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RISK &


OPEC Fund Quarterly: What are the current priorities (if it is possible to generalize) for developing countries in adapting to climate change? Anne Hammill: It’s really hard to generalize. Overall, you’d probably hear developing countries say they urgently need more financial and technical resources to adapt, which is true. If we look at all of the climate finance that is tracked, only five percent of it – about US$30 billion – goes toward adaptation. This is far below what is needed, which is estimated at US$180 billion per year between 2020 and 2030. When we focus on developing countries, only 19 percent of climate finance from OECD countries to developing countries goes toward adaptation. While this is better than the global average, it’s still far below what has been promised and what is needed by developing countries. How developing countries channel resources for adaptation – which priorities they address – differs from country to country. I would argue that all developing countries need to work on their institutions, planning processes, policy and regulatory frameworks to normalize climate adaptation and make it part of standard practice. This is an ongoing, medium- to long-term process. They also need to invest in human capital to manage it all.


OFQ: Do these priorities differ by region? AH: Regions will have different priorities based on the types of climate hazards that affect


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Anne Hammill is Director, Resilience, at the International Institute for Sustainable Development


them and their ability to deal with them. For example, Small Island Developing States in the Caribbean and Pacific are acutely exposed to tropical cyclones and sea level rise – so you’ll see a lot of priorities around early warning, coastal protection, coral reef ecosystems and marine livelihoods. In sub-Saharan Africa, where rain-fed agriculture is the main economic activity (which is vulnerable to recurrent floods and droughts), a lot of adaptation efforts focus on changing production practices, expanding irrigation, improving water efficiency, reducing post-harvest losses and diversifying livelihoods. Asia is the most rapidly urbanizing region in the world and will face extreme heat, droughts and floods. As such, there are a lot of adaptation priorities related to ensuring that infrastructure is resilient, that communities living in slums and informal settlements have adequate housing and access to basic services (60 percent of the world’s slum population lives in Asia). These are just a few generalized regional examples.


OFQ: What affects a developing country’s ability to adapt? AH: In a lot of developing countries, adaptive capacity is constrained by poverty, illiteracy, poor health and weak institutions; these countries may also be dealing with multiple stressors such as conflict, economic volatility and disease outbreaks. This stretches existing resources and makes it even more challenging to deal with climate change impacts. As such, overall it


shouldn’t come as a surprise to say that Least Developed Countries (LDCs) tend to have greater needs and the furthest to go in terms of adaptation.


OFQ: How can the international community / development institutions such as the OPEC Fund best help in the short and longer terms? AH: Stepping up the amount of financial and technical resources available to countries for adaptation; making sure these resources are not only more easily accessible, but also able to quickly get to those people and places that need them most (who are often poor, marginalized and harder to reach). This may mean working with new types of intermediaries and taking new approaches to development assistance. Otherwise, they can help just by continuing to work with countries to identify and address their adaptation priorities – both immediate, but also longer-term. While most countries can point to adaptation investments that are needed now – whether it’s strengthening early warning systems, protecting smallholder farmers against drought, or shoring-up water infrastructure – supporting adaptation in developing countries is a longer- term commitment. By taking a longer-term view, development institutions can get a better sense of what works and doesn’t work in a changing climate, adjust their support accordingly, and be more iterative in their approach. This points to investing in institutions, helping countries


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