The African continent is faced with a huge challenge of climate change that is claiming people’s lives and damaging the environment and crops, a key meeting in Kigali heard yesterday.
Participants at the ongoing Africa Carbon Forum, contend that for Africa to achieve climate change resilience, and for the Paris Agreement on climate change to be made a reality, there was need for more funding and better collaboration among all players.
Anthony Nyong, Division Manager, Environmental and Social Protection at AfDB, said that the Paris Agreement cannot succeed without Africa succeeding in tackling climate change.
More than 500 climate change experts, carbon market players, policy makers and project developers from across Africa are in Kigali for the forum to discuss Africa’s roadmap to sustainable development and shared prosperity and how to turn climate challenges into opportunities.
While opening the conference, yesterday, the Minister for Natural Resources, Dr Vincent Biruta, noted that Rwanda felt severe consequences of climate change in May this year, when 56 of its citizens died due to floods and landslides in the Northern and Western provinces.
Daniele Violetti chief of Staff, UNFCCC gives his keynote address during the meeting.
He said this was a clear demonstration of the vulnerability to climate change that the continent faces.
“However, we believe that the continent can overcome these kinds of challenges if we work as one,” he noted.
“Our assignment is clear: We must now turn this global commitment into local action. Through collaboration and knowledge sharing, we can achieve climate resilience in Africa by investing in renewable energy, clean cities and reforestation”.
James Close director, World Bank Climate change group speaks at the meeting yesterday in Kigali.
At the Paris climate conference (COP21) in December 2015, 195 countries adopted the first-ever universal, legally binding global climate deal. The agreement sets out a global action plan to put the world on track to check climate change by limiting global warming to well below 2°C. The agreement is due to enter into force in 2020.
Anthony Nyong, Division Manager, Environmental and Social Protection at African Development Bank (AfDB), said that the Paris Agreement cannot succeed without Africa succeeding in tackling climate change and in building resilience.”
Participants follow proceedings during the meeting.
He said the success of the Paris Agreement also needs stronger collaboration and a much deeper engagement for policymakers, private sector and NGOs.
Nyong pointed out that for Africa to reach its very ambitious pledges to cut [gas]emissions by 80% by 2030, more has to be done on climate financing which he said currently stands at 4% of total allocations.
“This is unacceptable,” he said, pointing out that AfDB had pledged to progressively address climate change through funding, adding that the Bank will be offering $5 billion every year until 2020 towards that goal.
James Close, the Director of Climate Change Group at World Bank, said that climate change is not only an environmental issue but also affects social protection, increasing frequency of climatic events such as floods affecting many sectors, including agriculture.
He added that millions of Africans would be stricken by hunger by 2030, if nothing is done to ease the consequences of climate change.
Participants visit the exhibition stalls of the ongoing Africa Carbon Forum in Kigali.
“This needs climate change resilience action,” he noted, adding that climate funding was very important.
The One UN Rwanda Resident Coordinator, Lamin M. Manneh, said that many countries in Africa are already experiencing the growing effects of climate change, which is threatening progress in other development outcomes, such as food, energy, and water security, as well as in health, employment and preventing natural disaster.
Participants visit the exhibition stalls of the ongoing Africa Carbon Forum in Kigali. (All photos by Timothy Kisambira)
“Therefore, only when climate action is integrated with inclusive, sustainable development can it achieve a truly transformational impact and enhance resilience to climate change for all on our continent,” he said.
“The private sector, in particular, will have to play a critical role in adopting, funding, implementing and delivering low carbon solutions. It is a key player and partner for the Paris Agreement implementation,” he noted.
The World Bank Group currently provides an average of $10.3 billion a year in direct financing for climate action. It plans to increase it to $29 billion by 2020.