in: Caroline Schaer / Natasha Kuruppu (eds.), Private-sector action in adaptation: perspectives on the role of micro, small and medium size enterprises, Copenhagen: UNEP DTU, 98-109
SMEs are of overwhelming importance for developing countries’ economies and labour markets. In the context of the great need for climate change adaptation and the ‘adaptation finance gap’ between the costs of adaptation and the level of international support provided to developing countries, this chapter analyses the potential of multistakeholder partnerships as a vehicle for SME engagement in adaptation. Recent years have shown a stark increase in such partnerships as a way of addressing climate change. In this chapter, we analyse them with respect to the Lima Paris Action Agenda (LPAA), Momentum for Change, and the Non-State Actor Zone for Climate Action (NAZCA), as well as business cases under the Private Sector Initiative, drawing on both academic and non-academic publications. Our analysis shows that so far, the initiatives on such platforms have focused predominantly on mitigation and that participation by SMEs in adaptation partnerships is low. This may indicate that partnerships’ adaptation activities are not embedded in the local economy and institutions and are not necessarily benefitting SMEs and other local stakeholders. Part of this problem may be caused by the ‘adaptation paradox’. Mobilizing partnerships has occurred systematically in the high-level and global political contexts of summits and UN climate negotiations, whereas vulnerability is experienced locally, and adaptation needs to be implemented locally. SMEs could, however, become an intermediary between the global level and local communities. For this to happen, donor countries should facilitate the participation of SMEs in localized partnership processes, stimulate access to (financial) resources, enhance local knowledge and raise awareness of adaptation.