Global Calls for Massive Scale-Up of Climate Adaptation in Africa

UN Climate Change News, 7 April – Boosting efforts to adapt to the impacts of climate change in Africa was the focus of a leaders’ Dialogue yesterday that addressed the effects of the dual crises of climate change and the COVID-19 pandemic, with calls for a massive scaling up of climate adaptation in the region.

Heads of States and Governments, international organizations, bilateral partners and development agencies participating in the event discussed a common roadmap on implementing a bold new adaptation initiative for Africa – the Africa Adaptation Acceleration Program (AAAP). The initiative aims to galvanize climate-resilient actions on the continent by advancing a three-pronged approach to address climate change, COVID-19, and the continent’s emerging economic challenges.

Africa is at the frontline of the climate crisis, severely affected by droughts, floods and cyclones and counts ten of the twelve countries most at risk of drought. The AAAP initiative was launched during the Climate Adaptation Summit (CAS) held in January in response to African leaders’ urgent call for a new and expanded effort to accelerate momentum on Africa’s adaptation efforts.

Speaking at yesterday’s event, UN Secretary-General, António Guterres, encouraged all international partners to come forward with pledges to support the African Adaptation Acceleration Program. “As the continent that has contributed least to the climate crisis, yet faces its most devastating impacts, Africa deserves the strongest possible support and solidarity,” he said.

Mr. Guterres urged scaled-up support to regional adaptation and resilience initiatives such as the Great Green Wall Initiative and repeated his call made at the CAS summit for 50% of total climate funding to be allocated to adaptation. He also called for concrete proposals to make access to climate finance easier and faster, including for African nations, before the crucial UN Climate Change Conference COP26 in November.

In remarks at the Dialogue, UN Climate Change Executive Secretary, Patricia Espinosa, called climate adaptation and resilience “a vital component on the path to a successful COP26”. She urged countries to unleash the full potential of the Paris Agreement through inclusive multilateralism, calling the Africa Adaptation Acceleration Program “an incredibly positive step forward” in this regard.

“It remains absolutely critical for Parties to fulfil their pre-2020 commitments by submitting stronger NDCs and, of course, the pledge by developed nations to mobilize 100 billion annually to support the efforts of developing countries is paramount and cannot be ignored,” the UN Climate Chief said. “This has to be recognized as an investment in the future for all, not as something that will be given to others. It is in our own self-interest,” she added.

The African Development Bank and the Global Center on Adaptation (GCA), who hosted the Dialogue, are joining forces to use their complementary expertise, resources and networks to forge a common roadmap on implementing the AAAP.

According to the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), annual adaptation costs in developing countries are estimated at USD 70 billion. This figure is expected to reach USD 140-300 billion in 2030 and USD 280-500 billion in 2050.

The African Leaders’ Dialogue will be followed by another important climate change-related forum on Earth Day, April 22, when the United States hosts world leaders in a climate summit.

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