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Global Commission on Adaptation Report Calls Nature the First Line of Defense in Climate Crisis

"Without bolstering the natural systems on which the world depends, we face an unfathomable future."

Washington, DC (11 September 2019) — WWF-US today welcomed a new report that says nature must be our first line of defense to adapt to the climate crisis.

The report was released today by the Global Commission on Adaptation (GCA). It shows how nature offers solutions to mitigate the impacts of rising sea levels, floods, droughts, and heat waves. The GCA is led by Ban Ki-Moon and co-chaired by Bill Gates and Kristalina Georgieva.

Manuel Pulgar-Vidal, leader of WWF's global climate and energy practice, said the world is not on track to adapt to the climate crisis, and the most vulnerable communities are bearing the brunt of the consequences. "Through immediate adaptation action, the world can continue to make progress on social, economic and environmental goals while avoiding the costs of anticipated losses. But without bolstering the natural systems on which the world depends, we face an unfathomable future," he said.

Deploying nature-based solutions to help the world adapt to the climate crisis must become a clarion call for world leaders at the Climate Action Summit in New York on 23 September, Pulgar-Vidal said.

Shaun Martin, senior director of the WWF-US climate change adaptation and resilience program said the report illustrates how essential it is for GCA to establish a robust nature-related action track in its work moving forward. "The nature-based solutions action track merits the highest political support from the Commission, as well as the backing of an increasing number of country champions and financial flows commensurate with the challenge" he said.

As we adapt food production systems, water management, infrastructure and cities to respond to the climate crisis, it is imperative that we avoid further degrading the natural environment. "And if we are to rely on nature to provide adaptation and mitigation benefits for people, it is critical that we help nature itself adapt to the changing climate. For this reason, we invite the GCA to also adopt a principle of addressing climate risks to nature," Martin said.

"The GCA must recognize the value of nature wherever possible and help ensure nature-based solutions will be robust under a changing climate. Nature also helps store carbon and provides valuable services that support livelihoods underpin our economies." he said.

Notes to Editors:

  1. For WWF, nature-based solutions for climate change are those that intentionally utilize nature to deliver tangible and traceable climate adaptation and/or mitigation benefits and that also have direct positive implications for human development.
  2. WWF's 5 principles for good nature-based solutions are: (i) must contribute to climate ambition, (ii) are synergistic, (iii) are co-designed with local stakeholders, (iv) are scalable or replicable and (v) traceable.
  • Mangrove with roots underwater