New UK funding to boost climate disaster responses

The UK has announced £12 million in new funding to support developing countries to better prepare for and respond to disasters, including those linked to climate change. The funds will go to the Start Network for rapid responses by charities to crises like droughts and floods.

A further £8 million will support the Centre for Disaster Protection to help climate-vulnerable countries deal with crises such as extreme weather caused by climate change and pandemics. This forms part of a wider £48 million package of climate support announced by the Foreign Secretary earlier this year.

Today’s announcement came as the UK’s International Champion on Adaptation and Resilience for the COP26 Presidency, Anne-Marie Trevelyan spoke at a meeting of the Risk-informed Early Action Partnership (REAP), urging the international community to support vulnerable countries to better prepare for and prevent disasters.

The UK’s International Champion on Adaptation and Resilience for the COP26 Presidency, Anne-Marie Trevelyan said:

As climate-related disasters increase in ferocity and frequency we must take action to better prepare for and prevent them, to save lives, protect livelihoods and reduce suffering.

The commitment and ambition demonstrated today, including the UK’s partnership with the Start Fund, is vital for reaching REAP’s goal of making 1 billion people safer from disasters by 2025. As we count down to COP26, I look forward to working together to continue to scale up early action worldwide.

Between 1970 and 2019, almost 80% of disasters worldwide involved weather, climate and water-related hazards. From these disasters, 70% of deaths occurred in developing countries – with droughts and floods the deadliest and most costly events.

The severity and frequency of these events is increasing across the globe as climate change worsens. But with investment, countries can be better prepared for disasters and reduce their impacts.

COP26 President-Designate Alok Sharma said:

The Risk-Informed Early Action Partnership is aiming to make one billion people safer from climate disaster by 2025. Today’s event is important in showing how we need to scale-up and improve early warning and I am pleased the UK Government has announced an additional £12m to support these actions in developing countries to minimise, avert and address loss and damage.

So, whether through new investments, sharing good practice, or placing early action at the heart of plans and policies, we need to work together ahead of COP26 to build a safer, more resilient world.

The £12 million new UK aid funding is focused on taking early action to address humanitarian crises and will help local and frontline responders anticipate and respond swiftly to protect lives and livelihoods.

Through the Start Network, UK funding will support early action initiatives, from improved forecasting for heatwaves in Pakistan to drought in Madagascar, as well as a new global network of hubs facilitating locally-led responses when disasters do strike.

The announcement follows the G7 Foreign and Development Minsters meetings in London last week, where G7 countries committed support to make people safer from climate disasters through early warning, better preparedness and early action, as well as agreed actions to scale up the finance needed to help countries adapt to the impacts of climate change.

In addition to new funding, the UK also announced a package of technical assistance through:

  • A project with REAP to support climate vulnerable countries in implementing laws, policies and procedures to protect from future crisis risks;
  • Closer working between REAP and the UK-established Adaptation Research Alliance to fill gaps in evidence for early action;
  • Sharing UK social protection expertise to help ensure poverty reduction programmes are resilient to climate shocks.

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