The COVID-19 pandemic had claimed well over two million lives at the time of writing. Countless millions of livelihoods have also been put on hold or permanently destroyed. For the first time since 1990, we have seen an increase in the number of people living in extreme poverty, amplifying already high levels of inequality. Despite many scientific warnings and earlier disease outbreaks, the level of preparedness for the pandemic was inadequate. This is a wake-up call to governments and others in positions of power on the urgent need to act also on the increasingly well-understood risks associated with climate change. The growing number of countries committing to net-zero emission targets by mid-century is encouraging. Even if achieved, these targets must be complemented by a focus on strengthened societal and economic resilience to the impacts of climate change that will occur, also if the global average temperature increase is limited to the goal of the Paris Agreement.

The Paris Agreement therefore encourages countries to formulate National Adaptation Plans but the share of countries that have made such submissions remains low. The Global Adaptation Summit, held at the start of the year, illustrated that climate adaptation action by state and non-state actors is both diverse and accelerating. Complemented by the increasing emphasis placed on adaptation and resilience in the context of the climate negotiations and other international processes, there is reason for optimism. But political intention must translate into action and support for that action.

Strengthening Climate Resilience aims to support governments of developing countries and providers of development co-operation in strengthening the resilience of human and natural systems to the impacts of climate change. It highlights three overall considerations to help ensure planning and implementation of actions to enhance climate resilience also support broader sustainable development objectives. It further outlines four mechanisms that can facilitate a focus on climate resilience in national, sub-national and sectoral policy processes, and three key enablers for strengthening climate resilience.

This guidance highlights actions to be considered by different stakeholders across levels of governance. It emphasises the importance of country ownership and leadership while recognising the role of development co-operation in supporting partner countries in taking climate action. To succeed and be sustainable, such support must be guided by the priorities and development pathways of partner countries.

We must learn from the COVID-19 pandemic and ensure that when it comes to climate change we will not look back and say that we failed to prepare for what was a well-known risk. As governments navigate their response and recovery from this compound health, economic and societal crisis, they must have an ambitious focus on enhancing resilience in line with the scale of the climate challenges we now face.



Jorge Moreira da Silva


Development Co-operation Directorate



Rodolfo Lacy


Environment Directorate

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