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From Vulnerability to Resilience: Strengthening Africa’s Capacity to Address Climate Change Impacts

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By Hameed Muritala

 

In its assessment report published in February 2022, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) warned that any further delay in global action on adaptation and mitigation would miss the closing window of opportunity to secure a liveable and sustainable future for all, hence the need for the world to take collective and urgent actions to adapt to climate change and reduce its impacts.

Today, many developed countries around the world have put in place and are still introducing sustainable solutions and actions to adapt to and mitigate the impacts of climate change in their respective countries. It is, however, unfortunate that while the developed nations are making waves in climate adaptation and mitigation systems, a lot of third-world countries—many of whom are in Africa—are lagging behind in this regard. These developing countries obviously lack the required capacity and resources to meet their climate adaptation and mitigation needs.

The failure of the vast majority of African countries to meet their climate adaptation needs has serious implications for health safety, water and food security, nutrition, and the socio-economic development of people across the continent, especially those residing in vulnerable communities. The threats of climate change continue to grow in Africa; it is sad that the best governments across Africa could do is talk about it rather than take concrete actions to address it, and this is largely due to the fact that these countries lack the resources and capacity to build resilience to climate impacts.

Consequently, to halt the worsening impacts of climate change in Africa, there is an urgent need for relevant international organisations, donor agencies, and developed countries—particularly those who are the largest contributors to global greenhouse gas emissions—to scale up support to African countries and other developing nations in terms of provision of climate finance, policy guidance, technology transfer, and capacity building, taking into account the priorities and specific needs of each of these vulnerable countries.

It is pleasing that talks at the Global Financial Pact Summit taking place in Paris this week (between June 22 and 23, 2022) will focus on how to expand access to funds for poor countries to help them tackle the climate crisis and develop their economies in environmentally sustainable and socially equitable ways. The two-day summit will be attended by world leaders, including France president, Emmanuel Macron; the Prime Minister of Barbados, Mia Mottley; the European Commission president, Ursula von der Leyen; the Chinese premier, Li Qiang, Brazil president, Lula Da Silva; and Nigeria president, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, among scores of other world leaders. The focus of this Paris summit shows that the international community also recognizes the crucial need to upscale funding for developing nations to cut their greenhouse gas emissions, adapt to and mitigate the impacts of climate-related disasters.

Essentially, there is a need for sustained interventions from rich, developed countries and international donor agencies to fight the climate crisis in Africa and the rest of the developing nations of the world. More and more African countries should be considered for climate finance by global organisations like the United Nations’ Capital Development Fund, UNCDF, Green Climate Fund, GCF, National Adaptation Plan Global Network, among others, as they struggle to achieve low emissions and climate-resilient pathways. However, it is important to ensure transparency and accountability in the utilization of these funds made available to these developing nations so as to ensure the delivery of desired results.

Certainly, adequate backing, including technical and financial support as well as policy guidance, will strengthen the poor nations’ capacities to design and implement local, regional, and national adaptation plans and strategies for disaster risk reduction and a comprehensive crisis mitigation system. It will also help these countries build critical and sustainable infrastructure and make substantial investments in renewable energy sources, sustainable agricultural practices, and waste management systems.

Outside of support from the international community, governments at state, national, and regional levels in Africa also need to start preparing a significant allocation in their annual budgets for investment in climate solutions. Policymakers should also carry out research to get accurate and current data that will guide them in designing climate policies and adaptation plans. Additionally, the private sector operating on the continent must also consider investments in climate action and biodiversity.

A combination of support and interventions from the international community towards strengthening the capacity of African countries to meet their Adaptation and Mitigation needs, coupled with concerted efforts by leaders and critical stakeholders on the continent, will ensure that Africa is not left behind as the rest of the world moves towards creating climate-resilient societies and attaining sustainable development.

 

Hameed Muritala, a media practitioner and climate justice advocate, writes from Ilorin, Kwara State. He can be reached via muritalahameedo@gmail.com

 

 

 

 

 

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