Will COP26 help Africa to become green, resilient and prosperous?
The Global Center on Adaptation (GCA) released its State and Trends report on climate adaptation in Africa during a virtual event at the University of Nairobi on 26 October.
Hosted by the Kenyan government, president Uhuru Kenyatta addressed the conference and called on participants of the COP26 climate summit to increase financial support to the Africa Adaptation Acceleration Program (AAAP).
No other way than to adapt
Climate emergency affects the whole world, but Africa the most, writes CEO Patrick Verkooijen in the foreword of GCA’s latest report 'State and Trends in Adaptation in Africa Report 2021' (Sta2021). Next to fighting the COVID-19 pandemic the continent has a long list of challenges it needs to address, ranging from poverty, food security, unplanned urbanization, water scarcity, ecosystem loss to global warming, Verkooijen writes.
Highly dependent on rainfed agriculture, hundreds of millions of African smallholder farmers are affected by climate changes. Large portions of Africa—in particular, the dryland areas that cover three-fifths of the continent—are warming at a rate twice the global average, putting half a billion people at risk.
According to Verkooijen, Africa has no choice but to adapt now to the present and future impacts of climate change.
Acceleration of adaptation efforts
The State and Trends report on climate adaptation in Africa, shows that African countries and communities have already taken numerous steps forward to adapt and to build resilience. The report outlines the toll that African countries suffer from extreme events, both in deaths and economic losses. Without droughts, floods and typhoons, the economic growth would have been much more.
However, there is also good news to report. Many efforts are growing up from the grassroots, such as farmer-led agroforestry restoration efforts that have increased crop yields in Niger and community-led efforts in urban informal settlements to build storm water drains and improve access to clean water and electricity, increasing resilience to floods.
The report gives many examples of adaptation that go beyond simply preventing future damages. Adaptation provides Africa great opportunities to achieve a larger development agenda and put the continent on a new “green” and resilient pathway to growth.
The big challenge is to accelerate these efforts and bring them to scale.
Climate finance agreements
During the Global Adaptation Summit in The Hague in January 2021, African leaders launched the Africa Adaptation Acceleration Program (AAAP). Initiated by the Global Center on Adaptation (GCA) and the African Development Bank, this all-African programme aims to bring adaptation to scale. It has four specific focus areas: smart digital technologies for agriculture, more resilient infrastructure, empowering youth for entrepreneurship and development of Innovative financial initiatives.
Cabinet Secretary Keriako Tobiko for the Kenyan Ministry of Environment and Forestry mentioned at the conference that African countries have specified their adaptations plans and are ready to act. ‘Africa has the solutions’, he said. 'There is this AAAP-programme. We do not need more science. It is all in the report that has been published today'.
The cabinet sectretary urged the developed world to fulfil its commit made at the COP15 in Copenhagen in 2009 on the 100 billion US dollar in annual international climate finance. Fifteen Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) plans from African countries shows a national funding for 20 percent of all adaptation efforts. If the developed world can agree at the COP26 to add 18 billion US dollar annually to these national adaptation budgets, the AAAP-programme can put African on its green, resilient and prosperous pathway.