As the climate changes, seemingly small increases in average global temperatures are already transforming the lives of millions of people worldwide, from South America to Africa, Asia to tiny Pacific islands. In some regions, the productivity of once-fertile lands has diminished due to scarce water resources. In others, increased flooding and rising sea levels threaten human health, habitats, and livelihoods. A report by the Global Humanitarian Forum in 2009 estimated that climate-related disasters affect about 240 million people each year, a figure that could rise to 375 million by 2015.

Despite having contributed the least to the problem of global warming, the most vulnerable communities in the world are often hardest hit by devastating weather events, desertification, rising sea levels, and other disasters related to climate change. The intensification of these and other catastrophes has exacerbated already-pressing problems of unreliable food and fresh water supplies, and environmental threats to human health. Helping these ccommunities strengthen their resilience to climate change is an increasing challenge for the international community.

In 2007, 187 countries emphasized the need for adaptation by finalizing the establishment of the Adaptation Fund under the Bali Action Plan of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The Fund finances projects that help developing countries adapt to the adverse effects of climate change, and is one of the only funds in the world specifically dedicated to climate adaptation. Since 2010, the Fund has approved $330 million for a total of 57 adaptation initiatives around the world.

  • See our Infographic for a quick glance at our activities.
  • See our Overview for more information.

An Adaptation Fund project in Senegal is an example of how communities are responding to climate change:

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) defines adaptation as “adjustment in natural or human systems in response to actual or expected climatic stimuli or their effects, which moderates harm or exploits beneficial opportunities.” The IPCC further distinguishes between different types of adaptation: anticipatory vs. reactive, private vs. public, and autonomous vs. planned.

  • Anticipatory adaptation takes place before impacts of climate change are observed
  • Autonomous adaptation does not constitute a conscious response to climatic stimuli but is triggered by ecological changes in natural systems and by market or welfare changes in human systems.
  • Planned adaptation is the result of a deliberate policy decision, based on an awareness that conditions have changed or are about to change and that action is required to return to, maintain, or achieve a desired state. 

The Adaptation Fund finances climate change adaptation and resilience activities in developing countries that are vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change and are Parties to the Kyoto Protocol. All funding applicants must submit project proposals through a National Implementing Entity, a Regional Implementing Entity, or a Multilateral Implementing Entity. Proposals also require endorsement by the Designated Authorities of the country in which the proposed activities would take place.

See our infographic to learn more about our activities in a visual way and check out page about direct access, a financing modality that the Adaptation Fund pioneered. And our Readiness page will tell you all about our efforts to help build capacity for climate finance. Please also view a list of adaptation projects approved for funding all around the world.

The Adaptation Fund Board meets three times a year. The meetings generally take place in Bonn, Germany unless the Board decides to convene in conjunction with meetings of the parties to the Kyoto Protocol (CMP) or the subsidiary bodies of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

The Adaptation Fund is not based in any one location.  The World Bank provides trustee services to the Adaptation Fund Board, on an interim basis. To contact the Fund, click here. An intersessional decision (Decision B.7-8/1) was passed to accept the offer by Germany to confer legal capacity, and to host, the Adaptation Fund Board.

Yes, the members and alternates shall each serve for a term of two calendar years and shall be eligible to serve a maximum of two consecutive terms. The terms as members do not count towards the terms as alternate members and vice-versa (1/CMP.4).

The secretariat receives proposals for projects and applications for accreditation of implementing entities on a rolling basis. The Accreditation Panel reviews all complete accreditation applications. The Adaptation Fund Board decides whether to approve project proposals and applications at its meetings. To be considered at a Board meeting, all required proposal documents must arrive at the secretariat about two months before that meeting.

The Fund is financed in part by government and private donors, and also from a two percent share of proceeds of Certified Emission Reductions (CERs) issued under the Protocol’s Clean Development Mechanism projects.

Please see the Certified Emission Reduction Units (CERs) document for projects of the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM). The Fund can also accept other sources of funding, including those from sovereign governments, foundations, non-governmental organizations, private corporations and individuals. For more information, please see the Adaptation Fund Trust Fund Guidelines for Accepting Unsolicited Donations.

The Board is composed of 16 members and 16 alternates representing Parties to the Kyoto Protocol. A majority of members–about 69 percent–represent developing countries:

(a) Two representatives from each of the five United Nations regional groups;
(b) One representative of the small island developing States;
(c) One representative of the least developed country Parties;
(d) Two other representatives from the Parties included in Annex I to the Convention (Annex I Parties);
(e) Two other representatives from the Parties not included in Annex I to the Convention (non-Annex I Parties).

An alternate is elected for each representative.

The Adaptation Fund is pioneering fully operational direct access to climate financing.

Through direct access, national and regional entities are able to directly access financing and manage all aspects of climate adaptation and resilience projects, from design through implementation to monitoring and evaluation.

Visit our Direct Access page to learn more about this innovative funding approach.

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