climate change
climate change

African countries have been urged to translate the agreement on climate change into concrete actions to safeguard development gains and address the needs of the poorest and the most vulnerable groups on the continent.

This came on Wednesday at the 8th edition of the Conference on Climate Change and Development in Africa, (CCDA VIII), a special session in preparation for African inputs to the Climate Action Summit by the UN Secretary-General scheduled to take place on Sept. 23.

The conference, which is taking place at the AU headquarters in Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa, looks at the progress with the Paris Agreement as a reality for Africa, and also in terms of sharing lessons to inform the UN Secretary General’s Climate Action Summit.

The gathering assesses the status of the climate response, both globally and within Africa, and take stock of the different commitments and actions that African countries and different constituencies are taking to tackle climate change, with a focus on the six thematic and three focus areas of the Climate Action Summit.

Speaking at the opening of the conference James Kinyangi, Coordinator of climate and development Africa special Fund at the African Development Bank (AfDB) said Africans must be at the center of the solution and create an opportunity for the continent to be able to take care of its own problems.

Stating that the threats of climate change to the progress of economic prosperity in Africa looms ever larger, Kinyangi said the prevalence of climate related disasters have already affected 180 million across Africa, costing the continent a loss and damages of estimated at over 22 billion U.S. dollars and still counting.

“You are all aware that 53 African countries have committed to Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), identifying the need for an estimated 3.5 to 4 trillion U.S. dollars of investment by 2030,” he said.

This presents an opportunity for the Bank to contribute to policies and actions that mobilize the financial resources needed to support long-term investments in resilience and Africa’s transition to low carbon development, he added.

The three-day conference, from 28 to 30 Aug. is being held under the theme, “Stepping up climate action for a resilient Africa: a race we can and must win” in line with the theme of the summit,” and it was jointly convened by AU, the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), and the AfDB, in collaboration with Ethiopia and the Pan African Climate Justice Alliance.

In her opening remarks, Aida Opoku-Mensah, Chief of Staff at UNECA, noted that the Climate Action Summit’s call to urgent and concerted global action to fight climate change is a last wake-up call to all countries to raise their game and step up climate action for multiple social, economic and environmental wins.

“We have the solutions to climate change and only need the political will to make it happen, then the intriguing question that immediately arise is why is the political will so lukewarm, and what should African countries do?” Aida said.

African countries are indeed doing so much to tackle climate change. All African countries have signed the Paris Agreement and fifty of them have already ratified with ambitious nationally determined contributions to climate actions (NDCs).

The NDCs, that include both mitigation and adaptation actions, require close to USD 3 trillion of conditional and unconditional financing to implement,” she said.

She stated that the UNECA and its partners remain committed to supporting African countries to tackle climate change and turn the challenge it poses into opportunities for low-carbon resilient and inclusive development.

The AU Director for Rural Economy and Agriculture Godfrey Bahigwa, on his part reiterated that the AU Commission remains strongly committed to the global fight against climate change with the record of 50 member states that have ratified the Paris Agreement.

Fifty of our 55 member states have already ratified the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, as a sign of political commitment from our leaders in fighting climate change.

Through its committee of Africa Heads of states and governments on climate change, AU continues to provide political leadership and strategic guidance on the continent’s engagement on climate issues, according to the Director.

Stating that the AU Commission is also working hard to mobilize resources and partnerships to support AU member states to domesticate and implement their national determined contributions, the Director expressed AU’s interest to establish a continental reporting mechanism that will show progress that Africa is making in the implementation of the Paris Agreement on climate change. Enditem

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