More than 30 heads of state and global leaders have committed to prioritizing actions that help African countries adapt to the impacts of climate change and build forward better.
The leaders made the commitment Tuesday during a virtual Leaders’ Dialogue convened by the African Development Bank (AfDB), the Global Center on Adaptation and the Africa Adaptation Initiative.
"Africa now faces the dual onslaught of climate change – currently estimated at between $7 billion and $15 billion each year – and COVID-19, which has claimed 114,000 lives," according to a statement by the AfDB on Wednesday.
During the dialogue, Felix Tshisekedi, president of the Democratic Republic of Congo, invited his fellow counterparts to “revisit our climate ambitions and accelerate the implementation of our actions planned under our national priorities."
"To do this, we will need to focus on actions to adapt to the impacts of climate change. These include nature-based solutions, energy transition, an enhanced transparency framework, technology transfer and climate finance," he added, speaking in his capacity as the African Union chair.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said: “African nations are showing leadership…The Africa Adaptation Acceleration Program, and many other ambitious African initiatives, must be empowered to fully deliver on their goals.”
Former UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and the Chair of the Global Center on Adaptation said: "Africa must make up for lost ground and lost time. Climate change did not stop because of COVID-19, and neither should the urgent task of preparing humanity to live with the multiple effects of a warming planet."
AfDB President Akinwumi A. Adesina said with partners, the bank intends to mobilize $25 billion in financing for the success of the Africa Adaptation Acceleration Program (AAAP).
"It is time for developed countries to meet their promise of providing $100 billion annually for climate finance. And a greater share of this should go to climate adaptation," Adesina said.
The AAAP was launched in January 2021 by the AfDB to scale up and accelerate climate change adaptation actions across Africa.
Speaking on behalf of US President Joe Biden, US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen congratulated the AfDB and the Global Center for Adaptation for developing the Africa Adaptation Acceleration Program.
"We support the program…to help ensure that together, we can avoid the worst effects of climate change," she said.
"Africa has a unique opportunity to advance its development exponentially if it invests now in a climate-smart adapted future based on a deep understanding of climate risks and solutions that put nature and people at the center," said Patrick Verkooijen, CEO of the Global Center on Adaptation.
By Felix Tih