Why African Development Bank joined forces on climate change

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The United Nations (UN) Climate Change Conference COP 25, has levitated the climate action landscape in Africa

This has led to the African Development Bank (AfDB) to join forces with 11 other international organizations to assist developing countries to build resilience against the impact of natural disasters caused by extreme weather.

The initiative comes at a rather perfect moment, especially when the region is faced with unprecedented catastrophic weather events affecting the continent’s economy.

According to AfDB, the institutions came together at the COP 25 climate change conference in Madrid on Tuesday to launch the Alliance for Hydromet Development.

Alliance for Hydromet Development

According to the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), the Alliance for Hydromet (hydrological and climate services) Development brings together major international development, humanitarian and climate finance institutions, collectively committed to scale up and unite efforts to close the hydromet capacity gap by 2030. It aims to increase the effectiveness and sustainability of hydromet investments by forging a collaborative partnership that recognizes and leverages the respective competencies and expertise of its members.

Members commit to strengthening the capacity of National Meteorological and Hydrological Services for sustained operation of observational systems and data exchange that meet WMO standards for minimum monitoring coverage and reporting frequency.

In addition, they commit to better coordinate and design investments to best support developing countries, based on shared approaches and development outcomes. This includes fostering programmatic approaches that go beyond individual projects, as well as leveraging financial resources and expertise from the private sector to provide sustainable solutions and modernizing hydromet infrastructure in developing countries.

The founding members of the Alliance for Hydromet Development are the Adaptation Fund, the African Development Bank, the Asian Development Bank, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the Global Environment FacilityGreen Climate Fund, the Islamic Development Bank, the United Nations Development Programme, the United Nations Environment Programme, the World Bank, the World Food Programme and the World Meteorological Organization.

The way forward

The United Nations acknowledges that Africa is seriously vulnerable to climate change and it is the least polluter, with only 4 per cent of greenhouse emissions per year, compared to China ( 26 per cent) , European Union (9 per cent), and the United States (4 per cent).

The AfDB has been active in the climate action arena, with its feet dipped into climate finance to assist vulnerable countries communities to adapt and mitigate climate change impacts.

Petteri Taalas, Secretary-General of the World Meteorological Organization acknowledges the role of strategic climate action against climate change impacts.

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“The science is clear: the global average temperature has increased by 1.1°C since the pre-industrial period, and by 0.2°C compared to 2011-2015. “Ambitious climate action requires countries to be equipped with the most reliable warning systems and best available climate information services. Many developing countries are facing capacity constraints to provide these services. The Alliance is the vehicle to collectively scale up our support to the most vulnerable,” He said.

Just in East Africa, one million people are affected by floods. Thus, the alliance stands to change that, as they have committed to ramping up action that strengthens the capacity of developing countries to deliver high-quality weather forecasts, early warning systems, hydrological and climate services. Also, they underpin resilient development by protecting lives, property and livelihoods.

Anthony Nyong, Director for Climate Change and Green Growth at the African Development Bank, acknowledges the current capacity gap existing in the continent in addressing the vulnerability, thus finance is also a factor.

“Through the Hydromet Alliance, we are committed to doubling our climate finance support to African countries and will work with them to transition from dealing with disaster emergencies to building resilience against the impacts of extreme weather events,” He commented.

It would take over $ 50 billion per year for Africa to suffice its climate adaptation measure under the two degrees centigrade scenario. However the financing landscape has been quite vital,  a report by Climate Funds Update, an independent climate finance tracker, shows up to 4.5 billion has been approved for 665 projects and programs throughout Sub-Saharan Africa since 2003. Almost half of the approved funding from these multilateral climate funds has been provided for adaptation measure

The initiative places Africa on a potential path to combat catastrophic weather impacts, and reduce macroeconomic and development consequences in Africa. United Nations Economic Commission Agency (UNECA) shows West and East Africa could lose 15 per cent of their GDP if no action is taken, while—implementing mitigation measures on the energy sector could provide 0.7 potential jobs by 2030 and increase to over 11 million by 2050.

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Padili Mikomangwa is an environmentalist based in Tanzania. . He is passionate about helping communities be aware of critical issues cutting across, environmental economics and natural resources management. He holds a bachelors degree in Geography and Environmental Studies from University of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

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