According to an upcoming report on African climate adaptation response, African countries devote 2% of their GDP to climate adaptation. Illustration: AAI/Bruk Tekie

According to an upcoming report on African climate adaptation response, African countries devote, on average, 2 percent of their GDP to climate adaptation. The ramifications of this effort for continent’s and the global community’s response to climate change, were discussed during a high-level roundtable in New York, on the margins of the UN General Assembly (UNGA) on 24th September 2018. 

Attending the roundtable were H.E. Mr. Régis Immongault, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Gabon; Mr. Achim Steiner, Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP); Ms. Patricia Espinosa, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC); and Ms. Ahunna Eziakonwa UNDP Regional Director for Africa.

“Africa is already investing well over two percent of its GDP that is our estimate, in just adaptation. That’s ten times the ODA that is coming to the continent. It is a signal and it is also a message that the world must understand because that perception that climate finance is in lieu of countries themselves taking a leadership role is a very convenient misconception. And that is why the symbolism of the African Adaptation Initiative goes far beyond the immediate financial volume.” said Achim Steiner.

Expounding on the context and rationale of the upcoming AAI report, Ms. Kulthoum Omari, Coordinator of the AAI, presented four flagship programmes set to launched by the end of the year. Based on AAI’s four pillars, they focus on Enhancing Climate information Services (in partnership with the African Development Bank  and the World Metereological Organization; Building the adaptive capacity of communities around the Lake Chad River Basin, through early warning systems, in partnership with the Lake Chad Basin Commission (LCBC); Advancing risk transfer in Africa with the African Risk Capacity; and Strengthening knowledge management for adaptation planning in Africa with UNDP.

The roundtable was marked by an announcement, by the representative of the Government of India, of a partnership agreement with AAI for a flagship programme aimed at strengthening coastal communities in Gabon.

The African Adaptation Initiative (AAI) was launched during the 21st Conference of the Parties (COP) in December 2015 to galvanize support to scale up adaptation measures addressing climate change-induced damages and losses, which are estimated to affect 7 percent of African countries’ GDP.

Its goal is to improve the provision of climate information services to support better decision-making; strengthen policies and institutions; enhance on-the-ground action; and mobilizing climate investment.

The AAI framework document was launched in November 2016 during the COP 22 in Marrakech, Morocco, and its workplan for 2017-2018 was approved the following year in Libreville, Gabon, which hosts the AAI permanent secretary.

The maiden African Adaptation Report will be launched at the 24th Conference of the Parties (COP24) in Katowice, Poland.

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