Global leaders commit to help Africa adapt to climate change impacts

  • Apr 08, 2021
  • Engineering News

African heads of State and other global leaders have made a commitment to prioritise actions that help African countries adapt to the impacts of climate change through the Africa Adaptation Acceleration Programme.

The objective of the programme is to mobilise $25-billion to accelerate climate change adaptation actions across Africa, development finance institution the African Development Bank (AfDB) says.

Global Centre on Adaptation chairperson and former United Nations (UN) Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon states that the Covid-19 pandemic is eroding recent progress in building climate resilience, leaving countries and communities more vulnerable to future shocks.

Africa must make up for lost ground and lost time. Climate change did not stop because of Covid-19, and neither should the urgent task of preparing humanity to live with the multiple effects of a warming planet, he says.

The heads of State and global leaders committed to the Africa Adaptation Acceleration Programme during a virtual dialogue hosted by the AfDB, the Global Centre on Adaptation and the African Union-led Africa Adaptation Initiative on April 7.

“With our partners, we intend to mobilise $25-billion in financing for the success of the Africa Adaptation Acceleration Programme. It is time for developed countries to meet their promise of providing $100-billion annually for climate finance, and a greater share of this should go to climate adaptation,” AfDB president Dr Akinwumi Adesina says.

“More than $20-trillion have gone into Covid-19 stimulus packages in developed countries. The International Monetary Fund’s plan to issue $650-billion of new Special Drawing Rights to boost global reserves and liquidity will be enormously helpful to support green growth and climate financing for economic recovery. I applaud the leadership of the US government, and US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen especially, on this big push,” he notes.

“Universal access to energy in Africa, a priority in the coming years, could be provided primarily through renewable energy. I call for a comprehensive package of support to meet the dual objectives by the Conference of the Parties (COP) 26 [to be held in Glasgow, UK, in November]. It is achievable, it is necessary, it is overdue and it is smart,” UN Secretary-General António Guterres says.

“The Africa Adaptation Acceleration Programme, and many other ambitious African initiatives, must be empowered to fully deliver on their goals.”

Democratic Republic of Congo President and African Union chairpersonn Félix Tshisekedi invited his fellow leaders to revisit climate ambitions and accelerate the implementation of actions planned under national priorities.

“To do this, we will need to focus on actions to adapt to the impacts of climate change. These include nature-based solutions, the energy transition, an enhanced transparency framework, technology transfer and climate finance.”

The Africa Adaptation Acceleration Programme is built to address the impacts of Covid-19, climate change and the continent’s worst recession in 25 years, which is why the show of support for the financing of African adaptation is significant, the AfDB notes.

Yellen says the US remains a committed development partner for Africa and a huge supporter of the AfDB.

“We support the programme to help ensure that, together, we can avoid the worst effects of climate change,” she adds.

The programme revolves around several key initiatives, including climate-smart digital technologies for agriculture and food security, which aims to scale up access to climate-smart digital technologies for at least 30-million farmers in Africa.

Additionally, the African Infrastructure Resilience Accelerator will scale up investment for climate-resilient urban and rural infrastructure in key sectors. These include water, transport, energy and waste management for a circular economy.

Further, the Empowering Youth for Entrepreneurship and Job Creation in Climate Resilience initiative will provide one-million youths with skills for climate adaptation and support 10 000 small and medium-sized youth-led businesses to create green jobs.

Meanwhile, Innovative Financial Initiatives for Africa will help close adaptation finance gaps, enhance access to existing finance and mobilise new public and private sector investment.