African CSOs Bold Adaptation Demands Ahead of COP28

Dr Sultan Al Jaber COP28 President addressing Delegates at Kenyatta international convention Centre on September 5,2023 during the Africa climate summit. PHOTO|SILA KIPLAGAT

What you need to know:

  •  Their paper raises concern over the inadequacy of post-COP27 discussions, including the Paris Climate Finance Summit
  • The African CSOs also call for the urgent need for decisive actions and commitment at COP28 to address the disproportionate vulnerability of the continent to climate change

African Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) have launched a joint position paper addressing seven key demands on issues of climate adaptation and loss and damage ahead of COP28.

The launch comes only two weeks after the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) released its Adaptation Gap Report of 2023. The report shows that global adaptation is under financed, and countries must be prepared to initiate adaptation actions. It notes that to implement domestic adaptation priorities, countries require an estimated USD387 billion every year. 
The CSOs stated the regrettable absence of tangible progress in adaptation and climate finance post-COP27 despite the establishment of the loss and damage fund. 
Their paper raises concerns over the inadequacy of post-COP27 discussions, including the Paris Climate Finance Summit, particularly in crucial areas such as finance, gender equity, and agriculture for Africa. Ongoing disputes over Loss and Damage funding, governance, and eligibility further cast uncertainty over COP28 outcomes. 
The CSOs are explicitly calling for COP28 to prioritise the support and implementation of national adaptation plans, ensuring alignment with the Global Goal on Adaptation and addressing the specific needs of the African continent. They stress the importance of closing the adaptation finance gap, calling for fulfilling commitments to double adaptation funding. They propose setting new targets, reforming the financial system, and prioritising accessible and quality finance. They also highlight the need to incentivise financing options favourable to Africa, including debt relief, tax waivers, and grants.
Loss and damage fund emerge as a critical focal point in their demands for COP28. They insist on the fund's operationalisation and call for the launch of technical assistance through the Santiago Network on L&D. Effective governance for the L&D fund, serving both the UNFCCC and the Paris Agreement, is deemed essential for COP28's success.
On the Global Stocktake (GST), the CSOs are urging decisive action by emphasising the need for the GST to respond to the findings of the IPCC and prioritise closing the adaptation finance gap while recognising the link between adaptation, sustainable development, and Africa's vulnerability.
In their joint position paper, the African CSOs also call for the urgent need for decisive actions and commitment at COP28 to address the disproportionate vulnerability of the continent to climate change. They cite the recommendations presented in the paper as a reflection of a collective call for a sustainable, just, and resilient future for Africa and the global community.
Lina Ahmed, Policy Advisor for Climate Loss & Damage at German Watch, stresses the critical need for substantial capitalisation of the loss and damage fund at COP28: "We call for pledges in the billions, and there must be a robust follow-up mechanism to ensure pledged amounts align with the actual scale required. Human rights principles should be incorporated, and a transparent exit strategy is crucial, especially if the fund transitions from World Bank hosting."
According to Bridget Mugambe, Programmes Coordinator at the Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa, the CSOs’ paper champions agroecology and advocates for diversity, livelihoods, and access to local markets by challenging the status quo in the food system agenda. She calls for decentralising power, placing farmers at the centre of food systems and integrating indigenous wisdom to empower food producers.
Jane Lumumba, UN Climate Action, stresses the private sector's pivotal role in providing crucial financial backing for adaptation efforts. Lumumba advocates for agile policies that seamlessly integrate climate adaptation into existing sectors, emphasising the need to fortify and mobilise for lasting impact.
Highlighting the widening adaptation finance gap and its impact on food systems, Mwandwe Chileshe, Director for Food Security, Agriculture, and Nutrition at Global Citizen, emphasises the need for transparency in addressing the gap and calls for a change in the global financial architecture to prevent Africa from being stuck in a cycle of debt.
Dr. Darlington Sibanda, Ph.D from the African Climate & Development Initiative (ACDI) at the University of Cape Town, underscores the need to acknowledge the significant scale of costs related to loss and damage in developing countries. Dr. Sibanda emphasises leveraging the Global Stocktake at COP28 to align Climate and Biodiversity Action.
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