Leaders from around the world are meeting virtually on Monday for the first summit devoted to strengthening the planet’s resistance to face the effects of climate change.
These leaders, including French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, will participate by videoconference in the summit on adaptation to climate change, organized by the Netherlands.
The meeting, in which UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and his predecessor Ban Ki-moon will also speak, plans to adopt an “adaptation action program” to deal with impacts such as rising levels of sea, extreme weather conditions and poor harvests.
“This year 2021 will have several crucial moments in which the leaders and peoples of the world will truly show their strong commitment. We have done practically nothing on adaptation” so far, Ban Ki-moon told reporters last week.
The summit will be held almost entirely virtually due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte declared that his country, of which a third of the territory is below sea level, has centuries of experience in protecting the land against water and that he hopes to share it with others.
“If we don’t learn to manage the consequences, if we can’t adapt, the impact will be disastrous,” he said in a video address. “Together with numerous leaders of the planet, I am going to launch a detailed adaptation action program.”
– Walls and opportunities –
Boris Johnson has for his part to launch an international initiative called “Adaptation Action Coalition” that aims to associate the United Kingdom, Egypt, Bangladesh, Malawi, the Netherlands, Saint Lucia and the United Nations.
This coalition will work to “translate international political commitments” on adaptation and resilience to climate change into “support on the ground for vulnerable communities,” according to Downing Street.
In a statement, the prime minister’s office specified that Boris Johnson will assure at the summit that “it is undeniable that climate change is a reality and that it devastates lives and economies. We have to adapt to the change in our climate and we must do so now.”
This summit is the first to focus on the effects of climate change, according to the organizers. The precedents were devoted mainly to the fight against the causes of the phenomenon, in particular emissions.
It is primarily about reducing countries’ vulnerability to rising sea levels, extreme weather conditions and food shortages.
The program could include reinforcing dikes at sea, but also how to take advantage of new opportunities such as longer growing seasons and the emergence of new growing areas, according to organizers.
“The summit will also focus on obtaining new investment, to ensure that thousands of small farmers can adapt to the pressures generated by the climate in food production,” explains the UN on its website.
“Summit organizers have called for significant new funding for agricultural research, as well as increased access to advisory services for farmers and risk management and financing services,” he says.
dk-amo / ybl / ces / roc / af / mar