Tsim Mavisi

The 27th  Conference of the Parties (COP27) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) will be held in Egypt at a time when the African continent is facing worsening impacts of the climate crisis characterized by floods and droughts in the West and Horn of Africa respectively.

It is in this regard, that Dr. Susan Chomba Director of Vital Landscapes, Africa speaking during a World Resources Institute webinar noted that food systems are a key issue that needs to be prioritized at COP 27.

She observed that most of the increase in yields in the continent comes from area expansion which as a result affects other ecosystems that need to be protected. “There is a need to increase investments that can help African countries avoid food production models that are going to be devastating for climate and nature,” Dr. Chomba said.

Observing that food systems are not only producing greenhouse gases but are also victims of climate change, she urged African governments to partner with other actors to build resilient food systems that will be able to withstand extreme weather conditions brought about by climate change.

With the inaccessibility of climate action funds being a major problem in fighting climate change, Dr.  Chomba opined that one of the ways to overcome the problem was the creation of credible investment projects such as the Great Green Wall Initiative that are attractive to investors.

According to Ineza Grace, Co-Director of the Loss and Damage Youth coalition, COP 27 needs to unlock the accessibility modality of climate finance because the finance that is available is not accessible for African countries despite their vulnerability. She noted that there are too many requirements that are hindering access.

Additionally, she called on the need for COP 27 to address the loss and damage incurred as a result of the negative impacts of climate change. This, Grace said will be addressed by unlocking funds for loss and damage, which needs to be new and additional to the already existing finance mechanisms such as mitigation and adaptation finance.

Also, she noted that there is a need to deliver on the emission reduction ambition since the world is getting warmer and further warming would reduce the chances of survival.

According to Hellen Wanjohi, Resilient Cities Lead, Africa adapting to climate change and building resilient cities is critical for the survival of African cities. She noted that 80% of Africa’s growth will take place in cities in the next 25 years with the growth being experienced in secondary and tertiary cities. “This means that there is a need for the development of infrastructures to accommodate the growing population,” Wanjohi said.

She further noted that African cities need immediate financial and technical assistance in order to survive the impacts of climate change. “Africa needs robust development finance to support cities,” Wanjohi said, adding that the need for blended finance between the governments and the private sector is crucial.