Director General, International Affairs Unit, Ministry of the Environment of Finland
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The nature of technology transfer for adaptation to climate change is different from mitigation. Technologies for adaptation are connected closely with the key development areas of countries, such as agriculture, water management, health services and infrastructure, which mainly are supported by the public sector. Therefore it is of crucial importance, that adaptation strategies will be streamlined with countries’ national development plans. On the other hand, National Adaptation Plans of Action, NAPAs, agreed in UNFCCC should also inform and guide national planning on climate risks and actions in vulnerable areas and sectors.
The main challenge for adaptation is to secure enough financing. Investments in the focus areas of adaptation tend to provide for especially the public good and be long term and of low revenue by nature. Unlike mitigation, this will not usually attract private investors and funds. The latest reports indicate, that overall international financing for adaptation is at the moment around mere 600 million USD per year. The future financing needs are estimated at 10 to 100 billion USD per year, main needs being in the infrastructure. A substantial portion of this new financing has to come from public sources but private financing must be involved to meet the challenge.
For adaptation, endogenous technologies are the key. Innovations and solutions of technologies for adaptation seem to be much more local and regional by nature than mitigation technologies. For this reason, networking of national and regional research and development centers and institutions is important. Here South-South cooperation may be the most efficient way and thus should especially be supported. However, global level inventions, such as early warning systems and tide-gates, should be introduced to all countries in need.
The private sector should be informed and be proactive on challenges and opportunities on adaptation to climate change, especially when operating in developing countries. Firstly, companies should be aware of climate risks, defined in national adaptation plans, and be guided by them when investing in countries. This may include some additional investments, which will pay back on the longer term. Secondly, private sector could join with public institutions to promote adaptation actions in sectors and places, where these are fundamental in securing sustainable investment environments. As an example, tourism services, usually owned by the private sector, may need massive protection against both sea-level rise and more torrent weather conditions. Lastly, there will be benefits in actions for adaptation, which also bring benefits in mitigation and can be financed through conventional sources. These include increasing vegetation cover and thus sinks in vulnerable coastal and catchment areas.