BALI, Indonesia, Dec. 11 (Xinhua) -- A UN report has said that 86 billion U.S. dollars are needed every year to halt drift towards "adaptation apartheid, according to a statement released here on Tuesday by authors of the independent Human Development Report (HDR) commissioned by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP).
The 2007/2008 HDR report, titled Fighting climate change: Human solidarity in a divided world, highlighted large disparities in adaptation financing. It warned that the world was drifting towards "adaptation apartheid", with rich countries investing heavily in climate infrastructure and the world's poor being left to "sink or swim" with their own resources.
The statement accused developed countries of leaving the world's poor to "sink or swim" with their own resources and warn that inequalities in capacity to deal with climate change will fuel wider global inequalities. Speaking in Bali, a resort island of Indonesia, on Tuesday, lead author of the report, Kevin Watkins called for a "step-increase" in financing for adaptation. He said that an annual financing commitment of 86 billion U.S. dollars is needed per year by 2015.
"The headline numbers are large, but so are the human costs of climate change," commented Watkins, adding that: "The world's poor are not responsible for global warming. Having created the climate crisis developed countries must face up to their responsibilities, including the responsibility to protect the potential victims."
Under the proposals set out in the report, the 86 billion dollars would be divided between spending on social protection and environmental investments, with supplementary financing for humanitarian responses to extreme climate events. Current spending under multilateral financing mechanisms for adaptation has amounted to less than 26 billion dollars in the past two years - less than one week's worth of UK food defense spending.
The figure tells its own story. The international adaptation effort suffers from chronic under financing, which reflects the low priority attached to the issue," said Watkins.
Meanwhile, U.N. Under-Secretary General and Associate Administrator of UNDP Ad Melkert highlighted inequality in adaptation. He said: "We simply can't leave some of the world's poorest people in regions like the Mekong and Ganges deltas to ' adapt' with their own resources. Recoganizing this inequality and putting it right must be at the heart of the decisions taken here in Bali and beyond."
The authors of the U.N. report have called on rich country governments to put adaptation to climate change at the center of the high-level political negotiations in Bali this week, where the UN climate change conference, which kicked off on Dec. 3, has entered its second decisive week.
The two-week conference, which will end on Friday, is tasked with drawing up a "roadmap" for negotiations on a new climate deal in the next two years before the current phase of the 1997 Kyoto Protocol expires in 2012.
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