UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has, this week, announced a new international coalition to tackle the impacts of climate change.
In a virtual address to the Netherlands-hosted Climate Adaptation Summit, the first ever global summit focused solely on adaptation and resilience, Johnson launched the Adaptation Action Coalition.
The coalition was developed by the UK, in partnership with Egypt, Bangladesh, Malawi, the Netherlands, Saint Lucia and the United Nations (UN). It will work to turn international political commitments made through the UN Call for Action on Adaptation and Resilience into on-the-ground support for vulnerable communities.
Many countries across the world are already experiencing the impacts of climate change, from forest fires in Australia to the recent cyclones in Mozambique. Without action, many more will experience significant disruption and extreme weather, devastating communities and livelihoods.
With support, countries and communities can adapt and build resilience to the impacts of climate change. Measures such as early warning systems for storms, investing in flood drainage and drought resistant crops are cost-effective, saving not just money, but lives and livelihoods.
In the UK, where the country is experiencing more high rainfall events as a result of climate change, the Government has committed an additional £5.2bn to new flood and coastal defence schemes.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said,“It is undeniable that climate change is already upon us and is already devastating lives and economies.”
He added, “We must adapt to our changing climate, and we must do so now. I’ll be making the need for a resilient recovery a priority of the UK’s G7 presidency this year.”
Johnson also said that the all-new Adaptation Action Coalition was launched to ensure real change, and to set the agenda ahead of the 2021 UN Climate Change Conference (COP26).
He called for collaboration in order to adapt, to become more resilient, and to save lives and livelihoods all around the world.
COP26 President Alok Sharma said, “We know that the most vulnerable are at the greatest risk from climate change, and that they have done the least to cause it.”
“Action to address this and build resilience is needed now, before more people lose lives or livelihoods,” he added, “I am calling on all countries to come forward with ambitious adaptation plans.”
Sharma also said that this important new coalition will crucially focus minds around the world to accelerate adaptation delivery in the areas most in need.
The Coalition will draw on the expertise of scientists, businesses, civil society and more. It will act as a forum for developed and developing countries to share knowledge and best practice on local, regional and global solutions to deal with climate change.
The UN High-Level Climate Champions’ “Race to Resilience” campaign, and the new Dutch-led Adaptation Action Agenda, will help inform the Coalition to host a series of sector specific events.
These will bring together governments, the private sector, communities, and funders to deliver action to safeguard people and economies from the impacts of climate change.
The UK is already taking action both at home and internationally to improve resilience to climate change. It has become one of the first countries in the world to fulfil a key commitment of the Paris Agreement, by publishing its Adaptation Communication at the end of last year.