Synergies between adaptation and mitigation in climate change finance

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As adaptation and mitigation are separated in international and national policies, there is also a division in the financial resources mobilized by the international community to help developing countries deal with climate change. Given that mitigation activities can benefit or hinder adaptation, and vice versa, promoting activities that contribute to both objectives can increase the efficiency of fund allocation and minimize trade-offs, particularly in land-related activities such as agriculture and forestry. Information is missing, however, on how climate funding organizations consider the integration of adaptation and mitigation. We interviewed representatives of climate funds directed toward forestry and agriculture to gain a better understanding of how they perceive the benefits, risks and barriers of an integrated approach, whether they have concrete activities for promoting this approach, and how they foresee the future of adaptation-mitigation integration. Interviews revealed a diverse range of perceived benefits, risks and barriers at local, national and global scales. Most interviewees focused on the local benefits of this integration (for example increasing the resilience of forest carbon projects), whereas others emphasized global risks (for example decreasing global funding efficiency because of project complexity). Despite the general interest in projects and policies integrating adaptation and mitigation, few relevant actions have been implemented by organizations engaged in climate change finance. This paper provides new insight into how the representatives of climate funds perceive and act on the integration of adaptation and mitigation in forestry and agriculture. Our findings can inform the development of procedures for climate change finance, such as the Green Climate Fund. While managers of climate funds face barriers in promoting an integrated approach to adaptation and mitigation, they also have the capacity and the ambition to overcome them.

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