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African Ministers, policy-makers, representatives of development partners and climate scientists on Wednesday in Marrakech, Morocco, hailed the establishment of the ClimDev-Africa Special Fund as another concrete show of commitment by Africa to face the challenge posed by the nefarious impacts of climate change to the continent.
Ministers from Benin, Guinea Bissau and Senegal, took turns on the podium at a gala dinner on Wednesday, October 8 to welcome the official launch of the Fund, saying it is a useful and timely initiative. In particular, it will help African countries to invest in the production and use of climate information for sustainable and transformative economic development and better livelihoods in Africa.
The launch ceremony was organized by the African Development Bank (AfDB) in collaboration with the ClimDev-Africa Secretariat on the first day of the Fourth Annual Conference on Climate Change and Development in Africa (CCDA-IV) underway in Marrakech, Morocco.
Ken Johm, Coordinator for Special Initiatives in the Agriculture and Agro-Industry Department at the African Development Bank (AfDB), received applause when he stood up to announce the official launch of the Fund.
African Ministers present at the event – Abdoulaye Balde, Environment and Sustainable Development, Senegal; Raphael Edou, Environment and Climate Change, Benin; Barros Bacar Banjal, Environment and Tourism, Guinea Bissau – all stood to praise the Fund’s launch.
Johm went on to say that the Fund was now receiving applications for grants of between 200,000 and 400,000 euros under conditions specified in the Fund’s main brochure distributed at the ceremony and available on the ClimDev-Africa website (www.climdeve-africa.org). The Fund is hosted by the African Development Bank.
Fatima Denton, Coordinator of the African Climate Policy Centre (ACPC) and Director of Special Initiatives Division at the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), took the floor to welcome the “good news”, saying it’s a good day for researchers, institutions and governments who had pinned their hope on CDSF ever since the project was initiated three years ago.
For Denton, the initiative could not have been more timely because its launch comes when Africa is getting seriously frustrated with climate finance “promises that have remained pledges and hollow words for our vulnerable communities of farmers, fishers, pastoralists”.
The Ambassador of Uganda to the Kingdom of Morocco, Moses Kiwe Sebunya, an outspoken advocate for a Common African Position in the upcoming climate talks in Lima, Peru, stood to praise the initiators and contributors to the Fund. He urged African countries to support it with he called concrete action.
The ClimDev Special Fund (CDSF) is a demand-led Fund that pools resources to finance investment activities on the ground across Africa for the generation and use of climate information for climate-resilient development. Grants are provided to projects in line with the ClimDev-Africa Programme’s goal, purpose and results areas and are implemented by national and regional organisations at all levels on the continent.
The financial management and administration of the CDSF along with roles and responsibilities, and the criteria for funding activities through the ClimDev Special Fund are defined the ClimDev Special Fund Operational Procedures Manual (OPM) agreed to by the CDSC on November 29, 2011.
Speaking about the launch of the Fund earlier in the day Yacine Fal, Resident Representative of the Bank to the Kingdom of Morocco, thanked the European Union for providing seed money of 20 million euros for five initial operations that would, among other things, enhance the capacities of national meteorological and hydrological services to receive numerical weather prediction models in order to raise relevant warnings to their disaster risk management agencies for extreme weather events.
The African Development Bank and its partners in the ClimDev-Africa Programme consider climate change to be a serious threat to Africa and are engaged at the highest levels of their respective institutions in tackling it. African Development Bank Vice-President Aly Abou-Sabaa stated that climate change threatens to undermine all the development and progress that Africa has made so far, including in the area of poverty reduction and the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals.