DETERMINED to build climate resilience in the world’s most vulnerable countries, the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and 13 members within the UN system have launched a new initiative for those living in areas at risk of droughts and floods.
Known as the Secretary-General’s Climate Resilience Initiative, the new programme will strengthen the ability of countries to anticipate hazards, absorb shocks, and reshape development to reduce climate risks.
It will also help to address the needs of the nearly 634 million people, or a tenth of the global population who live in at-risk coastal areas just a few meters above existing sea levels.
Bringing together private sector organizations, governments, UN agencies, research institutions and other stakeholders to scale up transformative solutions, the SG’s Resilience Initiative will focus on the most vulnerable people and communities in Small Island Developing States, Least Developed Countries, and African countries.
Over the next five years, the Initiative will mobilize financing and knowledge; create and operationalize partnerships at scale, help coordinate activities to help reach tangible results, catalyse research, and develop new tools.
The initiative will support the work of partners, such as the Africa Risk Capacity, to ensure that by the time the new climate agreement enters into force in 2020, over 30 countries are provided with $2 billion in coverage against drought, flood and cyclones, including $500 million in adaptation financing. 150 million Africans will be indirectly insured.
While much of the attention at Paris is focused on reducing emissions in a bid to keep global temperature rise to less than two degrees Celsius by the end of the century, many climate impacts will continue to increase—including rising sea level and more extreme weather events—even if greenhouse emissions cease, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
A recent report issued by the UN shows that over the last twenty years, 90 per cent of major disasters have been caused by 6,457 recorded floods, storms, heatwaves, droughts and other weather-related events.
Ki-moon said, “These are the people who did the least to cause climate change, yet they stand to lose their homes, their jobs, and even their lives because of the growing impacts of climate change. That is why I have asked the UN system to put together a package of initiatives to address this urgent need.”
“The Secretary-General’s Climate Resilience Initiative signals a new era in how the United Nations and its agencies think about our global future, said Dr. Judith Rodin, author of The Resilience Dividend and president of The Rockefeller Foundation, which has made pioneering investments of more than a half-billion dollars to build resilience globally over the past decade. “Crisis is the new normal, and our world demands that we seek solutions that solve multiple problems at once, for the greatest number of people, while strengthening the fabric of their communities, economies, and lives.”