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African Youths Want More Adaptation Finance as Climate Change Bites

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By Ngala Killian Chimtom

YAOUNDÉ, Cameroon | 19 November 2023 (IDN) — More than 150 young African leaders have called on the international community to prioritize and increase climate adaptation finance flows to Africa by more than double. (P24) French | Japanese | Portuguese | Swahili  | Turkish

The call was made on 18 November, at the end of the Inaugural Forum on Adaptation Finance in Africa convened by the Pan-African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA) and the African Coalition for Sustainable Energy and Access (ACSEA), in partnership with the African Adaptation Initiative (AAI).

The Continent that contributes very little to GreenHouse Emissions is arguably the worst hit by climate change: it reels from droughts, floods, cyclones and other climate-related disasters. And the predictions are dire.

Fungai Ngorima of Zimbabwe told IDN that the country “is facing an El-Nino and experts tell us that it might prolong up to April which means that our rainy season is going to be short and we are also going to have less water…In fact, the country has been receiving less rainfall, rivers are drying up quickly, humans do not have water for drinking, wildlife do not have water for drinking and it’s ending up in human-wildlife conflict over water resources”.

Growing up as a child, Felicia Motia watched her mother struggle with shrinking farm yields as a result of poor rains and eroding soil fertility.

“I decided I would resolve the problem,” she told IDN. She carried out research online and introduced what she calls “regenerative agriculture” that minimizes tillage in order not only to prevent water from escaping, but also retain natural manure.

The impacts of climate change on the continent are disturbing.

According to the latest report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, IPCC, Africa’s temperatures could increase by between 3°C to 6°C by the turn of the century, compared to pre-industrial levels.

“This will result in more frequent and severe climate extremes, even in the best scenarios, which will have significant impacts on agriculture, water resources, and human health,” the youths who met in Yaoundé from 16-18 November said in a statement.

“Both increased warming and inaction could result in a reduction of crop yields by up to 50%, an increase in water stress by up to 60%, an increase in malaria incidence by up to 90% and a loss of biodiversity by up to 40%.”

According to the African Development Bank (AfDB), climate change could reduce Africa’s GDP by 2.8% to 10% by 2050, depending on the severity of the scenario.

It says this could translate into a loss of $68 billion to $259 billion per year. The World Bank has also noted that climate change will increase conflicts and displacements in Africa, estimating that as many as 86 million Africans could migrate within their own countries by 2050.

With such dire predictions, the young African leaders say reducing climate change vulnerabilities in Africa has become not only a moral imperative, but also a strategic   investment in the region’s future and resilience.

According to UNEP, every dollar invested in adaptation could yield four dollars in benefits, besides the fact that adaptation could create new opportunities for economic diversification, innovation, job creation, and social inclusion.

Yet, international community has generally preferred financing mitigation, (actions to either reduce emissions of greenhouse gases or remove those gases from the atmosphere) but that preference does not tie with African priorities.

“The priority of African countries has always been adaptation, because they are already suffering from the consequences of climate change, and they must adapt,” Dr Njamshi Augustin, Executive Director of the African Coalition for Sustainable Energy and Access told IDN.

The dearth of adaptation finance means that Africa’s peoples are finding it increasingly hard to cope with the effects of climate change, talk less of taking advantage of the opportunities it offers.

The youths now say even if industrialized countries keep to the promise, they made at the COP26 in Glasgow to double adaptation finance by 2025 from the 2019 levels, that would still fall too short of the needs.

“Adaptation finance was roughly USD 20 billion per year in 2019. A doubling of efforts, as agreed in the Glasgow Climate Pact and reiterated by the G7 ministers, would bring adaptation finance into the vicinity of $40 billion. Yet, this is far smaller than actual adaptation needs,” they said in a statement.

According to the UNEP Adaptation Gap Report 2023, the current adaptation finance gap is US$194-366 billion per year until 2030.

“This means the current adaptation finance flows are 5-10 times below the estimated needs for developing countries. Moreover, the goal of doubling adaptation finance to US$40 billion by 2025 is far from being met. The report finds that public multilateral and bilateral adaptation finance flows to developing countries declined by 15 per cent to US$21 billion in 2021.”

With the increasing financing gap, the youths therefore called on industrialized countries and other big polluters to roll out a blueprint at COP28 to increase annual adaptation finance flows to Africa by more than double by 2025 and move from pledging to start keeping their promises.

They prescribed 6-point steps that must be taken to meet the objectives.

– Increase the share of adaptation finance in the overall climate finance portfolio and ensure that it is commensurate with the adaptation needs and costs of African countries, noting that even if they doubled overall adaptation finance to around $40 billion annually; it would still fall short of the assessed need.

– Enhance the access and delivery of adaptation finance that is grants-based and predictable by simplifying and streamlining the procedures and criteria of multilateral funds and bilateral donors and by strengthening the capacities and readiness of African institutions and stakeholders, notably frontline communities and youth and women-led initiatives.

-. Improve the effectiveness and efficiency of adaptation finance by promoting participatory and inclusive planning and decision-making processes and by ensuring transparency, accountability, and learning in the implementation and evaluation of adaptation projects and programs.

– Foster the innovation and scaling-up of adaptation finance by supporting the development and deployment of new and emerging sources and instruments of finance and by leveraging private sector investments and partnerships.

– Enhance the coherence and coordination of adaptation finance by harmonizing the policies and standards of different funding sources and channels and by fostering regional and cross-sectorial collaboration and integration of adaptation actions.

– Ensure a robust, ambitious, and solutions-oriented outcome on the Global Goal on Adaptation at COP 28 in Dubai to help accelerate adaptation action globally. [IDN-InDepthNews]

Photo: Njamshi Augustin, Executive Director of the African Coalition for Sustainable Energy and Access. Credit: Ngala Killian Chimtom.





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