The fifth edition of the UNEP Adaptation Gap Report looks at progress in planning for, financing and implementing adaptation – with a focus on nature-based solutions.
The year 2020 has been the year of COVID-19. The fallout of the pandemic is expected to significantly influence the ability of countries to plan for, finance and implement adaptation actions in response to current and future climate impacts, disproportionately affecting the most vulnerable countries and population groups. While it is too early to gauge the full extent to which COVID-19 will affect global adaptation processes, in the short term the acute need to manage the direct public health impacts of the virus and the subsequent economic fallout has seen adaptation fall down the political agenda at all levels of governance and resources earmarked for adaptation planning, finance and implementation have been reallocated to combat the pandemic. In the longer term, the socioeconomic consequences of the pandemic can be expected to have lasting implications for adaptation processes, as the economic downturn will put additional pressure on public finances and may change national and donor priorities regarding climate action. If implemented well, COVID-19 stimulus packages could lead to a more climate-resilient and low-emission recovery. However, analysis of the economic stimulus packages announced to date indicates that most of these are not taking advantage of this opportunity. The pandemic has already impacted the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) process, postponing COP 26 and delaying countries’ revisions of their nationally determined contributions (NDCs) to raise the ambition for strong mitigation and adaptation action.