Skip to main content

New report updates the finance gap on climate adaptation

Each year, the United Nations’ Adaptation Gap Report provides a timely snapshot of progress in planning, financing and implementing action ahead of the global Conference of the Parties (COP) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. In the 2023 edition, released ahead of the 28th COP in the United Arab Emirates, IDRC-funded work contributed to a vital update on the size and nature of the gap between the needs of developing countries and international finance flows.
A woman farmer stands with her arms crossed, with a field and a few bags of harvested crops in the background.
Petterik Wiggers / Panos Pictures

The updated costs of adaptation for developing countries are estimated to be in a range of USD215 billion (CAD296 billion) to USD387 billion (CAD533 billion) per year this decade. These estimated needs are 10 to 18 times greater than the amount of international public finance currently available.  

Research supported by the Climate Adaptation and Resilience (CLARE) initiative contributed to the report’s fourth chapter where these numbers are presented. The researchers drew on two lines of evidence to revise the estimates: costing models for adaptation and an analysis of the climate action plans communicated in nationally determined contributions (NDCs) under the Paris Agreement on climate change. 

The researchers also share in Chapter 4 new findings on how NDCs plan to address gender equality and social inclusion. Only one in five national climate plans contain costed activities that seek to address the gender and social inequalities related to adaptation, allocating just over 2% of overall costs to these priorities. 

The adaptation finance gap remains critical. Without sufficient investment, countries will face even more costly losses and damages due to the impacts of a changing climate. The report identifies different approaches to bridging the finance gap, including by mobilizing private investment and bringing companies and impact investors together to raise funds and identify adaptation solutions.  

A case study linked to the flagship UNEP report features the work of IDRC research partners in unlocking private financing by identifying investor-ready projects led by small and medium enterprises in sub-Saharan Africa. The pilot generated CAD2.7 million in financing. 

Read The Adaptation Gap Report 2023 and associated materials.  

Learn more about CLARE