What you need to know:
- Experts say the famine ravaging across Africa as a result of climate change, would be a thing of the past if the Continent invested heavily in agriculture.
- A recent report by the World Food Programme (WFP) and Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) shows that 5.4 million Kenyans are going to bed hungry due to lack of food occasioned by prolonged droughts in several parts of the country.
- Kenya estimates that drought costs the country 2.8 percent of the GDP with total damage and losses estimated at USD 12.1 billion (Sh 138 billion).
African countries will use the Africa Climate Summit in September to table their adaptation investment plans and set the tone for this year's United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) and Conference of Parties on climate change (COP28).
Over 10,000 delegates, including heads of state and government, are expected to gather in Nairobi from September 4-6 to discuss the pressing issues of climate change and its impact on the continent, adaptation investment plans, opportunities and how to bridge the USD 41.3 billion (Sh5.7 trillion) annual adaptation financing gap.
A report dubbed: The Adaptation Economy which was released in February by Standard Chartered Bank, warned that Kenya will greatly feel the brunt of climate change if the country fails to invest a minimum of $200 million (Sh25 billion) in adaptation projects annually in the next seven years.
The report said although Kenya is making great strides in laying the foundations to manage climate risk, the country still needs to adapt to climate change at a faster pace by building more resilient agriculture, industry and infrastructure.
“During the summit, heads of state will chair boardrooms where each country will put their investment needs and priorities on the table. The countries will say we are financially constrained but this is what we plan to do; and ask the international community to put their resources on the table too,” says Prof Patrick Verkooijen, the Chief Executive Officer of the Global Center on Adaptation (GCA).
According to Prof Verkooijen, this year’s summit will be different from all the previous ones because there will be something tangible at the end of the three days.
“This year’s summit will have something tangible at the end. For instance, when you are from Makueni, Kenya, and enter the summit, you will understand how much money will come to Kenya for adaptation and eventually how much will come to Makueni.”
The summit is being co-hosted by the Government of Kenya and the African Union Commission and is co-convened by the African Development Bank (AfDB) and GCA which is working with Kenya to mobilise financial commitments for adaptation during the summit.
GCA together with AfDB are targeting to mobilise USD 25 billion (Sh3.5 trillion) for adaptation in Africa by 2025 through Africa Adaptation Acceleration Program (AAAP) initiative. Prof Verkooijen calls on African leaders to raise their voices by articulating the needs to invest more in adaptation just like mitigation.
“After the September Summit, there are expectations that the adaptation finances for Africa will be doubled from USD 20 billion dollars to USD 40 billion a year, and also the loss and damage fund will be capitalised,” he says.
The Loss and Damage Fund was created last year during COP 27 which took place in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, with the aim of providing financial assistance to nations most vulnerable and impacted by the effects of climate change.
The fund comes in handy in case of loss of lives and damage of livelihoods as a result of unavoidable risks of climate change like rising sea levels, prolonged heatwaves, desertification, the acidification of the sea, bushfires, species extinction and crop failures.
“The smartest way is investing in adaptation first which is vital in making economies resilient to the impacts of climate change,” says Prof Verkooijen.
“Given to fiscal constraints, inflations and high cost of living globally there is now a tendency to think about loss and damage. But in Africa, climate agenda is adaptation agenda.”
Prof Verkooijen says the famine ravaging across Africa as a result of climate change, would be a thing of the past if the Continent invested heavily in agriculture.
A recent report by the World Food Programme (WFP) and Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) shows that 5.4 million Kenyans are going to bed hungry due to lack of food occasioned by prolonged droughts in several parts of the country.
Kenya approximates that drought costs the country 2.8 per cent of the GDP with total damage and losses estimated at USD 12.1 billion (Sh138 billion).
“About 65 per cent of all arable land left in the world is in Africa. Africa has the potential to produce food worth USD 1 trillion. But ironically, the continent imports food worth USD75 billion annually. What if Africa invests in agro-food business to make it climate resilient? Africa is capable of feeding itself and becoming a food basket for the rest of the world,” says Prof Verkooijen.
“Africa's agenda in the future should be about opportunities rather than loss and damage. The continent should move from ground zero of the climate crisis to the solutions provider of the food crisis. We need a situation where during droughts the farmers can have unlimited access to drought-resistant crops. When it rains heavily, the infrastructures remain intact, families can access hospitals and floods cannot interrupt learning in schools. This is the sole purpose of the summit in September.”
Kenya's Cabinet Secretary for Environment, Climate Change and Forestry Hon Soipan Tuya says the Summit will be held under the theme, "Africa Together for Bold, innovative and Resourced Climate Action: Unlocking Climate Finance and Green Investments.”
“The Summit will seek to consolidate Africa's voice ahead of this year's COP28 that will be held in the United Arab Emirates, as well as craft the continent's green growth blueprint,” she says.
According to the CS, the Summit will also set the tone for UNGA and the UN Secretary General's Climate Summit in September.
“President William Ruto is clear that the Summit will chart a green growth pathway for the African continent, setting the stage for Africa to lead the globe towards a more ecologically responsible global industrialisation, catalysed by financing that is accessible, adequate, and affordable.”
It is expected that countries will use the Summit to strike new partnerships that will increase climate financing and enhance investments in low-carbon and climate-resilient development in the Continent.
Africa Climate Summit and Africa Climate Week Secretariat is led by the Director for Climate Change at Kenya's Ministry for Environment, Climate Change and Forestry Dr Pacifica Ogolla and Ms Leah Wanambwa of the African Union Commission (AUC).