in: Climate Policy 15 (5),
International political debates increasingly stress the importance of private climate finance. Knowledge of private engagement in mitigating climate change and in more advanced economies is growing, but the evidence base for private sector engagement in climate change adaptation in developing countries remains weak. This paper conceptualises and scrutinizes private sector engagement in adaptation and adaptation finance in developing countries. Based on a case study on the agricultural sector in Zambia, it concludes that the domestic private sector in particular can contribute substantially to adaptation in direct and indirect ways, and that domestic policies incentivize such contributions. However, international private financing of adaptation is more limited and its analysis requires a stricter interpretation of adaptation. Private sector engagement in adaptation and adaptation finance can supplement, but not substitute, public investments in adaptation. These limitations are particularly important when discussing private adaptation finance as part of the developed countries’ pledge to mobilize USD 100 billion of climate finance per annum from 2020 onwards.