UN report seeks $86 bn to halt ‘adaptation apartheid’

By Xinhua

Bali : A UN report has said that $86 billion is needed every year to halt the drift towards “adaptation apartheid”, according to a statement from the authors of the study Tuesday.

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The Human Development Report (HDR), titled “Fighting Climate Change: Human Solidarity in a Divided World”, highlighted large disparities in adaptation financing.

It warned that the world was drifting towards “adaptation apartheid”, with rich countries investing heavily in climate infrastructure and the world’s poor being left to “sink or swim” with their own resources.

The UN Development Program (UNDP) commissioned the HRD report.

Speaking in Bali Tuesday, lead author of the report, Kevin Watkins, said an annual financing commitment of $86 billion was needed per year by 2015.

“The headline numbers are large, but so are the human costs of climate change,” said Watkins. “The world’s poor are not responsible for global warming. Having created the climate crisis, developed countries must face up to their responsibilities, including the responsibility to protect the potential victims.”

Under the proposals set out in the report, the $86 billion would be divided between spending on social protection and environmental investments, with supplementary financing for humanitarian responses to extreme climate events.

Current spending under multilateral financing mechanisms for adaptation has amounted to less than $26 billion in the past two years – less than one week’s worth of Britain’s food defence spending.

“The figure tells its own story. The international adaptation effort suffers from chronic under-financing, which reflects the low priority attached to the issue,” said Watkins.

Meanwhile, UN Under-Secretary General and Associate Administrator of UNDP Ad Melkert highlighted inequality in adaptation.

He said: “We simply can’t leave some of the world’s poorest people in regions like the Mekong and Ganges deltas to ‘adapt’ with their own resources. Recognising this inequality and putting it right must be at the heart of the decisions taken here in Bali and beyond.”

The authors of the UN report have called on rich countries to put adaptation to climate change at the centre of the high-level political negotiations in Bali this week, where the UN climate change conference, which kicked off Dec 3, has entered its second decisive week.

The two-week conference, which will end Friday, is tasked with drawing up a “roadmap” for negotiations on a new climate deal in the next two years before the current phase of the 1997 Kyoto Protocol expires in 2012.