Road to COP29 – Scaling Implementation and Financing Adaptation Solutions towards 2030

As the world gears up for COP29, ICSI remains committed to accelerating the implementation and financing of climate adaptation solutions. This mission was a focal point at the session titled “Road to COP29 – Scaling Implementation and Financing Adaptation Solutions towards 2030”, which took place at the SB60 Bonn Climate Change Conference, currently underway. ICSI was pleased to be invited to attend this session in Bonn which provided valuable insights into how we can collectively advance towards a resilient and sustainable future.

Youssef Nassef, UNFCCC Director for Adaptation, opened the session by reflecting on the COP journey thus far and inviting past COP Presidencies to deliver remarks. He highlighted the multidimensional nature of adaptation and stressed the importance of building bridges among stakeholders to establish coherence and consistency in adaptation efforts. The Sharm El-Sheikh Adaptation Agenda (SAA) is a testament to this approach, aiming to unify efforts and create a cohesive strategy for global adaptation that prioritises defragmentation and inclusivity.

Scene Setting

Panel 1:  SAA adaptation and resilience solutions bridging the non-state actors responding to global policy processes

Opening remarks were delivered by Razan Al Mubarak, UN High-Level Climate Champion for COP28, who emphasised that nature is a critical link between health, food, and water sectors and needs to be central to adaptation and mitigation strategies. She reflected on the COP28 outcomes on nature and livelihood and reiterated that adaptation efforts are as critical as mitigation ones. Al Mubarak advocated for integrating nature-based solutions (NbS) into our collective climate agendas, highlighting the need for speed and scale in these efforts. She called for a Global Climate Agenda to encourage parties to take climate action, noting that collaboration between party and non-party stakeholders is essential to effectively tackle climate change. Lastly, she emphasised the importance of ensuring that the most vulnerable have a seat at the table so that their voices can be heard.

Nigar Apardarai, UN High-Level Climate Champion for COP29, underscored the importance of empowering small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Recognising SMEs as the backbone of the economy, Apardarai emphasised the need for these businesses not only to survive but to flourish. Strengthening SME capacities is vital for building a resilient economic foundation in the face of climate challenges. She stressed that finance must be accelerated and that climate adaptation must be accessible and affordable in order to harness the role of businesses and SMEs.

Sylvie Wabbes, co-lead for resilience for the Marrakesh Partnership, emphasised that all solutions must be climate-driven and climate-risk informed. She advocated for nature-positive, inclusive, low-carbon, and resilient solutions, acknowledging that while solutions are context-specific, there is a need for a common language in addressing climate challenges. She reiterated the importance of centring marginalised communities in climate action, nothing that they are agents of change.

‘Nature is at the core of all adaptation and resilience action. We are in a moment where we can shape all of finance so that it is not destructive. We can flip it.’

– Sylvie Wabbes

Accelerating Equitable Implementation

Panel 2: Accelerating equitable implementation of adaptation and resilience solutions through the lenses of nature and water as foundational systems

Jose Gesti from Sanitation and Water for All opened the second panel by highlighting technologies that exist to advance adaptation and resilience and spoke to the necessity of boosting political will so that water supply and sanitation can benefit from climate finance. He showcased a mutual accountability mechanism platform, citing the collaboration between the Government of Uganda and UNICEF in developing a NAP for water and sanitation.

Leyla Hasanova, Youth Climate Champion for COP29, stressed the importance of training, resources, and capacity building through educational programmes that emphasise sustainability. Empowering the younger generation is crucial for sustaining long-term climate action and innovation. Leyla highlighted the role of youth in driving adaptation and fostering a culture of resilience and sustainability.

‘Youth are not just the future – we are the present. We should be included now… Young people must be equipped to take meaningful action to drive adaptation and resilience at all levels.’

– Leyla Hasanova

Ali Raza Rizvi, Head of Climate Change at IUCN, discussed the need for an integrated and effective use of adaptation finance. He warned against maladaptation and stressed the importance of concurrent investments across ecological, social, and economic aspects. Rizvi announced the launch of an indicator at COP29 and an action-oriented policy brief to guide these efforts.

Kobie Brand, ICLEI Deputy Secretary General, highlighted the value of multi-level governance in achieving ambitious climate goals. She showcased initiatives such as Daring Cities, U20, and Innovate4Cities, which provide platforms for cities to take action on urbanisation, nature conservation, and biodiversity. She called on parties to work closely with local governments to support their ambitions.

Business and Finance for Adaptation

Panel 3: Business and Finance – Quality, quantity and accessible financing for adaptation and resilience & catalysing private finance and business for key sector outcomes

The third panel delved into the role of business and finance in adaptation. Sofia Vargas-Lozada, Climate Finance Advisor and finance negotiator for the Government of Colombia, called for creating an enabling environment that values nature. She discussed Colombia’s leadership in policy and financial signals, emphasising the need for market signals and international cooperation to catalyse additional finance.

Jennifer Phillips, Advisor for Global Shield, highlighted the need for country-led processes to identify scalable activities and financial gaps. Animesh Kumar from UNDRR stressed the importance of understanding risks and addressing the needs of marginalised groups, emphasising the necessity of continuous adjustment in adaptation efforts.

‘We need to build on existing policy instruments and work together to achieve our collective ambition.’

– Animesh Kumar

ICSI’s role in the SAA Task Force

ICSI is proud to lead the implementation of the transport resilience outcome of the SAA. Our commitment is to ensure that transport infrastructure is resilient to climate hazards through the adoption of new technologies, innovative designs, and sustainable materials. For 2024, ICSI’s three focus areas are:

  1. Embracing Technology

Technology is a tremendous enabler and accelerator of large-scale implementation. We will focus on technologies that have a demonstrable impact on supporting climate action, encompassing both adaptation and mitigation. Emphasis will be placed on increasing efficiency and cost-effectiveness while including innovations from SMEs. We are compiling case studies for our flagship Climate Resilient Infrastructure Report to be published at COP29.

  1. Scaling Nature-Positive Solutions

Our second focus area is nature-positive solutions for infrastructure. We will undertake a global consultation with experts to determine how to scale these solutions, focusing on coastal and marine ecosystems, coastal communities, ports, and offshore/near-shore renewable energy.

  1. Building Workforce Capacity

Human resources are crucial for delivering adaptation goals. Once adaptation finance flows are unlocked, the next bottleneck is the capacity and capability of the workforce to implement these solutions. We are conducting a scoping study on the availability of engineers worldwide and identifying gaps in the skills and competencies of the current and future engineering workforce.

A Call to Action

The importance and urgency of building adaptation and resilience in our infrastructure systems and built environment cannot be stressed enough. ICSI, along with other SAA implementation partners, will continue to pursue ambitious goals, implementing solutions at pace and scale to meet the challenges posed by climate change.

Together, we can make a significant impact on the road to COP29 and beyond, ensuring a sustainable and resilient future for all.