Joint Statement: World Governments Must Commit to Providing Significant Funds for Climate Change Adaptation

Ministers Meeting at Global Climate Talks in Warsaw Should Heed the Lessons of Past Disasters

Warsaw, Poland | November 20, 2013

The following joint statement on the need for increased public adaptation financing was released today by The Nature Conservancy, International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), BirdLife International and Wetlands International, at the United Nations global climate change conference now underway in Warsaw, Poland.


As high level government officials gather in Warsaw this week to discuss climate finance as part of global climate talks, the need to gather momentum for adaptation finance from public sources is high on the agenda.

While the world must do more to curb the emission of greenhouse gases, it must also do more, today, on adaptation. The most recent report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change emphasized that many impacts of climate change will persist for centuries, even if emissions of CO2 are stopped today.

Funding for adaptation has been minimal, despite the pledge by developed nations in 2009 to “provide new and additional resources … approaching $30 billion for the period 2010–2012, with balanced allocation between adaptation and mitigation.” So far this “balanced allocation” is far from being achieved. Current public commitments to climate change finance have been dedicated in large parts to reducing emissions of greenhouse gases. A number of studies indicate that less than 20% of climate aid currently goes to adaptation.

And yet the need for financing to help nations vulnerable to climate risks is far from being met and is expected to grow. As a rapidly changing climate continues to disrupt human lives, community safety and economic productivity, the need for action to help people cope while keeping natural systems resilient will only become more pressing.

“Investments in adaptation are urgently needed today to lessen impacts in the future” said Edward Perry, Climate Change Policy Officer at BirdLife International. ‘‘It is clear that vulnerable people and the ecosystems upon which they depend are already suffering the effects of climate change – dramatically scaling up finance to support the development and implementation of robust national adaptation planning is critical.”

Calls for addressing loss and damage associated with climate change have been a focus during this latest round of climate talks. “Action to address loss and damage from climate change should advance risk reduction and increase resilience as a priority. It’s therefore vital to not lose sight of the urgent need for more investment in adaptation,” said Imen Meliane, Director of International Adaptation Policy at The Nature Conservancy. “It’s important to apply the lessons learned from the disaster community, which was previously focused on disaster relief and recovery, but increasingly recognizes the importance of investing in preventive action - because it pays to do so.”

“Disaster risk reduction strategies are indeed beginning to gain traction with finance ministries as growing economic evidence demonstrates that investments in prevention have a real return on investment,” said Meliane. “We know from the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction that an investment of $1 dollar in prevention can avert about $10 in losses.”

“In order to effectively address the impacts of climate change, it is clear the Climate Convention needs to take a balanced approach to allocating resources between adaptation and mitigation, and this translates into an urgent need for significant increases in adaptation funding,” said Edmund Barrow, Head, Global Ecosystem Management Programme of IUCN. “These efforts should also be well coordinated with humanitarian and disaster response and planning efforts.”


About The Nature Conservancy
The Nature Conservancy is a leading conservation organization working around the world to protect ecologically important lands and waters for nature and people. To date, the Conservancy and its more than one million members have been responsible for the protection of more than 18 million acres in the United States and have helped preserve more than 117 million acres in Latin America, the Caribbean, Asia and the Pacific. Visit The Nature Conservancy on the Web at

About IUCN
IUCN, International Union for Conservation of Nature, helps the world find pragmatic solutions to our most pressing environment and development challenges. IUCN supports scientific research, manages field projects all over the world, and brings governments, NGOs, the UN and companies together to develop policy, laws and best practice. IUCN is the world’s oldest and largest global environmental organization, with more than 1,000 government and NGO members and almost 11,000 volunteer experts in some 160 countries. IUCN’s work is supported by over 1,000 staff in 60 offices and hundreds of partners in public, NGO and private sectors around the world.; IUCN on Facebook; IUCN on Twitter

About Birdlife International
BirdLife International is the world’s largest nature conservation Partnership. Together we are 122 BirdLife Partners worldwide – one per country – and growing. We are driven by our belief that local people, working for nature in their own places but connected nationally and internationally through our global Partnership, are the key to sustaining all life on this planet. This unique local-to-global approach delivers high impact and long-term conservation for the benefit of nature and people.

About Wetlands International
Wetlands International is the only global not-for-profit organisation dedicated to the conservation and restoration of wetlands. We are deeply concerned about the loss and deterioration of wetlands such as lakes, marshes and rivers. Our vision is a world where wetlands are treasured and nurtured for their beauty, the life they support and the resources they provide. A network organization, working locally and globally, our head office is based in the Netherlands. We have eighteen offices around the world; these often independent entities share the Global Strategy. We work at the field level to develop and mobilise knowledge, and use this practical experience to advocate for better policies. 

The Nature Conservancy is a leading conservation organization working around the world to conserve the lands and waters on which all life depends. Visit The Nature Conservancy on the web at To learn about the Conservancy’s global initiatives, visit To keep up with current Conservancy news, follow @nature_press on Twitter.

Contact information

Geraldine Henrich-Koenis
The Nature Conservancy

Borjana Pervan

Edward Perry
BirdLife International
+44 (0)1223 277 318

Ytha Kempkes
Wetlands International
+31 (0)318 660933


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