African leaders call for accelerated climate finance
DAKAR, Senegal (AP) – African leaders gathered at a virtual summit on Tuesday calling for increased action and funding to tackle the effects of climate change already being felt on the 1.3 billion continent .
The Leaders’ Dialogue on the Climate Emergency and COVID in Africa saw representatives discuss the dual challenge of dealing with the pandemic alongside climate change.
“Africa remains a continent with immense opportunities if we act now to contain the pandemic, face the heavy debt burden and work on plans and tools to tackle climate change,” said the new chief of the World Trade Organization Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala.
The presidents of Congo, Senegal, Zimbabwe, Kenya and other countries have spoken of the need for support to accelerate the effort against climate change, which has affected food security and health on the continent.
“Africa has only contributed 3% of global emissions, but we are the continent that… is already paying the highest price,” Gabonese President Ali Bongo Ondimba said.
“Every day the thunderstorms seem more violent, the floods are more frequent and the droughts more severe… our crops fail. People are forced to flee their homes, becoming climate refugees, ”he added. “The sea level is rising, potentially drowning cities… The oceans turn to acid and salt enters cultivated land, posing serious additional problems for food security.”
Akinwumi A. Adesina, President of the African Development Bank Group, said developed countries have a responsibility to support those in Africa as it is the lowest carbon emitter and faces the worst consequences and impacts of climate change.
“Ten of the 12 countries most at risk of drought are in Africa. Eight of the 12 countries most affected by agricultural risks are also in Africa, ”he said. “Yet Africa is not getting the resources it needs to adapt to climate change. Globally, only 10% of climate finance is spent on adaptation, and Africa has received only 3% of global climate finance. ”
He said the development bank group’s goal is to mobilize $ 25 billion for climate change adaptation over the next four years.
United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called on G7 members and other developed countries to increase their share of climate finance for adaptation and resilience from 20% to 50% of their climate finance total.
He also called for increased support for efforts on the continent. Guterres called for concrete proposals by the November COP26 climate conference to facilitate and accelerate climate finance for African nations.
Tuesday’s virtual summit was hosted by the African Development Bank and the Global Center on Adaptation