The Path Towards Elevating the Global Goal on Adaptation on the Political Stage

A view of the dais during the Opening Plenary Session at COP 27, the UN’s Climate Change Conference held in 2022. Photo: Kiara Worth / UN

A new paper, co-authored by Kaveh Guilanpour at the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions and UN Foundation Senior Advisor Cristina Rumbaitis del Rio, explores what a robust and viable overarching goal for climate adaptation at COP28 could look like. The paper also looks at options for elevating climate adaptation on the global political stage.

The outcome of the Paris Agreement established the Global Goal on Adaptation (GGA) not as a quantitative goal but as a shared aspiration. GGA will be one of the goals against which the global stocktake (GST) will assess collective progress.

Between COP21 and COP26 there was little concrete progress on the GGA, until Parties decided to establish and launch the Glasgow–Sharm el-Sheikh work programme (GlaSS) to further define the GGA. Through the GlaSS there have been six workshops to date on the GGA, a report from the Adaptation Committee, input from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Working Group II, and other relevant constituted bodies, as well as over 100 Party and Observer submissions. Beyond the technical discussions, the development and agreement of a framework for the GGA at COP28 offers the opportunity to re-elevate adaptation on the global political stage.

The IPCC in its latest report described adaptation action as “[…] fragmented, small in scale, incremental, and […] focused more on planning rather than implementation.” Adaptation finance is a key barrier, with available finance estimated to be less than 10 percent of what is required.

To address this, some countries and stakeholders have explored the potential of adopting a GGA framework that includes a high-level, overarching headline goal that could serve as a north star to guide collective efforts at a larger scale, similar to the 1.5 degree Celsius limit or net-zero objective for mitigation, or the “30 x 30” goal for conservation.

I explore more with my co-author Kaveh Guilanpour of the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions in our latest paper, “Options for a Politically-Salient Headline for the Global Goal on Adaptation.”


Read the original July 2023 version >>
Read the updated November 2023 version >>