The draft ‘global goal on adaptation’ put out by the COP28 Presidency—UAE—today, calls for ensuring that climate-related impacts on infrastructure and human settlement are halved by 2030 and eliminated by 2040. This, against the backdrop of the agonies of the recent Chennai floods, is a significant move for India and other developing countries.  

Adaptation refers to measures, such as building storm water drains, which help cope up with bad climate events that have already become inevitable. This contrasts with ‘mitigation’, which are measures to prevent further global warming. 

The ‘Framework for the global goal on adaptation’, which is expected to be finalised and adopted in this Conference of Parties (COP), marks the conclusion of a two-year preparatory work programme initiated in COP26, Glasgow. 

The draft “encourages” all countries to “increase political ambition and enhance adaptation action and support” in areas, such as reducing climate-induced water scarcity, attaining climate-resilient food and agricultural production, strengthening resilience against climate-related health impacts, reducing climate impacts on ecosystems, increasing resilience of infrastructure and human settlements, reducing poverty and livelihood vulnerability and protecting cultural heritage from the impacts of climate-related events. 

Towards this, the framework calls upon countries to put in place by 2025 “up-to-date assessments of climate hazards, climate change impacts and exposure to risks”, and using these assessments, establish by 2027, “multi-hazard early warning systems.” By 2030, all countries must have “progressed in the implementation of their national adaptation plans.” 

On the sticky subject of ‘finance’, the draft only “notes with concern” that the adaptation finance gap is widening and calls upon developed countries to “at least double their collective provision of climate finance for adaptation to developing country Parties from 2019 levels by 2025.” 

The draft also speaks of a decision to launch a two-year work programme on indicators for measuring progress achieved towards the targets.