African countries are facing severe liquidity challenges that make the mobilization of domestic resources for climate action difficult. That is according to experts at a session on actualizing climate action and a green recovery for Africa at the Africa Climate Week (September 26- 29).
The regional climate gathering is focused on accelerating collaboration and integrating climate action into the global COVID-19 pandemic recovery, and is key in building regional momentum for a successful COP26, scheduled to take place this November in Glasgow, Scotland.
One of the speakers, Jean-Paul Adam, who is the director of technology, climate change and natural resource management at the UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) said “at both the national and global levels, the conversation is built around finance, because the COVID-19 pandemic has further narrowed the fiscal space available to African countries to mobilize the desperately needed resources.”
Mr. Adam said it was crucial for developed countries to meet their $100 billion climate finance pledge to help the most vulnerable people in developing countries.
“The $100 billion is just the first step, as we need to have a detailed schedule of resources that will be available for African countries to invest in a green recovery,” said Mr. Adam.
The ECA Director said Africa needs a predictable flow of resources that will be available in 2025 and beyond. He noted: “The African Union has paved the way for this with the adoption of an African Green Stimulus Programme in January of this year.”
ECA projects that African countries will lose an average of 2-5 per cent of GDP in even moderate warming scenarios. Extremely vulnerable regions such as the Sahel may lose up to 15 per cent. African islands also have limited built-in environmental and economic resilience.
Mr. Adam said private sector financial flows can efficiently be channeled into African investments. “The support for African countries to issue green and blue bonds will be critical, including by de-risking such vehicles, recognizing that less than 1 per cent of global green bond issuances are from Africa.”
The African Union Commission’s (AUC’s) head of Environment, Climate Change, Water and Land Management, Harsen Nyambe, cited the low implementation rate of existing policies and strategies to mitigate the effects of climate change in Africa as a major challenge on the continent.
“Countries must not only agree to draft policies but must also implement them to win the war against climate change,” said Mr. Nyambe.
Thuli Khumalo, the director-general for climate change and air quality in South Africa’s national department of environment, forestry and energy, said partnerships among countries, non-governmental organisations, and the private sector are crucial in the fight against climate change.
Ms. Khumalo urged countries to implement the African Green Stimulus Programme launched on 16 September, which addresses the challenges and solutions to the issue of climate.
Leah Wanambwa, AUC’s senior policy officer for climate change and desertification control said Africa’s battle against climate change is plagued by inadequate finances, health, poverty, and weak institutions.
She said: “Countries should rethink their development models going forward,” citing Uganda’s Green Growth Development Strategy as a good example.
Women and girls affected
Martha Melesse, the senior program officer at the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) deplored the fact that women and girls have limited resources, information and technology to tackle climate change.
“Recovery path towards gender resilience should be gender sensitive for it to be a win-win situation through clean/renewable energy and climate-smart agriculture as African women provide 40 per cent to crop production on the continent,” said Ms. Melesse.
She highlighted the need for more data to guide policies and action on climate change and recovery on the continent, saying “we need to recognize existing barriers women face and what role they can play in the fight against climate change. Our recovery initiatives should be gender-inclusive.”