AfDB addresses climate change in Africa

climate-changeFood insecurity and climate change are already inhibiting human well-being and economic growth throughout the world and these problems are poised to accelerate.Threats from climate change, population growth and unsustainable resource use are affecting different regions of the world. Climate change is a major threat to development outcomes in Africa, as the continent loses an estimated $17 billion annually in efforts to respond to the challenges posed by climate change.

According to an Economist of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), Prof. Emmanuel Nnadozie, “The impact of climate change is huge on the economy and the people,” he said as can be seen in the shrinking of natural resources such as the Lake Chad, and sea erosion at Keta in Ghana.

He said the devastating impact of climate change is costing Africa a lot already.

The financial requirement for climate change adaptation programmes in Africa is estimated at around $20 billion to $30 billion per year.
Some studies indicate that trees are dying in the Sahel region of Africa as a result of human-induced climate change.

A study by the University of California, Berkeley says,“Rainfall in the Sahel has dropped 20-30 percent in the 20th century, the world’s most severe long-term drought since measurements from rainfall gauges began in the mid-1800s.”

Even though Africa’s contribution to climate change is very small, the continent is at greater risk of  the consequences of extreme weather. It is  estimated that less than three percent of the world’s emissions of greenhouse gasses emanate from Africa.

In view of the challenges posed to the continent’s development by climate change, the African Development Bank (AfDB) believes that the continent needs financing that is adequate and accessible. The Bank also believes that country driven solutions are key to addressing the challenges of climate change, especially, nationally appropriate mitigation actions.

According to the Bank, green growth is not only about low carbon development, but also about jobs and vibrant economies that benefit all.

Stating its position at the COP 17, in Durban, South Africa in 2011, the Bank indicated that harnessing health and poverty-reduction goals to climate-change mitigation and adaptation strategies can maximise cost-effective use of resources, also helping the continent reach the Millennium Development Goals.

The AfDB has initiated a socio-economic programme – the Sahel programme in Mali to address the challenges posed by desertification by reducing its impacts on farmers. It would also be used to provide irrigation schemes for farmers to reduce their dependence on the rains.

At the fourth meeting of the Board of Programme Directors of the Climate for Development in Africa Initiative (Clim-Dev) held on March 6 and 7, 2013,  in the Tunisian capital Tunis and hosted by theAfDB,  the high-level meeting marked a turning point in Africa’s fight against climate change, particularly in Africa itself.

As a result of the meeting, the Clim-Dev Special Fund (CDSF) – an ad hoc investment fund set aside to finance climate change activities in Africa, becomes operational this year (2013).

According to AfDB, in addition to the Fund, resources and the possibility of disseminating robust and viable statistical data on climate and its evolution in Africa, CDSF will finance concrete operations on the ground.

Meanwhile, 14 projects are being reviewed under the Climate for Development initiative in Africa currently, the Bank noted. Established in 2009 under the joint auspices of AfDB, AUC and UNECA, the Clim-Dev Africa Initiative was launched in 2012 and its initial resources further enhanced by contributions made by African, Caribbean and Pacific Group (ACP) countries in February 2013.

Whereas management of the Clim-Dev Special Fund has been entrusted to the African Development Bank, Clim-Dev Africa is managed by the Department of Agriculture and Agro-Industry (OSAN) within the AfDB.

The AfDB in its semi-annual report on its work to implement the Climate Investment Funds (CIF) in Africa, covering July-December 2012, indicated its commitment to channel $1 billion from the $2.5 billion CIF allocation to 22 projects  in Africa.

For instance, as work on projects in Kenya, Morocco, Mozambique, Niger, and South Africa move into full implementation, backed by $1.1 billion of the Bank’s own funding and $420 million CIF funding.

In its response to climate change through these projects, the Afdb  expects results as these countries move toward transformation to climate-smart development. Through the eight projects under implementation, it is expected that 6.9 million tonnes of CO2 emissions will be avoided every year, 1.3 million households and businesses will get new access to power, nearly 42,000 hectares of land will be newly dedicated to climate resilient activities, and 150,000 farmers will gain access to climate information, including 50,000 women farmers and 3,000 villages.

In implementing  the Northern Rural Growth Project in Ghana, a project financed by the AfDB, four main mitigation/enhancement measures in response to climate change challenges are being addressed.

Firstly, the Bank is preparing two Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) studies which will encompass key policy objectives, including the implementation of the Multilateral Environmental Agreements (e.g. Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification and Persistent
Organic Pollutions Conventions), food security and emergency preparedness, watershed management and enhanced institutional coordination.

Secondly the strategy will consider the institutional strengthening of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture’s (MOFA’s) Environmental Unit (to ensure the implementation of the SEA’s recommendations) and of the three EPA’s Regional Offices (to ensure the enforcement of strict design and construction criteria for river-based small-scale irrigation, small dams, roads, and markets facilities).

Thirdly, there will be training of staff of Micro-Finance Institutions (MFIs) on environmental and social risk management:;

Finally, the assignment of a full-time national Environment Management Specialist (EMS) to the PCM.The EMS will support, among others, thecoordination and follow-up of the SEA studies and the implementation of their respective EMF, develop a training programme for MOFA/EPA at national, regional and district levels (screening of irrigation programmes, watershed management, water monitoring, pesticide management, sustainable land management, etc.), monitor the application of the environmental screening process for the CDF and the infrastructure’s sub-projects, establish MoU with EPA, Water Resources Commission, Forestry Commission, the Ministry of Health, etc., coordinate the watershed management planning process with District Assemblies, support EPA and the District Assemblies in the establishment and operation of the District Environmental Management Committee.

By Emmanuel K. Dogbevi

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