Global Leaders Unite for Africa’s Climate Future
The second day of COP28 in Dubai witnessed a compelling plea from global leaders for enhanced financing to fortify Africa’s battle against climate change. At the Adaptation Finance Summit for Africa, leaders urged a more comprehensive global response to address the continent’s climate adaptation needs.
Notable figures present included Comoros President Azali Assoumani, Tanzanian President Samia Suluhu Hassan, Senegalese President Macky Sall, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, UK Foreign Secretary David Cameron, African Development Bank Group President Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, and philanthropist Bill Gates.
A Unified Call for Climate Finance
During the summit, leaders stressed the need for a substantial increase in climate adaptation funding, which currently stands at 39% of all climate finance flows to Africa. The high-profile session aimed at setting the tone for robust discussions on financing strategies, with a shared vision of building resilience across the continent.
Bold Initiatives Unveiled
In his address, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, President of the African Development Bank Group, unveiled a groundbreaking initiative to tackle Africa’s climate adaptation needs. The newly launched Climate Action Window aims to mobilize up to $14 billion, supporting adaptation efforts in 37 low-income countries.
Dr. Adesina passionately announced the operationalization of the Climate Action Window during COP28, urging donors and investors to join hands to make a substantial impact on the ground.
Call to Action – Transforming Agriculture and Beyond
“I am pleased to announce here today that the operationalization of the Climate Action Window starts right here, at this COP, as we launch the first Call for Proposals this week,” stated Dr. Adesina.
The call extends to donors and investors to contribute to climate-resilient agricultural technologies, weather insurance for farmers, land rehabilitation, and essential services for millions of people. The vision is clear – a united effort to drive positive change in the face of climate adversity.
African Nations Paving the Way
President Samia Suluhu Hassan of Tanzania showcased her country’s commitment by announcing formalized partnerships under the African Adaptation Acceleration Program (AAA-P). This initiative aims to provide technical support to mobilize $700 million in green bonds issued by Tanzanian commercial banks, dedicated to financing climate adaptation projects.
“In Tanzania, we are showing the way on how to generate funds for adaptation and mitigation,”
emphasized President Hassan, setting an inspiring precedent.
Senegal’s Plea for Equitable Approach
President Macky Sall of Senegal emphasized the urgent need for a fair and equitable approach to climate financing. He proposed exploring resources initially earmarked for debt repayments to finance green projects, stressing that African countries face a double punishment by going into heavy debt to fund their environmentally friendly initiatives.
Urgency Echoed by the UK
Adding a sense of urgency, UK Foreign Secretary David Cameron highlighted the immediacy of the climate crisis in Africa.
“It’s not about what might be necessary in the future; it’s about what is necessary now,” Cameron declared.
He committed Britain to spend GBP 1.5 billion ($1.89 billion) on adaptation in Africa by 2025, emphasizing the need for collaboration between wealthy nations and multilateral development banks to address the funding gap.
Bridging the Gap – Africa Adaptation Acceleration Program
To bridge the financing gap, Africa launched the $25 billion Africa Adaptation Acceleration Program in 2021 – the world’s largest adaptation program. Led by the African Development Bank Group, the African Union Commission, and the Global Center on Adaptation, the program aims to actualize the vision of the Africa Adaptation Initiative.
Investment Opportunities in Adaptation
Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte highlighted the tremendous investment opportunities in adaptation. He called on other nations to prioritize adaptation finance, emphasizing that managing extreme weather patterns must be a fundamental element of every national budget.
Bill Gates Advocates for Immediate Action
Bill Gates drew attention to the urgency of climate adaptation, referring to it as the “orphan child” of climate financing. Gates stressed the need for additional funds, particularly for smallholder farmers who are disproportionately affected by climate change. He expressed optimism in doubling productivity in regions like South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa with the right support.
Celebrating Environmental Champions
On the sidelines of the meeting, President Adesina celebrated environmental ambassador Karen Wanjiru Kimani, a 12-year-old Kenyan who has planted over 10,000 tree seedlings and plans to open a production plant for biodegradable bottles. This recognition underscores the importance of grassroots efforts in building a sustainable future.
COP28 – A Global Call to Action
The COP28 serves as the largest global platform for nations to negotiate a collective approach to tackle climate change. With the theme “Unite, Act, Deliver,” the conference aims to bring together governments, the private sector, youth, and civil society to address the pressing challenges of our time.
In conclusion, the urgent call for enhanced climate adaptation financing at COP28 signals a pivotal moment in the global fight against climate change. As leaders unite and advocate for a more equitable approach, the world watches with anticipation, hoping for concrete actions to secure a resilient and sustainable future for Africa and beyond.