ECA, AU, World Bank team up to tackle climate change risks in Africa

The Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), World Bank and African Union Commission, have joined forces to look for ways of strengthening regional capacities to improve the continent’s readiness for climate risks and enhance the resilience of its development to impacts of climate change as a whole.

The three started off with a three-day workshop in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Wednesday, May 23, 2012 with two components, namely; Climate Vulnerability of Africa’s Infrastructure: A Strategic Regional Approach; and Africa Climate Risk Management and Green Growth.

Organised by the World Bank in collaboration with the African Union Commission and ECA’s African Climate Policy Centre, the workshop has brought together some 60 participants representing Regional Economic Communities, River Basin organisations, Power Pools and a broad range of stakeholders.

Addressing the opening session yesterday morning, Mr. Josué Dioné, Director of the Food Security and Sustainable Development Division at ECA, called on participants to ensure that the two components of the workshop are strengthened with specific details and that an effective partnership is established for following up on the outcomes of the encounter.

Also speaking at the opening session, Mr. Cheikh Dakate, energy expert at the African Union Commission welcomed the workshop as a right step in the direction charted by the Commission to help Member States better prepare against the impacts of climate change.

At the opening session, one of two experts from the World Bank leading the technical discussions of the workshop, Mr. Nagaraja Rao Harshadeep, Senior Environmental Specialist, Africa Region, presented the workshop overview, including the objectives, structure and agenda.

The other, Raffaello Cervigni, Lead Environmental Economist Regional Coordinator, Climate Change Sustainable Development Sector, Department of Environment and Natural Resources for Africa Region and Peter Droogers, consultant at FutureWater, made an introduction to a study on Infrastructure and Climate Change, entitled: ‘Addressing the Climate Vulnerability of Africa’s Infrastructure: A Strategic Regional Approach.’

According to an ECA Press Release Numbered 76/2012, announcing the workshop, the analysis builds on the data platform already established under the Africa Infrastructure Country Diagnostic (AICD), but with significant enhancements to assess climate risks and infrastructure investment viability with respect to future uncertainty in climate outcomes in Africa.

It states further, that the study on infrastructure and climate change builds on the Africa Infrastructure Country Diagnostic (AICD, 2010), which was developed by a partnership including AUC, NEPAD, RECs, AfDB, DFID, PPIAF, AFD, EC, KFW and the World Bank.

The press release issued by the ECA Information and Communication Service, said the study resulted in a comprehensive analysis of the continent’s infrastructure development agenda, including estimates of the financing required to achieve relevant Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and other standards of service.

To the ECA, the proposed study on climate change would add an explicit climate dimension to AICD, so that it could become possible to quantify the impacts of climate change on the level and composition of spending needs for network infrastructure in the water, power pool, and transport sectors in Africa, and also help to identify approaches to evaluating specific infrastructure investments in the face of climate uncertainty.

The Economic Commission announced that in addition to the study, a proposed Climate Change Risk Management and Green Growth Project (CCRM/GG) is expected to improve the readiness of regional and national entities in Africa to effectively manage climate risks.

Partners, it says, are hopeful that the project would provide an integrative vehicle for capacity-building and investment readiness to enable African nations and regional entities to effectively utilise evolving climate financing for climate resilience and low-carbon growth, to provide both climate and development benefits.

Meanwhile, a good number of regional agencies working on climate-related fields, regional training institutions, the Government of Japan, the Global Fund for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR), and other Development Partners are supporting the workshop.

By Edmund Smith-Asante

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