AFRICA DAY AT COP 27: Focus firmly on African development and climate action

Written by Dr. Florence Akano

Africa is one of the most affected places due to climate change demands that it be the focus of any climate discussion. Wednesday, November 9th is Africa Day at the COP 27 climate meeting in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt, where the continent is watching the proceedings. The numbers speak for themselves. According to non-governmental organizations, 17-40 million people may be compelled to relocate internally, while staple agricultural and seafood harvests are predicted to drop by up to 40%.

“I am from Mozambique, where the seashore is home to 60% of the people.” And cyclones are growing more powerful every year. “I’ve seen towns three years after hurricane Idai in 2019 that are still attempting to recover,” says Solani Mhlando, World Wide Fund for Nature’s national director in Mozambique.

Investments are huge for Africa in the coming years especially in water, protection of the coast and cooling according to a new analysis by the International Finance Corporation (IFC). The organization underlines that only 2% of the private sector invests in adaptation progress.

Makhtar Diop is the managing director of the IFC, the largest global development institution focused on the private sector in emerging markets.

“For the next 20 years, we need about $100 billion of investment in Africa for adaptation. That’s the potential, that’s also what would help end a number of the challenges. That means $5 billion a year would be a level of investment that would be very, very useful and would actually make a difference”, he says.

Africa continues to be the world’s most climate-vulnerable continent while making the least contribution to global warming. The African Climate Foundation thinks that addressing climate change might lead to new avenues for African growth. However, Saliem Fakir, executive director of the Africa Climate Foundation, asserts that this calls for persistent work.

“The fact that something is scheduled doesn’t imply that the issue has been resolved. Therefore, we must consider the specifics of how the money and type of loss and harm will be resolved. so that moving ahead, those specifics will be considered obvious.” Fakir elucidates.

Building trust between the North and the South will be necessary to make the transition to a more sustainable economy, industry, and food production. a trust that has lost its appeal during the past year. The addition of the Loss and Damage problem to the COP agenda might give it fresh life, but observers should exercise caution.

Even while there have been gestures, the success of the discussions will ultimately decide whether Africa’s voice has been heard.

Humane immigration and reasonable trade laws are necessary for rethinking the financial framework for climate action. This was the takeaway from a side session at the UNFCCC COP 27 in Sharm el-Sheikh on the government’s responsibility in raising and allocating funds for the environment and public health. Speakers stressed the fact that current financial flows are insufficient and that both the public and private sectors must spend effectively to combat climate change.

When will leaders lead? was the event’s central question. The inaugural panel of the Local Government and Municipal Authorities (LGMA) Multilevel Action Pavilion at COP 27 was composed of and. Political and business leaders emphasized the need for fair international financial frameworks in tackling global issues while calling for reasonable trade policies.

Prime Minister of Barbados Mia Amor Mottley stressed in her opening remarks that policies that restrict access to products needed to achieve net zero and policies that generate inequities in the cost of capital are impeding progress on climate change. “The globe has found it simple to make capital move,” she said. I don’t see how a breathing human being can take precedence over an inanimate item.

The World Trade Organization’s (WTO) Director-General, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, stressed during a panel discussion that “you may have all the money in the world, but if the trade policies are not appropriate, you will not get anywhere.” She highlighted the “potential of commerce to help address challenges,” including climate change, and emphasized supply diversification

The First Minister of Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon, outlined three principles for changing financial structures: leaders must set the direction and establish “mission-oriented institutions… getting finance for a purpose”; public funds must be used to “crowd in” private funds, and private businesses must contribute financially to those solutions.

The Scottish Government, the University College London Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose, and ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability collaborated to arrange the event. The Multilevel Action Pavilion is being organized by ICLEI, the focal point of the LGMA Constituency, together with more than 40 additional partners at COP 27. Sessions at the Pavilion will focus on how local and regional organizations may take effective action at various levels of government.

In order to boost African-led adaptation efforts, a high-level gathering also advocated for more leadership and revived international collaboration. The event, with the topic “Empowering a Climate-Resilient Africa for the 21st Century: Articulating Vision and Opportunity,” was hosted by the president of Botswana, Mokgweetsi Masisi, and it took place in the COP 27 Africa Pavilion. Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa, the president of Zimbabwe, Alar Karis, the president of Estonia, and Inger Andersen, the executive director of the UN Environment Program, were among the other speakers at the event (UNEP).

Industry titans from the Volvo Group, IBM, the International Cooper Association (ICA), and Google were also there. As part of its commitment to reducing grid losses in Africa, ICA stated it will start the Grid Efficiency and Resiliency Partnership Initiative, and Google has promised to invest USD 1 billion to promote Africa’s digital revolution.

At the occasion, speakers were UNEP NGOs Major Group, UNEP Finance Initiative, and African Development Bank (AfDB) representatives.

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Dr. Florence Akano

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