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More funds are needed for climate change adaptation in transboundary basins

Effectively adapting water management to climate change will require the allocation of additional funds for transboundary and regional projects, or at least considering transboundary aspects in national projects, where relevant. With more than 60% of all freshwater courses worldwide and the majority of aquifers being transboundary, cooperation between riparian States is key to prevent maladaptation and increase the overall effectiveness of adaptation. These were some of the main messages of the sixth workshop on adaptation to climate change in transboundary basins organized by UNECE, World Bank, the International Network of Basin Organizations (INBO) and other partners in Geneva on 13 and 14 September 2016.

Speaking at the opening session, UNECE Executive Secretary Christian Friis Bach recalled that, according to OECD, only about 7% of the globally mobilized climate finance in 2014 – USD 61.8 billion – was spent on adaptation. In addition, the workshop showed that there is a lack of bankable projects and that many struggle to access the available funds.

The workshop brought together about 100 participants from Europe, Asia, Africa and the Americas, representing governments, non-governmental and basin organizations, donor community and international financing institutions. Through various thematic sessions, interactive exercises and a market place of funding mechanisms, participants learned where to look for funding, including through such mechanisms as the Green Climate Fund; how to better prepare their project proposals; how to mainstream basin-wide adaptation in strategies and policies; and how to integrate climate change uncertainty in investment projects. Experts also discussed innovative climate finance tools such as Green Bonds.

During a session, panelists from the World Bank, the European Investment Bank, the African Development Bank and the United Nations Development Program exchanged views and ideas with the audience on the ways to overcome barriers to access financing. Discussions focused on the lack of capacity to produce bankable projects, the absence of replicable business models and the additional challenges of preparing project proposals in a transboundary context.

Finally, underlining the need to transition from the Paris Agreement to action ahead of the COP-22 in Marrakesh, the participants agreed to promote the transboundary dimension of adaptation to climate change in their countries and in international climate and water fora.

For more information, please contact Alisher Mamadzhanov (alisher.mamadzhanov@unece.org), or Sonja Koeppel (sonja.koeppel@unece.org).