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making science work for climate adaptation

The sixth edition of the UNEP Adaptation Gap Report: The Gathering Storm finds that the growth in climate impacts is far outpacing our efforts to adapt to them.

The report provides an update on the global status and progress of the adaptation process across planning, financing, and implementation. In addition, the report assesses overall adaptation results using a forward-looking approach and takes a thematic deep dive into the COVID-19 implications for adaptation progress.

New evidence suggests that the 1.5°C aspirational target of the Paris Agreement will likely be missed while some climate impacts are already irreversible, highlighting the urgent need to adapt. Also, adaptation planning and implementation may need to consider, and prepare for more intense impacts and risks than those already observed. 

Adaptation can significantly reduce loss and damage, particularly when climate impacts accelerate. Overall, progress in national-level adaptation planning, finance and implementation worldwide continues to grow and may be partially accelerating, but further ambition is needed, particularly for finance and implementation, which is critical to prevent existing gaps widening.

The limited data on the effectiveness of adaptation activities for reducing climate risk, combined with the escalating impacts documented in the most recent IPCC assessment report, implies that current implementation rates of adaptation may not keep pace with increasing levels of climate change. 

COVID-19 recovery stimulus packages present a window of opportunity for green and resilient recoveries, but these opportunities are not currently being realized. It is critical that governments seize this opportunity to identify and prioritize interventions that achieve both economic growth and climate change resilience through a green recovery. 

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