World Resources Institute WRI

Financing adaptation: Opportunities for innovation and experimentation


Courtesy of World Resources Institute WRI

Climate change is upon us. The earth is warming, seasons are shifting, species are migrating, and water is fl owing in new patterns. The accelerating and deepening impacts of climate change will touch everyone on earth, but those who stand to suffer most are the poor. People and governments must find the will and the means to slow, stop, and reverse the buildup of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere to avert catastrophic warming. But it is already too late to avert some serious consequences. We must also learn to adapt to a warmer world.

This question of adaptation is a particularly pressing issue for national and international agencies tasked with providing financial and technical assistance to reduce poverty in developing countries. As leaders begin to consider policies and measures to respond to mounting climate effects, it is critical that adaptation efforts be designed to support the poorest communities in their development efforts. Likewise, development assistance must foster adaptation if it is to succeed within a changing climate. That the poor are the people least responsible for global warming makes these efforts all the more imperative.

This paper explores the opportunities and challenges involved in financing adaptation efforts in developing countries. The last two years have seen a surge of interest in adaptation fi nance with new funding proposals fl oated on an almost weekly basis. But many critical questions remain. How much will adaptation cost? Which proposals are most likely to generate an adequate and predictable fl ow of funds? How should these funds be channeled so that they reach those most in need? How do we ensure adaptation funds are used most effectively?

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