African Development Bank approves vital LDCF-financed climate change adaptation program in the Horn of Africa

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On December 15, 2017, the African Development Bank (AfDB) approved the program “Multinational (Somalia/Sudan) Rural Livelihoods Adaptation to Climate Change in the Horn of Africa II (RLACC II)”. The program is funded by the Least Developed Countries Fund (LDCF) of the Global Environment Facility (GEF) for a total amount of US $17 million. RLACC II aims to enhance rural livelihoods by reducing food insecurity through climate adaptive measures in pastoral and agro-pastoral communities. It is a clear response to the devastating drought, environmental degradation, and poverty in the Horn of Africa.

The Horn of Africa is particularly vulnerable to climate change. Here, climate change is experienced through rising temperatures, rainfall variability, drought, desertification, soil degradation, and extreme weather events. The region is highly arid, resources are scarce, and many areas are geographically remote with a general lack of adequate infrastructure. An extreme reliance on an increasingly degraded environment for sustaining livelihoods is resulting in massive displacement and increasing conflict over natural resources among agro-pastoralists. Consequently, increasing resilience represents a vital issue for the Horn of Africa’s stability, economic recovery and future prospects while concurrently addressing significant transboundary concerns.

The baseline project for the LDCF activities is a Bank multi-phased, regional program running over 15 to 20 years which targets the root causes of drought crises in the Horn of Africa, the “Drought Resilience and Sustainable Livelihoods Program”. It centers on building critical infrastructure for mobilizing and managing surface and ground water in the context of agro-pastoral production systems, including rangeland rehabilitation, crop production, small water mobilization and supply infrastructure for crop and livestock production. The RLACC II program will be implemented to compliment and complete the original project. Its focus on climate change adaptation activities in the rural sector and fills an important missing gap urgently needed to support and sustain livelihoods.

RLACC II will be implemented through two projects. The Somalia component targets Somaliland, Puntland, and South Central Somalia, for a total of US $10 million. The Sudan component targets the states of White Nile, Gedaref and Kassala, for a total cost of US $7 million. The program will introduce climate-resilient water harvesting technologies, promote conservation agriculture practices and rangeland management, diversify the pastoral and agro-pastoral livelihood base of target communities, and provide capacity building on sustainable natural resources management, thus strengthening household capacity to cope with climatic uncertainties and hazards and reducing food insecurity.

The RLACC II is fully aligned to the Ten Year Strategy (2012 - 2022), the Feed Africa Bank’s priority and the Climate Change Action Plan 2.The AfDB-GEF partnership has consistently supported the Ten Year Strategy by catalyzing sustainability and resilience in Bank investments.

With around US $1.2 billion of voluntary contributions from donors, the LDCF holds the largest portfolio of adaptation projects in Least Developed Countries worldwide. But the needs are growing. With about 50 percent of its GEF portfolio funded by the LDCF, the Bank demonstrates its capacity to mobilize resources for climate change adaptation for Africa. Replenished by voluntary donor contributions, recent new pledges to the LDCF, including at COP23, underline its continued importance.

About the GEF

The GEF administers two funds for climate change adaptation: the Least Developed Countries Fund (LDCF) and the Special Climate Change Fund (SCCF). Since 2001, the GEF has provided US $1.3 billion in grant financing and mobilized US $7 billion from other sources for 320 adaptation projects in 129 countries. 

Least Developed Countries (LDCs) are the most vulnerable to climate change, yet the least able to adapt, often lacking the technical, financial and institutional capacity to identify ways to build resilience. For this reason, parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) established the LDCF to address the special needs of LDCs and their identified priority actions for adaptation.

AfDB is one of 18 agencies – including multilateral development banks, UN agencies, and international NGOs – that can help countries access GEF funding. Since 2007 the partnership between the GEF and the AfDB has been growing rapidly, working to generate environmentally sustainable, climate smart and transformational change in Africa. The Bank’s GEF portfolio has grown tenfold over the past five years, and now includes 39 projects in 33 countries for a total US $302 million in GEF grants. AfDB’s engagement with the GEF has leveraged a large share of co-financing, estimated at US $2.8 billion.

The GEF was established on the eve of the 1992 Rio Earth Summit to help tackle the planet’s most pressing environmental problems. Since then, the GEF has provided over US $14 billion in grants and mobilized over US $70 billion in additional financing for more than 4,000 projects. The GEF has become an international partnership of 183 countries, international institutions, civil society organizations, and private sector to address global environmental issues.