We now know the price of climate adaptation in developing countries –- US$75-100 billion per year between 2010 and 2050. The recently published costs were explained by their World Bank estimators in a panel discussion at the Bank on Tuesday. But who, exactly, will do the adapting?
Most of the developing countries that will be hardest hit by climate change are poor (20) and some of them are classified as fragile (six). Poor –- and especially fragile – countries are already hard pressed to effectively implement current economic growth strategies because their governments don’t have adequate capacity in launching projects (e.g., local ownership, rigorous monitoring and evaluation, focus on results, feedback mechanism). Multilateral development banks, like the World Bank, are increasingly turning to non-governmental organizations to close the capacity gap.
Climate-adaptation spending – if it’s fully funded – would equal what’s now spent on “official development assistance” (ODA). Besides, climate adaptation, because it's unexplored terrain in many respects, will require a lot of learning, knowledge, and innovation. So how would the doubling of development funding be matched by capacity? The new cost-of-adaptation study says, very confidently: “For all sectors, adaptation costs include the costs of planned, public policy adaptation measures and exclude the costs of private adaptation.”
Does that mean that NGOs wouldn’t get a share of the billions of dollars in annual climate-adaptation funds that are expected to flow from developed to developing countries in coming years as part of the recent Copenhagen “accord”? Not necessarily. After Tuesday’s panel, I asked the chief author of the World Bank cost study, Sergio Margulis, if his numbers covered only climate adaptation carried out by national and regional governments, or might they be a “hybrid” that included NGOs. “A hybrid,” he said.
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