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14 March 2022

IPCC Releases Its Sixth Assessment Report on the Impacts of Climate Change Underscoring the Urgency of Collective Action

Karsten Würth (Unsplash)

 

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) recently released the sixth assessment report (AR6) on the impacts of climate change on ecosystems, biodiversity, and local communities at the global and regional level. The report, “Climate Change 2022: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability,” issues dire warnings on the impacts of climate change as rising temperatures are intensifying extreme weather and precipitating the increase and spread of diseases and global water and food shortages. The report’s findings underscore the urgency of global adaptation efforts to drive climate action. The NDC Partnership stands committed to supporting countries in these efforts, as they move from planning to implementation to adapt to, and mitigate, the worst effects of climate change.  

By emphasizing the interconnectedness of human, natural, and climate systems, the report underscores the importance of cross-cutting, integrative policies, and solutions to support a global transition from a high-risk climate scenario to sustainable and climate resilient global development. “The Partnership’s more than 200 members recognize that the effects of climate are interconnected and so too must be our response,” says Pablo Vieira, the Global Director of the NDC Partnership. “Country members are increasingly seeking support from the Partnership to work on complex policy and structural reform, an approach the IPCC argues is necessary to advance collective action as opposed to stand-alone projects. Our members are transitioning to climate-compatible development models, mobilizing resources to transform sectoral policies in response to countries’ needs, aligning financial systems with climate targets, and promoting climate resilient investment. The Partnership is seeing a growing demand from member countries and partners are ready to respond.”  

Integrating climate action into planning and development is more critical now than ever to address the increased climate risks and potential impacts that would arise even at present warming levels of just above 1 degree Celsius. Confronting the systematic effects outlined in AR6 requires both the whole-of-government and whole-of-society. These effects are, and will continue to be, felt disproportionately by the world’s most vulnerable populations, many of which are already leading on climate action. In response, the Partnership is providing assistance to attend to these systemic issues in 80 developing countries and advance climate mainstreaming at the highest level of planning and budgetary decisions. For instance, the Partnership is embedding 56 expert advisors in central banks and ministries of finance in more than 30 countries to ensure climate action is a part of economic recovery plans and financial decisions.   

To adapt to and mitigate the catastrophic effects to biodiversity and human communities detailed in the report and reduce global greenhouse gas emissions, developing country members are leveraging NDCs to mainstream climate action across development strategies. Countries seeking support for climate action are going even further, enhancing the ambition of their climate commitments and calling on others to do the same. Of the 67 countries that received Partnership support to enhance their NDCs, 58 submitted updated NDCs. All of those that submitted updated NDCs raised their adaptation ambition and 84% increased their mitigation ambition. As the IPCC report highlighted, mitigation efforts can reduce adaptation costs and needs, and contribute to meeting broader development targets, such as the Sustainable Development Goals. Overall, among the more than 4,000 requests for support the Partnership received, nearly 75% are for adaptation measures, of which 67% are supported.  

In addition, the leadership that countries are demonstrating to advance urgent climate action is increasingly inclusive. An important feature of AR6 is the call for greater recognition of local and indigenous knowledge as a pillar to meaningful, long-lasting adaptation. The NDC Partnership is committed to ensuring gender considerations, and the voices of youth and vulnerable populations are integrated into NDC planning for climate action, and members are embracing these commitments. Nearly 45 countries are receiving capacity-building support from more than 60 partners to engage stakeholders in mainstreaming gender into their planning processes and revise their national strategies. The Partnership’s Youth Engagement Plan is the result of a consultative process with input from more than 500 young people representing more than 80 countries, complimented by insights from 50 members; and, more than 370 participants engaged in the Partnership’s first annual Youth Forum, representing 77 countries. 

 The IPCC is again calling for action; the challenge before us requires ground-breaking coordination to mobilize resources globally, with speed and scale.  Senator the Honorable Matthew Samuda, Jamaica, Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation and NDC Partnership Co-Chair emphasized the need for urgent action. “The Sixth Assessment Report of the IPCC, Climate Change 2022: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability, is perhaps the most chilling of the agency’s reports to date. It details, in no uncertain terms, the very urgent need for immediate action in both adaptation and mitigation if we are to secure a livable and sustainable future for all of mankind, particularly for those of us who live in small island states like Jamaica. From where I sit, the only take-away is that big emitters must significantly reduce their emissions now, not in the medium-term; and climate finance flows that are dedicated to helping us adapt need to be increased now, not in 2023.”  

At present, the Partnership is fielding 1,032 unmet requests for cross-cutting or adaptation-related support from countries, 346 of which relate to climate finance. The Partnership’s approach powers a collective response in which the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Yet, calls for support remain unanswered and AR6 is ringing the bell. Together we must achieve more.  

 

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