investees – Kashf Foundation – found that claimants were over twice as likely to have recovered to their pre-shock levels of welfare compared with those who did not make a claim.

Overall, the report finds that IIF has successfully established a model that can raise both public and private capital, provide investor returns, and achieve real benefits for poor and climate vulnerable communities. Ultimately, IIF’s successes are founded on the quality of its relationship building with its investees and with other institutions in its target countries. Whilst this approach is not quickly

scalable, it does provide a real and lasting impact in building resilience through climate insurance.

Download a copy of the report here.

For more information about the IIF and its work contact: info@blueorchard.com


[1] Climate Policy Initiative, 2019. Global Landscape of Climate Finance 2019. https://www.climatepolicyinitiative.org/publication/global-landscape-of-climate-finance-2019/

[2] UNEP, 2018. The Adaptation Gap Report 2018, Nairobi: United Nations Environment Programme.


Willis Towers Watson Invests in Low Carbon Transition Analytics with Transfer of Climate Policy Initiative’s Energy Finance Team

Willis Towers Watson Invests in Low Carbon Transition Analytics with Transfer of Climate Policy Initiative’s Energy Finance Team

Willis Towers Watson (NASDAQ: WLTW), a leading global advisory, broking and solutions company today announces the transfer of the Climate Policy Initiative’s Energy Finance team and its world-leading modelling and data solutions to deliver low carbon transition analytics to financial institutions, corporates and public sector clients.

The CPI Energy Finance advisory team, based in London, California and Delhi, and Climate Value at Risk (CVaR) methodology, data and modelling tools have transferred to the Willis Towers Watson Climate and Resilience Hub, led by Rowan Douglas. The addition of CPI Energy Finance’s low carbon analytics, expertise and relationships will enable Willis Towers Watson to help organisations assess their market exposure to a low carbon transition process enabling both the public and private sectors to evaluate, navigate and communicate their own transition pathways in the years and decades ahead.

Together with its existing leadership in physical risks, this expands the scope of Willis Towers Watson’s Climate QuantifiedTM to encompass climate transition risk and provide full spectrum, integrated risk assessment and advisory capabilities.

John Haley, CEO, Willis Towers Watson, said: “Following our recent acquisition of Acclimatise, we are delighted to welcome the Energy Finance team from CPI into our Climate and Resilience Hub. Measuring the impact on investments of the transition to a low carbon economy and developing new financial products to price risk and support the efficient allocation of capital is essential for an orderly and well-managed transition. Today’s announcement is part of our ongoing strategy of investing in skillsets and world class data and analytics to support our clients in forming a strategic response to climate change.”

David Nelson, Executive Director at CPI Energy Finance, said: “Over the last decade our work has shown that risk and uncertainty surrounding the financial impacts of a climate transition are possibly the greatest impediments to mitigating climate change. Our granular, asset-level models evaluate these risks by focusing on how financial markets would value resources, assets, businesses, tax revenues, and sovereign credit ratings as a result of climate transition driven changes to consumption, industry structure, and the global economy.

“We see no better way to scale and expand our offering than working with a world leader in risk management such as Willis Towers Watson and its exciting and growing Climate and Resilience Hub. We are delighted that they have recognized our expertise in identifying and quantifying the climate-related financial upside and downside risks of the transition and are looking forward to working with Willis Towers Watson in offering support analytics, advisory and transactions services, and Climate Value at Risk assessments and tools for companies, investors, public and private financial institutions, and governments.”

Professor Tom Heller, the Chairman of CPI’s board who will join WTW as a strategic adviser, said: “Accounting well for the growing impacts of climate transition risk has become one of the most important governance issues for sovereigns, central banks, financial institutions and corporates around the world. And it will only become more pressing as the pace of policy reform, technology innovation and public sentiment accelerate, and asset prices adjust.

“Synergies in expertise between WTW’s Climate and Resilience Hub, CPI Energy Finance, and the new team at Acclimatise provide a significant opportunity for countries and firms to plan for orderly, efficient and fair transitions to more sustainable and productive economies, combining advances in analytical metrics with targeted financial instruments, insurance products and investment strategies to manage the physical and financial risks associated with climate change.”

Climate Policy Initiative’s global team, based in six locations around the world, remains an independent non-profit led by its current board of directors.

About Willis Towers Watson

Willis Towers Watson (NASDAQ: WLTW) is a leading global advisory, broking and solutions company that helps clients around the world turn risk into a path for growth. With roots dating to 1828, Willis Towers Watson has 45,000 employees serving more than 140 countries and markets. We design and deliver solutions that manage risk, optimize benefits, cultivate talent, and expand the power of capital to protect and strengthen institutions and individuals. Our unique perspective allows us to see the critical intersections between talent, assets and ideas — the dynamic formula that drives business performance. Together, we unlock potential.

About the Climate and Resilience Hub

The Climate and Resilience Hub (CRH) is the focal point for our climate expertise and capabilities, pooling knowledge from across our people, risk and capital businesses and from our collaborations to deliver climate and resilience solutions in response to a range of regulatory, investor, consumer, employee and operating pressures. Under Climate QuantifiedTM we deliver analytics, advice and transactions to enable corporate, finance and public sector institutions to embrace the climate decade ahead.

Media contacts

Sarah Booker +44 (0)7917 722040 /
sarah.booker@willistowerswatson.com


Adaptation Fund Accelerates Climate Responses through its Pillars of Action, Innovation, and Learning and Sharing

Adaptation Fund Accelerates Climate Responses through its Pillars of Action, Innovation, and Learning and Sharing

Washington, D.C. (December 3, 2020) – New Adaptation Fund grants are scaling up sustainable land and water management practices in Rwanda to adapt to extreme rainfall, applying innovative approaches to establish emergency water access stations to address drought in vulnerable urban areas of Chile, and disseminating knowledge of effective coastal management practices in Senegal.

These are among the newest types of grants offered by the Fund through its five-year strategy focused on the pillars of ActionInnovation and Learning and Sharing. They are offered to vulnerable countries above and beyond its regular country projects to help address the urgency and scale of climate change, and rapidly growing demand for the Fund’s work.

The UNFCCC convened a special Dec. 3 event during the Climate Dialogues that featured global- and country-level climate leaders discussing the importance of the Fund’s contributions to serving the Paris Agreement through these novel approaches and its concrete work on the ground that continues to empower the most vulnerable. The Fund’s advances in contributing to climate action will be assessed next year by the Subsidiary Body for Implementation, which helps guide progress in addressing countries’ adaptation needs and building momentum for enhanced action on the ground.

“We are extremely proud of the growth and ability to adapt of the Adaptation Fund, with programmes in more than 100 countries including now close to 115 concrete projects on the ground, pioneering Direct Access modality that builds country ownership in adaptation, and additional grant pathways that are helping countries build resilience to climate change as well as environmental, health and economic risks that are even more profound in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Mr. Ibila Djibril, Chair of the Adaptation Fund Board.

Since its creation in 2001 and launch in 2007 the Adaptation Fund has been delivering effective adaptation projects and programs to the most vulnerable to climate change while building an essential role in the international climate finance landscape.

It has pioneered innovative climate finance modalities such as Direct Access and Enhanced Direct Access that build national adaptive capacities and has accredited 32 national implementing entities (NIEs) to date, half of which are in small island developing states or least developed countries. Several were accredited under the Fund’s streamlined accreditation process for smaller entities, which opens doors to nations that otherwise may not have been able to access needed climate finance.

In all, the Fund has accredited 52 implementing entities with the capability to identify and implement crucial adaptation projects across the globe. Its readiness programme organizes workshops, webinars, technical assistance and south-south cooperation grants to help guide entities through the accreditation process, as well as share project experiences to further effective adaptation practices on the ground.

The Fund has grown rapidly to nearly 115 concrete adaptation projects and nearly US$ 800 million committed to:

  • Serving 27 million total beneficiaries (including over 9 million direct beneficiaries);
  • Training 458,000 people in climate resilience;
  • Preserving 407,000 ha of natural habitat;
  • Protecting 162,000 meters of coastlines, and;
  • Establishing 408 Early Warning Systems, among other adaptation measures.

In addition to its concrete projects, it is implementing the new tools and grants through its five-year Medium-Term Strategy begun in 2018. These include action grants that are scaling up effective projects; small and large innovation grants through AF’s Innovation Facility that are fostering and accelerating innovation by testing new adaptation tools and technologies and building an effective scalable base; and learning grants that are disseminating knowledge in adaptation – all with the aim to enable transformational impact.

These small grants (up to US$ 250,000 each) are currently available to NIEs, with several scale-up, innovation and learning grants having already been awarded and underway. Another US$ 10 million in innovation grants were also recently launched through the Adaptation Fund Climate Innovation Accelerator — funded by AF and implemented by UNDP and UNEP/CTCN — and are available to a wider range of stakeholders, including governments, community groups, entrepreneurs, civil society, young innovators, and others.

In late October 2020, the Fund’s Board further approved a window for large innovation grants up to US$ 5 million each and a dedicated funding window for Enhanced Direct Access (EDA), which builds on Direct Access by empowering NIEs to directly identify and fund local adaptation projects. It will build on pioneering AF-funded EDA projects in South Africa, Costa Rica, Federated States of Micronesia and Antigua and Barbuda.

Similar to the Fund’s window for regional project funding, all of these new funding windows are offered to countries on top of regular country project funding.

The Adaptation Fund serving under the Paris Agreement increases opportunities for communities to adapt to the adverse effects of climate change. With this development, the Adaptation Fund can build on its enviable track record of delivering innovative finance for concrete action on the ground. We must continue to strengthen these efforts and enable the Fund to provide greater access of needed adaptation finance to developing countries,” said Mr. Daniele Violetti, Director, Means of Implementation, UNFCCC.

All the while the Fund continues to empower the most vulnerable groups, including women, youth, indigenous groups and others, while promoting human rights, biodiversity, inclusion and transparency through all its programmes.

Breaking Ground in AdaptationIts projects are often the first on the ground in many vulnerable places throughout the world and are creating valuable models that have been scaled up and replicated with financing from other climate funds. This has happened in several instances, with Fund projects in Senegal, India, Rwanda, Colombia, Georgia, Maldives, Pakistan, Ethiopia and others later being later scaled up or replicated by other funds.

Many AF-funded projects have also been adapting to help directly with Covid-19. In India, women’s self-help groups stitched thousands of needed masks for isolated Himalayan communities, while in Sri Lanka local seamstresses working in garment factories produced needed protective equipment for hospitals. Self-sustaining greenhouses helped thousands of family members in Uzbekistan under quarantine, while project farmers contributed to food security in Ghana, and family brigades in Honduras safely planted trees and restored ecosystem resources.
Other projects are helping to build broader resilience to climate change and the pandemic at the same time through their inherent adaptation measures. In Costa Rica, an AF-funded project is empowering farmers to diversify production for their own supplies and to sell in local markets, while clean water facilities have been established to provide on-site access to villagers in Lao PDR who were previously accustomed to walking long distances for water.

The Fund also adapted early on in the pandemic to arrange virtual meetings and project visits, knowledge products and project flexibility.

“The Adaptation Fund continues to receive high demand for projects and support, and has been very adaptive and responsive to countries’ needs as we continue to effectively serve the Paris Agreement on the eve of its 5th anniversary, through the Fund’s tangible actions on the ground, growing strategic pillars of Action, Innovation and Learning, and empowering country ownership in adaptation,” said Mr. Mikko Ollikainen, Manager of the Adaptation Fund.

The Board received record highs in new proposals for its March 2019 Board meeting as well as its June 2020 intersessional review period, and has an active project pipeline of about US$ 280 million. It also approved a record US$ 188 million in new projects last year. This led to the Board deciding recently to increase its resource mobilization target for 2020 by a third to US$ 120 million, while noting more would be welcome and needed for projects in the pipeline.

Since it began formally serving the Paris Agreement nearly two years ago, the Fund solidified its institutional arrangements and received a record 11 contributions from national and regional governments in 2019 — including the first multi-year commitment to the Fund. In conjunction with the 5-year anniversary of the Paris Agreement, the Fund will convene a virtual Adaptation Fund Contributor Dialogue for Ambition in Adaptation Finance Dec. 14, where governments are expected to speak about new contributions for the Fund.


This press release was originally published on the Adaptation Fund website.
Cover photo by Leona Keyl.
Switzerland And The Pacific Islands Region Cooperate On Climate Change And Migration

Switzerland And The Pacific Islands Region Cooperate On Climate Change And Migration

The Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs and the Secretariat of the Pacific Environment Programme (SPREP) are pleased to announce Switzerland is contributing USD100,000 to build capacity on climate change and disaster related migration, displacement and planned relocation for resilient development in the Pacific.

Project partners, including the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat, are working under the Framework for Resilient Development in the Pacific, endorsed by the Leaders of the Pacific Islands Forum PIF in 2016. Project funds are provided as co-financing under the EU-funded Intra-ACP GCCA+ Pacific Adaptation to Climate Change and Resilience Building (PACRES) which aims to deliver better regional and national responses to climate change challenges faced by Pacific ACP countries. PACRES is being implemented jointly by SPREP, the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat (PIFS), the Pacific Community and the University of the South Pacific.

The challenge of human mobility for Pacific Island countries was noted in the 2008 Niue Declaration on Climate Change, which recognised “the importance of retaining the Pacific’s social and cultural identity, and the desire of Pacific peoples to continue to live in their own countries, where possible”.

This new funding builds on a number of earlier Swiss investments that began under the Nansen Initiative Pacific Regional Consultation in 2013 and has continued under the Platform for Disaster Displacement. Switzerland’s Special Envoy for the Pacific Region Ambassador Yasmine Chatila Zwahlen said “The Pacific Islands Region is not only very exposed to Climate Change with its adverse effects on all aspects of Human Security, but it also harbours knowledge, tradition, solutions and best practices which the Blue Continent can share with the international community. I am proud that Switzerland can support the leadership in the Pacific Islands Region in this area of growing importance for the world.”

Project activities will include research to fill knowledge gaps to support policy development and enhancing coordination and communication to support the delivery of human mobility related programmes and policy development. Activities will be implemented by PIFS in the context of strengthening regional coordination in climate change and disaster resilience through the multi-stakeholder Pacific Resilience Partnership (PRP) for supporting resilience-building as guided by the Framework for Resilient Development in the Pacific (FRDP). To that end PIFS will deliver the activities in close collaboration with the PRP Technical Working Group on Human Mobility.


This press release was originally posted on ReliefWeb.
Cover photo by Daniela Turcanu on Unsplash.
New UNEP programme to support climate resilience in Pacific Islands through early warning systems

New UNEP programme to support climate resilience in Pacific Islands through early warning systems

A transformative new programme initiated by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) aims to establish climate and ocean information services and multi-hazard early warning systemsin Pacific Small Island Developing States, which are among the most vulnerable in the world when it comes to climate change, natural disasters and increasingly frequent or intense extreme climate events such as tropical cyclones, flooding and drought.

At its 27^th^ Board meeting on 10 November 2020, the Green Climate Fund (GCF) approved the submission of a US$49.9 million programme — of which USD 47.4 million represents the GCF grant — on Enhancing Climate Information and Knowledge Services for resilience in 5 island countries of the Pacific Ocean. This is UNEP’s first multi-country programmatic initiative in the GCF, and will cover the Cook Islands, Niue, Palau, the Republic of the Marshall Islands and Tuvalu, countries with some of the world’s smallest and most dispersed populations surrounded by vast ocean areas.

Strengthening the resilience and capacity of Pacific Small Island Developing States to adapt to climate change cannot be achieved without scientific knowledge and data on climate and its impacts. The new programme aims to develop climate science and information services that are essential for sustainable development, environmental management, disaster risk reduction, food security, health services, water resource management and energy efficiency. Early warning systems facilitate effective disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation, empowering populations at risk to initiate timely and appropriate actions to reduce the impact of climate-related hazards and extreme weather events.

“Climate services and early warning systems address an urgent need to provide an evidence base for planning, decision-making and responses that have the potential to save lives and livelihoods. Improved capacity to observe and predict the impacts of a changing climate will contribute to more effective environmental management, disaster risk reduction and food security in Pacific Small Island Developing States,” said Inger Andersen, Executive Director of UNEP. “The Green Climate Fund Board’s decision to invest in climate information and knowledge services in some of the countries most vulnerable to climate change is an important contribution to adaptation planning and science.”

The new UNEP programme will ensure reliable, real-time access to essential climate observation data, including the installation of a meteorological observation point on each inhabited island of the five countries, and deliver innovative approaches to disaster risk management through impact-based forecasting and forecast-based financing.

“I am pleased the GCF Board’s approval of USD 47.4 million will strengthen our partnership with UNEP to enhance climate information and knowledge services for resilience in Pacific Ocean countries. As a partnership organization, GCF operates through a network of accredited entities that work directly with developing countries to foster a paradigm shift towards low-emission and climate resilient pathways. This programme will do this by improving capacities to monitor, model and predict climate impacts in the Cook Islands, Niue, Palau, Marshall Islands and Tuvalu,” said Yannick Glemarec, Executive Director of the Green Climate Fund

At least 80 per cent of the islands’ populations will directly benefit from the programme through the promotion of diversified, climate-resilient livelihood practices informed by improved climate observation data and risk knowledge. In addition, the programme aims to achieve a 15-30 per cent reduction in economic damage and losses incurred due to climate-related hazards, and to enhance the productivity of climate risk-informed sectors. Strengthened ocean services will support sustainable marine ecosystems management.

“Niue is highly vulnerable to climate-related hazards and extreme climate events. This GCF-funded programme will empower our island populations to initiate timely and appropriate actions to reduce the Impact of hazards and extreme events by using improved climate information, early warning and risk knowledge. I applaud the efforts by everyone and the hard work towards the successful outcome of the approved programme Enhancing Climate Information and Knowledge Services for Resilience,” said Hon. Dalton Tagelagi, Premier of Niue. “The benefits of this programme will impact greatly on the continued efforts of the Niue people to building a safer, more resilient Niue to impacts of Climate Change and towards achieving sustainable livelihoods for the Pacific.”

The programme is part of UNEP’s commitment as a founding member of the Alliance for Hydromet Development, launched in 2019 to ramp up action that strengthens the capacity of developing countries to deliver high-quality weather forecasts, early warning systems, water, hydrological and climate services. Since its launch, significant progress has been made by the Alliance Members convened by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) in designing the Systematic Observations Financing Facility (SOFF) to support countries to generate and exchange basic observational data critical for improved weather forecasts and climate services. This is will be important for the longer-term sustainability of the programme’s results.

“The GCF-funded UNEP programme will provide a major boost for the observational networks run by the national meteorological and hydrological services in the five Pacific Small Island Developing States, filling data gaps that are of national, regional and global significance. For the longer-term sustainability of these efforts, the creation of the Systematic Observations Financing Facility (SOFF) is critical. The SOFF will support Small Island Development States and developing countries in new ways to substantially increase sustained generation and international exchange of basic observational data,” said Petteri Taalas, WMO Secretary-General.

“As the GCF Nationally Designated Authority (NDA) for Tuvalu, I take this opportunity to acknowledge and appreciate all the work that UNEP has done that has enabled this programme to be considered by the GCF Board. The support and efforts put forth by the national team from the Tuvalu Meteorological Service and the Climate Change Department in the formulation of this project proposal is highly commended. At this opportune time I sincerely thank the GCF Board and its Secretariat for their intense work. We look forward to the timely implementation of the programme at the 5 Pacific Island Countries. The programme is envisaged to strengthen the provision of reliable, delivery of climate information to aid decision making for resilience building,” said Seve Paeniu, Tuvalu’s Minister for Finance and Climate Change.

“Pacific Small Island Developing States are highly vulnerable to climate-related hazards and extreme climate events, such as tropical cyclones, flooding and drought. This Programme will empower island populations to initiate timely and appropriate actions to reduce the impact of hazards and extreme events by using improved climate information, early warning and risk knowledge,” said Kosi Latu, Director General of the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme. “This is particularly timely as Pacific Island Countries face the double-edged challenge of climate change and a global pandemic. As secretariat of the Pacific Meteorological Council and host of the Pacific Climate Change Centre, we welcome this project to assist with addressing strategic priorities in the 5 countries and we look forward to supporting its implementation.”


About the UN Environment Programme

UNEP is the leading global voice on the environment. It provides leadership and encourages partnership in caring for the environment by inspiring, informing and enabling nations and peoples to improve their quality of life without compromising that of future generations.

About the Alliance for Hydromet Development

UNEP is a founding member of the Alliance for Hydromet Development, which brings together major international development, humanitarian and climate finance institutions, collectively committed to scale up and unite efforts to close the hydromet capacity gap.

For more information, please contact:

Keishamaza Rukikaire, Head of News & Media, UN Environment Programme


Cover photo by Bora Bora Photos, 2015
Climate change: New report shows global response is failing people in greatest need

Climate change: New report shows global response is failing people in greatest need

Global efforts to tackle climate change are currently failing to protect the people who are most at risk, according to new analysis by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC).

IFRC’s World Disasters Report 2020: Come Heat or High Water shows that the countries most affected by climate-related disasters receive only a fraction of the funding that is available for climate change adaptation and thus struggle to protect people from the aggravating effects of climate change.

IFRC’s Secretary General Jagan Chapagain said:

“Our first responsibility is to protect communities that are most exposed and vulnerable to climate risks.

“However, our research demonstrates that the world is collectively failing to do this. There is a clear disconnection between where the climate risk is greatest and where climate adaptation funding goes. This disconnection could very well cost lives.”

The failure to protect the people most vulnerable to climate change is especially alarming given the steady increase in the number of climate and weather-related disasters. According to the World Disasters Report, the average number of climate and weather-related disasters per decade has increased nearly 35 per cent since the 1990s.

Over the past decade, 83 per cent of all disasters were caused by extreme weather and climate-related events such as floods, storms, and heatwaves. Together, these disasters killed more than 410,000 people and affected a staggering 1.7 billion people.

The World Disasters Report also argues that the massive stimulus packages that are currently being developed around the world in response to the COVID-19 pandemic are an opportunity to address and reduce climate vulnerability. A recovery that protects people and the planet would not only help to reduce today’s risks but would also make communities safer and more resilient to future disasters.

Smart financing – with a focus on early warning and anticipatory action to reduce risks and prevent disasters before they happen – and risk reduction measures would both play a major role in protecting the most exposed communities.

Mr Chapagain said: Climate adaptation work can’t take a back seat while the world is preoccupied with the pandemic: the two crises have to be tackled together.

“These disasters are already on the doorstep in every country around the world. We must significantly scale up investment in climate smart actions that strengthens risk reduction and preparedness, alongside climate-smart laws and policies.

“With challenges like these, international solidarity is not only a moral responsibility, but also the smart thing to do. Investing in resilience in the most vulnerable places is more cost-effective than to accept continued increases in the cost of humanitarian response, and contributes to a safer, more prosperous and sustainable world for everyone.”

The World Disasters Report 2020: Come Heat or High Water can be downloaded here.


Cover image by Assam state, India, 2020/Indian Red Cross Society
Supporting countries in improving their forecasting: A new brief on how the Systematic Observations Financing Facility works

Supporting countries in improving their forecasting: A new brief on how the Systematic Observations Financing Facility works

Set up by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), the Systematic Observations Financing Facility (SOFF) provides a new way to upgrade our global weather and climate forecasting systems for a fraction of the cost compared to current investment plans. This new information brief outlines how the SOFF will work and describes the process by which this new way of investing benefits all of the global community.

Many countries lack the resource and capacity to produce regular and detailed observations, and to share them with the global community. This significantly limits the accuracy of weather and climate forecasts made for their local areas, and therefore limits the plans they can put in place to adapt and become more resilient to climate change and extreme weather events. This is because weather prediction models’ outputs are reliant upon the quality of data input – if you have low quality or infrequent observational data for an area, then the outputs are likely to be limited.

Whilst improvements have been made to other types of earth observation methods, such as from satellites, surface-based observational coverage is not consistent across the globe and has not received as much investment. This has spurred the creation of the Global Basic Observing Network (GBON). GBON sets out the standard for observations, ensuring that data are of acceptable frequency and coverage, and shared in a timely and consistent way across the global community. However, not all countries are able to meet this basic standard – or if they can, they may struggle to sustain it due to the resource and capacity needs for making surface-based observations.

This brief describes how SOFF will act as the mechanism by which countries – in particular, 68 SIDs and LEDCs – can be supported in covering their ‘GBON gap’ and in sustaining compliance with the GBON requirements. This includes both financial and technical assistance, delivered in new ways. Internationally agreed metrics guide investments (GBON), and data exchange is used as a measure of success, which also create local benefits and provide a global public good.

SOFF will only cost $400 million in its first 5 years – a fraction of the $2.5 billion currently invested just in the Alliance for Hydromet Development member’s projects. Yet SOFF is predicted to result in a 10-fold increase in radiosonde observations (observations that are taken by suspending measuring equipment under a large balloon that will ascend to high altitudes) and a 20-fold increase from weather stations.

The mechanism of SOFF’s financial and technical assistance has been carefully designed so as to ensure investments are made wisely, and that success is measured by how well data is being shared – the crucial element of improving global forecasts. This design also ensures that countries’ contributions are sustained and increase the benefits for the entire global community.

Image: A diagram of the SOFF outcomes, phases, and operational partners. 


This information brief is one of several produced by the World Meteorological Organization in collaboration with Acclimatise. They are based on the work of the SOFF working groups that brought together 30 international partners to jointly develop the SOFF concept and design.

You can learn more about SOFF and read the other briefs here.