The Adaptation Fund under the Kyoto Protocol has made significant progress over the last months, with the Adaptation Fund Board having worked dedicatedly on the complex issues the members have to deal with. In addition to its innovative features which were constituted already in Bali, the focus on most vulnerable communities as well as the very transparent work process are remarkable developments. Nevertheless, the Fund also suffers from its scarce resource base, which e.g. makes it difficult to support programmatic approaches in a larger number of developing countries. It is the time to place the Adaptation Fund – or at least its rules and basic provisions - more at the heart of the institutional debate under and outside UNFCCC, since its key features set precedents for the desired institutional criteria also in other funding purposes than adaptation. It even resembles many of the proposals for the financial mechanism as outlined by the US government, the recent joint proposal by the governments of UK, Mexico, Norway and Australia, and also by the G77 and China. But giving the Fund a stronger future role faces political and legal (which are also political) difficulties which are in particular linked to the fact that the US are not a Party to the Kyoto Protocol. These can be overcome if the political will emerges, but may result in certain changes in the key features of the Fund which have to be weighed off against the potential benefits of a much stronger role.
A Copenhagen outcome should be based on this foundation and seek to strengthen the role of the Adaptation Fund, both through a strong and public support for the work of the AFB as well as a concrete amount of resources that would flow into the Fund as fast-track finance, but also through agreement on reliable finance mechanisms beyond 2013.