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Bold action on climate change for Africa supported

By Otiato Opali in Nairobi, Kenya | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2021-04-09 17:25

More than 30 African heads of state and global leaders have committed to prioritize actions that help African countries adapt to the impacts of climate change and build forward better.

This happened during a virtual leaders' dialogue convened by the African Development Bank, the Global Center on Adaptation and the Africa Adaptation Initiative where African leaders were joined by their global counterparts in rallying behind the bold new Africa Adaptation Acceleration Program. The program's objective is to mobilize $25 billion to accelerate climate change adaptation actions across Africa.

While addressing the virtual meeting, Felix Tshisekedi, president of the Democratic Republic of Congo and African Union Chairperson, invited his fellow leaders to revisit their climate ambitions and accelerate the implementation of their actions planned under their national priorities.

"To do this we will need to focus on actions to adapt to the impacts of climate change. These include nature-based solutions, energy transition, enhanced transparency framework, technology transfer and climate finance," Tshisekedi said.

According to the African Development Bank, the Africa Adaptation Acceleration Program is built to address the impacts of COVID-19, climate change, and the continent's worst recession in 25 years. This is why today's unprecedented show of support for the financing of African adaptation is so significant.

Akinwumi Adesina, president of African Development Bank, said the bank intends to mobilize $25 billion in financing for the success of the Africa Adaptation Acceleration Program.

"It is time for developed countries to meet their promise of providing $100 billion annually for climate finance. So far, more than 20 trillion dollars have gone into COVID-19 stimulus packages in developed countries. The International Monetary Fund's plan to issue $650 billion of new Special Drawing Rights to boost global reserves and liquidity will be enormously helpful to support green growth and climate financing for economic recovery," Adesina said.

Ali Bongo Ondimba, Gabon's president and Chair of the African Union-led Africa Adaptation Initiative, spoke of Gabon's record in emission reductions and said that Gabon is one of the few countries in the world that is carbon positive.

"We have to insist that equal attention be paid to climate adaptation and mitigation in climate finance. Africa calls on the developed nations to shoulder the historic responsibility and to join the program to accelerate the adaptation in Africa," Ondimba said.

While addressing the gathering, Antonio Guterres, the UN Secretary-General, said that African nations are showing leadership and the Africa Adaptation Acceleration Program, and many other ambitious African initiatives, must be empowered to fully deliver on their goals.

"Universal access to energy in Africa, a priority in the coming years, could be provided primarily through renewable energy. I call for a comprehensive package of support to meet these dual objectives by COP 26. It is achievable, it is necessary, it is overdue and it is smart," Guterres said.

Ban Ki-moon, the eighth secretary-general of the United Nations and the chair of the Global Center on Adaptation, said that the COVID-19 pandemic is eroding recent progress in building climate resilience and leaving countries and communities more vulnerable to future shocks.

"Africa must make up for lost ground and lost time. Climate change did not stop because of COVID-19, and neither should the urgent task of preparing humanity to live with the multiple effects of a warming planet."

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