Adaptation and development finance: Past, present and future

Authors: T. Louise Brennan*, The Climate & Atmospheric Sciences Institute (CASI)
Topics: Economic Geography, Development, Anthropocene
Keywords: climate change, adaptation, climate finance, development finance, economic geography
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/5/2019
Start / End Time: 3:05 PM / 4:45 PM
Room: Capitol Room, Omni, East
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


There has been significant scholarship on the relationship between climate change adaptation and sustainable development, particularly as it relates to strategy and planning, finance, and practice. However, given the apparent relationship and calls for greater coordination, little attention has been paid to comparisons between how the two fields are financed. There is a need for a systematic analysis of the similarities and differences between the financing arrangements for development and adaptation, and for the newer field of adaptation finance to learn from the lessons provided by development finance.

This paper draws from existing literature to explore the evolving relationship between development finance and adaptation finance. Specifically, it examines (i) the origin and purpose of each field, (ii) the main institutions and governance mechanisms of each field, with special attention given to the private sector, and (iii) the tools of the private sector, such as social finance and social enterprise, in both development and adaptation finance. Section (iv) contemplates the questions of whether the fields should be better integrated and, if so, how. The paper concludes with a call to re-imagine the role of finance in achieving systemic, transformative, and empowering change.

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