From adaptation to climate-resilient development: the costs of climate-proofing the Millennium Development Goals in Africa


Socio-economic development and adaptation to climate change are closely intertwined. Adaptation is increasingly described as climate resilient development or development under a hostile climate. In support of this view, this paper calculates the combined cost of meeting and at the same time “climate-proofing” the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) for Africa. Treating adaptation and development in such an integrated way helps to better understand financing requirements analytically and, more importantly, to implement the requisite measures more effectively as part of an integrated development program. We find that the external financing needed for “climate resilient” MDGs is about forty percent higher than the external financing for the MDGs alone – around $100 billion a year for the next decade, compared with $72 billions a year for the MDGs alone. This estimate is indicative only and based on fairly cursory aggregate cost data. A clear challenge going forward is to apply the integrated adaptation and development frameworks in the form of concrete development plans at the country level.

Samuel Fankhauser and Guido Schmidt-Traub