The African Development Bank (AfDB), the African Union Commission (AUC) and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) on Wednesday October 13, 2010 in Addis Ababa, launched the Climate for Development in Africa (ClimDev-Africa) Programme at a ceremony held on the sidelines of the Seventh African Development Forum.
The instrument creating the programme’s joint secretariat, which will be based at UNECA in Addis Ababa, was signed by AfDB President, Donald Kaberuka; AUC Chairman, Jean Ping; and ECA Executive Secretary, Abdoulie Janneh.
“This launching is taking place as climate change has taken centre stage in the world,” said Jean Ping, who spoke on behalf of the signatories.
According to the agreement, the programme was launched due to the inability of government institutions, development practitioners and service providers to effectively manage climate risks and to link climate change concerns to development imperatives because of the lack of appropriate climate information and services.
Africa has less than 13% of the minimum number of stations required to support development, according to the World Meteorological Organization. The Programme is “a unique regional initiative that responds to climate change challenges facing Africa’s development. It will focus on climate sensitive sectors such as agriculture and food security, water resources, energy and health,” said Anthony Nyong, AfDB Compliance and Safeguards Manager, during a presentation at the launch.
The Programme, according to Mr. Ping, was designed to respond to urgent climate variability challenges, an issue that needs to be addressed “with deep seriousness”.
Although the continent is responsible for less than 4% of total greenhouse gas emissions, African countries are among the most vulnerable to climate change impacts. Africa will suffer earliest and hardest because of weaker resilience and greater reliance on climate-sensitive sectors like agriculture. The average economic costs of climate change in Africa could be equivalent to 1.5 - 3% of GDP each year by 2030, and rising, in the absence of an international agreement on emissions.
ClimDev-Africa will strengthen Africa’s climate and development institutions at regional, sub-regional and national levels. It will also assist in sound policy-making based on information and analyses on policy options. The programme will improve climate-related activities in sectoral institutions through enhanced policy environments and help address weaknesses in both demand for, and supply of, pertinent climate services, which have contributed to the limited use of climate data in development processes in Africa.
Another issue that will be addressed by the Programme is the acquisition of capacity by Africans to use the information to design effective and robust policies.
The AUC will be responsible for the programme’s political leadership by coordinating the continental policy response and global negotiations. The ECA will serve as knowledge management, policy and project facilitation arm, while the ClimDev-Africa Special Fund (CDSF), hosted by the AfDB, will provide a channel for demand-led funding on field-level operations by establishing institutions across Africa. The programme’s implementation will commence in 2011.