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GIF launches new climate resilience and adaptation fund

Posted 8th November 2021

A new GIF fund that will invest in innovations that aim to support people living on less than $5 per day to build resilience to the inevitable changes in climate was launched today at the COP26 summit.

The Innovating for Climate Resilience fund, launched in partnership with the Adaptation Research Alliance and the Global Resilience Partnership and with seed funding from the UK’s Foreign, Commonwealth, and Development Office, will invest, through grant, equity, and debt instruments, in innovations with the potential to scale and support the world’s poorest to build resilience and adaptation.

As we face up to global warming advancing much quicker than feared and adapting to a warmer world with higher sea levels becomes the new normal, financing beyond climate change mitigation is urgently needed.

We only have to look to the devastation unfolding before our eyes to see how essential it is to invest in ways to adapt to a changing climate: droughts are causing the water taps in Mexico City to run dry, forcing millions of people to pay significantly more for tanker truck water deliveries; torrential rain has triggered killer landslides in La Paz and Durban; fierce storms and floods have destroyed factories in the developing world that feed global supply chains.

This burden falls most heavily on developing countries, with income and access to public and financial services determining how communities are able to manage the direct and indirect effects of climate change. In 2020, we saw intense storms and flooding trigger three times more displacements than violent conflicts did in the same year. Climate shocks will continue to intensify, and the changes will be even more severe if the Paris Agreement targets are not met.

Investment in the climate resilience and adaptation space suffers from multiple challenges however: a lack of quality data and information, a limited understanding of the needs of affected countries and populations, and a perception that return on investment will be low. This has led to innovators and entrepreneurs focused on climate adaptation and resilience failing to attract the funding they need to test the effectiveness of their innovation. Investments in this space can offer high returns – every dollar invested in adaptation could result in $2 to $10 in net economic benefits. The financing need is staggering but the bulk of funding is devoted to greenhouse gas mitigation and, within that, largely for renewable energy. GIF’s latest sub-fund seeks to tackle this issue.

The challenge of climate adaptation is inextricably linked with GIF’s core mandate: to accelerate innovation that improves the livelihoods of millions of the world’s poorest people. Building on our world class metrics for measuring impact, GIF is seeking innovations focused on climate adaptation and resilience to respond to the challenge of climate change. This next step in GIF’s journey will build on our experience in areas such as social safety nets, migration, women’s agency, behavioural nudges, agriculture, water supply, remote sensing, and harnessing data for decision-making – all of which have a strong part to play in adaptation and resilience.

Alix Zwane, GIF Chief Executive Officer, said: “We know from more than six years of investing for impact the critical role that innovation can play in confronting development challenges and building resilience in communities across the globe. Through the Innovating for Climate Resilience fund, we are excited to work with mission-aligned governments to apply our evidence-based approach at the nexus of innovation and climate change. Our call for innovations is now live — if you are an innovator focused on climate adaptation and resilience in poorer countries with a commitment to the rigorous generation of evidence and impact at scale, we want to hear from you.”

In addition to the launch of the Innovating for Climate Resilience fund, GIF has published a Climate Strategy setting out our proposals to unlock investment and finance in resilience and adaptation, by investing in solutions that can make an outsized difference to the poorest people, and that can be scaled, de-risking them for other investors.

To find out more about the Innovating for Climate Resilience fund and see if you could be a good fit for GIF investment visit the climate section of our website.

Livestream of the Water Pavilion at COP26