African and other global leaders came together at COP26 in Glasgow yesterday for the Africa Adaptation Acceleration Summit, the largest summit to date on climate adaptation.
The summit called for the rest of the world to ramp up its support for the African continent as it adapts to the adverse effects of climate change, including devastating human impacts in Madagascar, where 1.3 million people live under food distress following four years of no rain. Madagascar’s situation has been described as the first climate induced drought.
President Félix Tshisekedi of the Democratic Republic of Congo and Chairperson of the African Union led Tuesday’s event. He highlighted the $6 billion in financial commitments for climate adaptation that African countries had put forward in their nationally determined contributions (NDCs) and called for increased funding to produce the additional $27 billion a year that the continent requires.
President Tshisekedi said: “Adaptation finance flowing to Africa is grossly insufficient compared to the enormous resources needed for the continent to adapt to climate change. That is why African countries, working with the Global Center on Adaptation, the African Development Bank, and other partners, launched the Africa Adaptation Acceleration Program (AAAP). The program lies at the heart of Africa’s climate change needs. It is Africa-owned and Africa-led. African nations have endorsed it as Africa’s preferred mechanism to deploy adaptation finance for adaptation projects in Africa.”
African Development Bank Group President Dr Akinwumi A. Adesina said: “The Africa Adaptation Acceleration Program is a game changer for Africa to deliver results and impacts on adaptation, fast and at scale. It will support 30 million farmers with digital climate advisory services. The Technologies for African Agricultural Transformation program supported by the African Development Bank and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has already delivered climate resilient technologies for 11.2 million farmers in just two years.”
He added: “With the Africa Adaptation Acceleration Program, we expect to reach 40 million farmers. We plan to support farmers in producing 100 million metric tons of food, which will be enough to feed 200 million people and reduce hunger by 80%.”
Moderating summit proceedings, Patrick Verkooijen, CEO of the Global Center on Adaptation, underscored the urgent need for accelerated climate adaptation action across the continent: “COP26 must deliver on the promises of Paris,” he said. “We are failing and we are failing Africa. We must bring more ambition and more finance to help Africa adapt to the pace of a climate emergency devastating the continent with increasingly serious consequences for the world’s poorest and most vulnerable,” the GCA CEO added.
COP26 President Alok Sharma announced $197 million in new funding for adaptation for Africa from the UK government. Of this amount, $27 million will support the Africa Adaptation Accelerated Program upstream facility to deliver technical assistance and a pipeline of bankable projects. The package is expected to unlock almost $1.2 billion for climate adaptation in Africa. Sharma said there will be more to come.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken also announced new funding for climate adaptation from the United States government. He said the US President would work with the US Congress to dedicate $3 billion annually in adaptation finance by the year 2024. This is the largest commitment ever made by the US to reduce the impact of climate change in those most endangered by it around the world.