The Paris Agreement made significant strides towards the prioritisation of adaptation in the global climate regime. The Paris Agreement codified a Global Goal on Adaptation (GGA), including provisions related to communication, reporting, and assessment of progress on adaptation. This goal is being further defined and operationalized in the two-year Glasgow – Sharm el Sheikh work programme, which concludes its work at the end of 2023.
Whilst there are provisions and precedent under the UNFCCC to guide the operationalisation of the GGA, it is important that conceptual convergence is achieved to inform how the work programme unfolds for meaningful outcomes. This is particularly important noting the first global stocktake, which is meant to assess progress towards the GGA, is being undertaken simultaneously.
This OCP/ecbi Discussion Note provides a conceptual analysis, building from existing decisions and agreements, and puts forward two propositions:
- The GGA can be elaborated using risk-based metrics, where the global effort on adaptation is towards reducing risk associated with a changing climate to within ‘acceptable’ levels.
- It further recognises that there are needs and activities associated with the risk reduction effort, particularly planning, implementation of actions, and finance, that are indispensable to achieving the ‘acceptable’ level of risk.
The risk-based metrics can lead to a setting of an overarching goal— Reducing climate impact risk to within levels consistent of a 1.5°C rise in temperature, starting in 2030—, from which Sub Goals can be set for the various adaptation sectors and climate hazards. Similarly, Adaptation Element Targets can be set in respect of needs and activities building on agreed elements of adaptation in Decision 9/CMA.1. The global stocktake can, therefore, assess progress made towards the GGA based on these Goals and Targets.