Construction of a embankment on the banks of the Mayur River in the town of Khulna in south-western Bangladesh

Climate change and development Adaptation to climate change

Climate change threatens countless people's livelihoods – and this threat will increase further in future. For that reason, the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) is not only funding climate change mitigation measures; it is also supporting its partner countries in adapting to the unavoidable impacts of climate change and, where adaptation is not sufficient, in dealing with climate change-related loss and damage.

Glacier in Iceland
A road in the Caribbean nation of St Lucia was washed away after heavy rain.

Adaptation of lifestyles and economies to the impacts of global warming is enshrined as a key objective in the Paris Agreement (External link) alongside climate change mitigation. However, it is especially the poorest people and countries in particularly vulnerable situations that lack the financial resources and capacities to implement urgently needed changes for better resilience on their own. As a result, climate change is reversing development gains in many parts of the world and thwarting opportunities for development in the future.

Industrialised countries such as Germany have pledged to support climate change adaptation in the developing countries and emerging economies, for example by providing funding or through knowledge and technology transfer.

At international level and through bilateral and regional cooperation, Germany is working to build the resilience of communities, habitats, ecosystems and economies to climate change impacts in order to prevent loss and damage.


BMZ activities

The BMZ is involved in a diverse range of activities:

  • Comprehensive climate risk management: analysing and assessing climate risks, producing climate risk analyses and climate risk profiles for selected countries, developing and implementing appropriate strategies and measures
  • Climate risk protection and preparedness: establishing early warning systems, restructuring existing climate and disaster risk financing into a Global Shield against Climate Risks to provide swift and straightforward access to assistance and financial resources during disasters
  • Strengthening a conducive environment: fostering progress on adaptation planning, building the capacity of public authorities and scientific institutions, integrating knowledge and capital from private sources
  • Food security: creating low-carbon, resilient agricultural and food systems in order to safeguard food availability and access at local, regional and global level
  • Water security: reducing water losses, promoting water reuse and storage, protecting and renewing groundwater resources, developing water use plans
  • Infrastructure: establishing critical infrastructure that can withstand extreme weather events and slow-onset climatic and environmental changes, promoting climate-resilient urban planning
  • Utilising the potential of climate change: adapting agriculture to changing production conditions (for example cultivation of new varieties), developing new regions for tourism, promoting agroecology
  • Biodiversity and ecosystem conservation and protection: providing targeted support for the development and implementation of nature-based solutions (NbS) such as Ecosystem-based Adaptation (EbA) because such solutions contribute to adaptation, mitigation and biodiversity conservation; examples include ecosystems such as mangroves and coral reefs, which provide natural protection against storms and against the consequences of rising sea levels
  • Climate and Development Partnerships: working together with selected partner countries in order to link the goals of climate neutrality, climate resilience, economic development and social justice (green and just transition)
  • Ownership: promoting key initiatives by the developing countries and emerging economies, for example the Vulnerable Twenty (External link) (V20) Group, Africa Adaptation Initiative (External link) (AAI), Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure (External link) (CDRI)
  • Coordinated action: systematically implementing climate change adaptation and mitigation measures together with the EU and other EU members within the framework of a Team Europe Initiative on adaptation and resilience in Africa, and with partners from the Sahel Alliance

Financing the measures

Meeting room of the international donor conference of the Green Climate Fund, hosted by the German government in Berlin on 20 November 2014.

In order to meet the high demand for funding for climate change adaptation, Germany aims to achieve a balance in its climate finance between financing for mitigation and for adaptation.

In 2022, Germany provided about 6.39 billion euros in budget funds (including grant equivalents from KfW development loans) for international climate finance. Most of this funding came from the BMZ (86 per cent in 2022). The amount provided by the BMZ was about 5.38 billion euros. Of this total BMZ climate finance contribution, 2.48 billion was dedicated to adaptation – about 44 per cent.

Solar plant and coal-fired power station in Ulan Bator, Mongolia

Most of this funding directly benefits the partner countries, for example their agriculture, water, and urban and rural development sectors. In addition, Germany is firmly committed to making its contribution to the climate finance targets set out in the Paris Agreement and has announced that it will provide 6 billion euros annually for climate finance by 2025. It managed to achieve this target three years ahead of schedule.

This investment is paying off: the long-term benefits greatly exceed the short-term financial input. Without adaptation strategies, the estimated costs of damage would be two to ten times greater than these investment costs. By contrast, the costs of infrastructure projects that have climate resilience built in from the outset are only 3 per cent higher on average.

Areas of work

Logo: Global Shield against Climate Risks
Wind turbines in South Africa
Road traffic in Berlin, numerous cars driving closely packed on a multi-lane road
Drip irrigation on a field in Ethiopia
Moorland in Europe

As at: 29/09/2023