Africa needs more funding for adaptation

07/12/2015
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More finance, capacity building for communities and institutions and use of technology are vital to making Africa adapt to climate change.

Speakers during a side event entitled “Climate Change Adaptation Funding in Africa: Experience from the Least Developed Countries Fund (LDCF) and Special Climate Change Fund (SCCF) and African Development Bank (AfDB)” expressed the need for more money for adaptation and resilience-building since Africa bears the brunt of climate change.

The discussion, which took place at the Africa Pavilion at COP21 climate meeting in Paris on Saturday and was moderated by the AfDB’s Director of Energy, Environment and Climate Change Alex Rugamba, focused on adaptation financing needs for Africa and innovative approaches to adaptation for the continent.

The event also focused on building community resilience in a rural to urban development set-up and the role of adaptation using a green economic model.

“Africa bears a disproportionate burden of the adverse impacts of climate change,” noted Rugamba. “Adaptation is therefore of immediate concern to Africa. It is incomprehensible that of all the issues that are so keenly important to the continent, adaptation would receive such little global attention. The OECD has noted that currently only about 14% of the resources mobilised for climate change is allocated to adaptation.

“It is also on record that only about 4% of adaptation financing ends up in Africa. To quote AfDB President Akinwumi Adesina, ‘Africa has been short-changed by climate change. It must not be short-changed by climate finance.’”

The AfDB Director noted that the Bank has done its part in financing adaption to the tune of US $2.3 billion over the last four years. Rugamba lauded donors who have channeled finance through the AfDB and Climate Funds hosted by the multilateral development banks including AfDB.

“I thank African leadership, through the Committee of African Heads of State on Climate Change (CAHOSCC) and African Ministerial Conference on Environment (AMCEN), for stressing the urgency of adaptation in Africa. The African Group of Negotiators stands with the Group of 77 and China in calling for the new agreement to include provisions for support to enhance adaptation action and implement approaches to address loss and damage that is not avoided through adaptation,” Rugamba said.

David Chama Kaluba, Principal Economist at the Ministry of Finance and National Planning in Zambia and a Green Climate Fund (GCF) board member, stressed the need for investing in people.

“We need to invest in people, so that they are able to assess risks and be able to determine whether the projects should focus on floods or drought management or be invested in economic projects. This way, funds will not go to waste,” Kaluba said.

“We should empower rural communities with the right technological tools to invest in agriculture for enhanced food security and seek alternative sources of livelihoods other than planting main crops like maize which are vulnerable to climatic changes.”

Godwin Fishani Gondwe, Global Environment Facility (GEF) council member for Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe, urged African governments to develop rural areas with a view to facilitating the movement of people and their products in order to access markets.

“We need to develop infrastructure like roads with good drainage systems to tackle floods, promote tourism and save lives,” Gondwe said.

Gustavo Fonseca, Director of Programmes at the GEF Secretariat, said the GEF is helping countries plan how to best use the money they receive from the Fund.

“We have already disbursed US $1.6 billion and 30% of the money goes to adaptation. We are targeting a 50:50 ratio for adaptation and mitigation,” Fonseca said.

He revealed that donors have pledged US $248 million and expressed hope that this will help bridge the gap in adaptation financing.

Fonseca also thanked the French Government for pledging to €25 million to the GEF.

Tao Wang, Director of Mitigation and Adaptation at the Green Climate Fund, noted that the institution had mobilized US $10.2 billion and has embarked on projects meant to combat the effects of climate change.

“We have accredited 20 national, regional and international entities to help us get this money to the beneficiaries that include least developed country (LDCs), small island nations and Africa. We want to interact more with credit entities, contributing and implementing countries to make our projects a success,” Wang said.

Ingrid Levavasseur, Deputy Head, Multilateral Development Institutions for the French Ministry of Economy and Finance, said France is working with adaptation projects and should involve communities and link them to national action plans if Africa is to move toward green economies.

All the speakers expressed need for more money to go to Africa for adaptation, pointing out that the US $100 billion has already been pledged for adaptation globally, and any other funds should go to Africa.

They opposed the idea of 50:50 ratio, noting that Africa bears the brunt of climate change, yet contributes to less than 4% of greenhouse gas emissions. If the continent experiences more than a 3 degree Celsius rise in temperature, more than US $10 billion will be required yearly for adaptation.