By Mary Hearty

The Global Centre on Adaptation (GCA) has committed to mobilize USD 25 billion to scale up climate adaptation investments through the African Adaptation Acceleration Program (AAAP) over the next five years.

Speaking during the second Leaders’ Dialogue on Adaptation Action in Africa held in Nairobi, Kenya, Dr Patrick Verkooijen, Chief Executive Officer of the GCA stated that investing in climate adaptation is not only the moral right thing to do, it is the economic smartest thing to do because every dollar invested in climate adaptation has much higher return on investment.

And so, he advised the youth to take advantage of the opportunities which will come through the AAAP, noting that they are the future of adaptation channels through development of innovative solutions for a resilient continent.

Dr Verkooijen further noted that the GCA and its partners have already mainstreamed adaptation solutions across the African continent into USD 3 billion worth of investments.

Prof Dr. Verkooijen during the event

President Uhuru Kenyatta who was inaugurated during the high-level event as the Global Champion for the AAAP said that Africa has the potential to lead the world in starting a new resilient pathway to prosperity in terms of climate adaptation.

He urged Africa’s development partners to fully fund the AAAP and make it a shining example of what the continent can achieve when there is collaboration.

As the global champion for AAAP he observed that this program is timely, because while Africa’s vulnerability to climate change is rising, so too is the gap between available finance for adaptation and the needs it terms of hard cash.

“The AAAP is a bold and creative step which takes us in the right direction, and it lays the foundation for economic growth, and at the same time, reducing the impact of climate shocks,” President Kenyatta stated.

He noted that the impacts of climate change are already being felt in the continent as over the past three years, poor rainy seasons in Kenya, Ethiopia and Somalia, have fueled the worst drought in over 40 years.

In addition, it has led to loss of harvests, and over 3 million of our livestock are dead, people in drought-stricken areas also are facing severe water shortage, and cases of inter-communal conflict over water and pasture have increased.

At the moment, President Kenyatta said over four million Kenyans are in need of food assistance and close to one million children under two years are malnourished, across the entire horn of Africa, 20 million and of these 6 million of them are children who are severely food insecure.

He added that extreme weather condition such as the ongoing drought in the horn of Africa, or the devastating flooding in South Sudan and Southern Africa will if not checked, completely retard Africa’s progress.

“Moreover, many African nations across the continent are already struggling as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, and also Ukraine-Russian war which has severely driven fuel and food prices and also added to our food insecurity,” President Kenyatta said.

President Uhuru Kenyatta

In this regard, he said, the continent must ensure that humanitarian support to address the food crisis is merged with longer-term support for Africa’s development, and in all of this, every stage, adaptation to climate change is going to be critical.

“We have contributed the least to the climate change problem, we have contributed nothing to the COVID-19 problem, and we definitely have no role to the Russian-Ukraine war yet we are suffering more than any other part of the world. It is up to us to adapt and we have no choice. We must act together because the window of opportunity is closing on us,” President Kenyatta affirmed.

As the global climate adaptation champion, he called on Africa’s development partners to urgently support Africa to make good of their pledges, noting that the US 100 billion dollar amount annual pledged to help developing countries tackle climate change by 2020 is yet to be honored.

“As we move to Sharm-Al-Sheikh in Egypt for the COP27, we must shift the gear and move from the commitments to action. And this is a commitment of the African Action group as it prepares our joint position as we move to COP27,” President Kenyatta said. “To achieve the Paris agreement, there has to be a paradigm shift so that we can see many commitments made, translated into funded programs.”

Ban Ki-Moon, 8th United Nations Secretary-General and Chair of the GCA said President Kenyatta’s proven leadership on adaptation will be the strongest voice for mobilizing the global community for making sure that countries own up their climate finance commitments for making sure that they will get beyond the largest adaptation initiative on this great continent.

Ban Ki-Moon, Chair of the GCA, 8th Secretary-General of the United Nations

Dr Kristalina Georgieva, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said it is critical for the international community to meet or exceed the goal of providing USD 100 billion in climate finance to developing countries each year, and importantly to make sure a sizable amount of the climate finance goes to adaptation in addition to mitigation.

With IMF new resilience and sustainability trust, she said they will provide affordable financing to vulnerable countries to address long-term challenges, through partnership with other on the ground including the GCA.

Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Director-General of the World Trade Organization (WTO) said trade is a necessary part of the solution to climate change adaptation and mitigation, and just like the rest of our economic systems, trade and the WTO can and must change to best support the low carbon emission to a global low-carbon economy and a climate resilient society.

She revealed that this year’s world trade report will focus on trade and climate change, with adaptation taking an important place. “The report which will be released close to COP27 shows that trade and policy are key components of climate change adaptation” Dr Okonjo-Iweala said.

Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Director-General of the World Trade Organization

Dr Akinwumi Adesina, President of the African Development Bank (AfDB) said securing more finance for Africa needs global advocacy, and therefore global commitments to climate finance for developing countries must be met as the looks forward to the COP27.

He termed President Kenyatta’s inauguration as timely, just ahead of the COP27, affirming that it is time to turn promises into resources, exhortation into execution, and hope into reality. And for that, we need a champion, a tested leader with a respected global voice. Noting that his voice will drive climate adaptation.

Dr Adesina said Africa is losing USD 7-15 billion annually due to climate change, adding that this is expected to rise to USD 50 billion by 2030, and 9 out of the 10 most vulnerable countries to climate change are in Africa, that is 90%.

He pointed out that the AfDB is leading efforts to support Africa to adapt to climate change as it has doubled climate finance to reach USD 25 billion by 2025.

“We have devoted 67% of our total climate finance to climate adaptation, the highest level among all the international financial institutions globally,” he said.

Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, President of the African Development Bank Group