Group urges climate adaptation funding in pandemic recovery

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Wind turbines are seen on a dike near Urk, Netherlands, Friday, Jan. 22, 2021. A group of scientists, including five Nobel laureates, called Friday for more action to adapt the world to the effects of climate change, drawing comparisons with the faltering response to the coronavirus crisis, ahead of a major online conference on climate adaptation starting Monday and hosted by the Netherlands. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong)

THE HAGUE – An organization that promotes efforts to adapt the environment to cope with the effects of climate change is calling on governments and financers around the globe to include funding for adaptation projects in their COVID-19 recovery spending.

The appeal was published Friday in a report issued by the Netherlands-based Global Center on Adaptation before an online summit starting Monday that will launch an agenda for boosting the planet's resilience.

“As governments begin spending trillions of dollars to recover from the pandemic, the world has a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to build a more resilient, climate-smart future by integrating climate adaptation into their response and recovery plans,” the center said in its report.

A group of more than 3,000 scientists from 130 countries also released a statement Friday before the summit linking investment in the environment with pandemic recovery plans.

“The twin threats of COVID-19 and climate change are, above all, caused by human actions. We must do everything in our power to ensure our response to both is coordinated and becomes a watershed moment for investment in a more sustainable world," the scientists wrote.

Former U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in a briefing ahead of the summit that the two-day event hosted by the Netherlands “couldn't be more timely.”

He said that as the world tackles the pandemic that has killed more than 2 million people and slammed the brakes on economies worldwide, “this summit represents an opportunity to reflect on how the countries and communities around the world can recover better, recover stronger and recover together from this crisis.”

The summit will include online contributions from world leaders, current U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund Kristalina Georgieva and philanthropist Bill Gates.