In conversation: LDC Chair, Adaptation and Resilience Champion discuss COP26 ambitions

LDC Group Chair Sonam P. Wangdi calls for finance flows to LDCs to rise from US$0.5 billion to US$93 billion per year to meet their climate-related needs. Anne-Marie Trevelyan, UK Adaptation and Resilience Champion for COP26, says she is in listening mode.

The Chair of the Least Developed Country (LDC) Group of Negotiators in the UNFCCC has called for annual climate finance flows to LDCs to rise to $US 93 billion, to meet their needs for adapting to climate change, developing net zero emissions pathways and addressing climate-related loss and damage.

His Excellency Sonam P. Wangdi’s remarks came in a video conversation with the Right Honourable Anne-Marie Trevelyan, the newly-appointed UK International Champion on Adaptation and Resilience for the COP26 Presidency, moderated by Mairi Dupar of CASA and ODI.

H.E. Wangdi’s call for a transformation in climate finance flows to LDCs comes on the cusp of the Climate Adaptation Summit, 25th January 2021, which will be a key milestone for adaptation ambition on the road to COP26.

At present, finance flows to LDCs are only US$ 0.5 billion per year or 0.6% of their true need – according to the LDC Group’s recent assessment.

With the finance they secure, LDCs are committed to “channeling at least 70% of finance to support local climate action by 2030, to reach the most vulnerable communities; and investing in our own institutions and climate capabilities, and improving the governance of climate decisions, centred on social justice and gender-responsiveness,” he stressed.

For her part, Rt. Hon. Ms Trevelyan said that since her recent appointment as Adaptation and Resilience Champion, she was in active listening mode, ready to hear about countries’ priorities. “I want to ensure by COP26, that [adaptation] is truly a shared problem and that together we are finding solutions to be more resilient so we can all thrive in an inclusive and sustainable way,” she assured Mr Wangdi.

 “As the coronavirus crisis has demonstrated, resilience isn’t a developing country problem, it is all of our problem.  All countries must step up to take urgent action now and the UK is putting adaptation and resilience at the heart of its COP26 Presidency,” Ms Trevelyan said.

LDCs are among the boldest and most daring countries in taking ambitious climate action –noted Ms Dupar. Their LDC Vision – launched at UNSG Summit in Sept 2020 – commits to “being on climate resilient pathways by 2030 and to achieving net zero carbon by 2050” even in spite of LDCs’ economic challenges.

Summarising LDCs’ needs, Mr Wangdi said: “our needs are for more financial, technological, and capacity building [support]… in planning , developing, implementing our adaptation plans and other adaptation actions.”

“We are committed to doing more than our fair share in the global effort to halt the climate crisis and to adapt to its impacts,” he said. “But this is a global crisis that demands a rapid and ambitious global response. Cooperation is the only answer.”

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