World Bank CEO Kristalina Georgieva, former United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and US software billionaire and philanthropist Bill Gates have launched a new initiative, the “Global Commission on Adaptation” (GCA) in a move to address “risks associated with climate change—from floods and droughts to sea level rise and storms”.
At an October 16 launch in The Hague Georgieva, Ki-moon and Gates all stressed the need to scale up and speed up adaptation, especially in light of last week’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) special report that warned of imminent and unprecedented dangers to humans on a fast-warming planet.
The Commission will present a report at a major UN Climate Summit convened by UN Secretary-General António Guterres in September 2019 when a “flagship report” will set out why adapting to climate risks is essential, and issue a set of recommendations.
The GCA said at the launch in The Hague, Netherlands that the entity intends to demonstrate that adapting to climate change is not only necessary, but also improves human well-being and leads to better and more sustainable economic development and security. And moreover, that the costs of adapting are lower than those economies will face if they continue with a business-as-usual approach.
GCA aims to help accelerate adaptation action in seven areas, namely: climate-resilient food and rural livelihood security; resilient cities; ecosystem-based solutions; adaptation finance; resilient global supply chains; climate resilient infrastructure; and climate-resilient social protection. Special attention will go on ensuring that adaptation action and support reaches the most vulnerable.
Georgieva said solutions might include altering the way the way banks, insurance companies, philanthropic organizations and governments allocate funding for future building projects, prioritizing anything that reduces climate risk.
The GCA also intends to work in support of the process of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
The new independent body includes political leaders from 17 countries—but not the United States—and 28 expert “commissioners” to advise on urban development, agriculture, and disaster prevention, among other topics.
Georgieva described the built environment as a major focus: “As you know, buildings are the biggest contributor to CO2 emissions,” Georgieva said. “Adapting them to a low carbon footprint and at the same time putting in building codes that are resilient to hurricanes and floods, that is already happening. There is a lot of experience and it is quite scalable”.