African leaders frustrated that leaders from the north avoided COP27 preparatory meeting on adaptation

With two months to go until COP27, leaders of African countries had hoped to take advantage of the Rotterdam meeting held this last week  to summon international attention on adaptation concerns. Well, they were disappointed. Laurence Caramel discusses the situation in an article on the Le Monde website.


African leaders denounce rich countries’ absence from climate change summit

One by one, a group of African leaders has condemned the absence of heads of state from industrialized countries at the summit on Africa’s adaptation to climate change on Monday, September 5 in Rotterdam, in The Netherlands.

Those speaking out included Senegalese leader Macky Sall (on behalf of the African Union (AU), whose rotating chairmanship he presently holds); the leader of Ghana, Nana Akufo-Addo; the leader of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Felix Tshisekedi; the president of Ethiopia, Sahle-Work Zewde, and Moussa Faki Mahamat, chair of the AU Commission.

“We made the effort to come to Rotterdam from Africa. They are absent from this room when it was certainly easier for them to travel,” said the Senegalese president. “They are the main polluters and must finance adaptation” of countries that are not responsible for climate change, he added.

Two months ahead of the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP27) in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, African leaders had hoped to take advantage of this meeting, organized by the Global Centre for Adaptation (GCA). They wanted to turn international attention towards one of the continent’s priorities, at a time when the Covid-19 pandemic and inflationary shock linked to the Ukrainian crisis are reducing its financial capacities.

Thirty-three out of 54 African states are among the world’s least developed countries. “Our countries are already being forced to spend between 2% and 5% of their GDP in order to deal with a problem they did not create. They receive an insignificant share of international funding. This is one of the most shocking injustices to the continent,” criticized Moussa Faki Mahamat.

‘Africans are not begging’

Approximately 50 billion dollars per year is needed to implement adaptation policies developed by African governments between now and 2030. Only a portion of this amount can be met from domestic resources. Rwanda, for example, has already warned that it is unable to cover more than 40% of its needs, Ghana a third, and Kenya just over 10%.

In 2019 and 2020, industrialized countries contributed 11 billion dollars, according to data published by the GCA. Of this, 97% came from official financing, particularly from multilateral development banks, and more than half was in the form of loans, contributing to the countries’ debt burden.

The African Development Bank (AfDB) and the GCA launched an African Adaptation Acceleration Program in 2021. It aims to raise 25 billion dollars by 2025 to support, for example, adaptation initiatives in agriculture, or build infrastructure that can withstand climate shocks. “Africans are not just begging and waiting. They’re putting money on the table,” said AfDB President Akinwumi Adesina, reminding industrialized countries of their duty of solidarity.

This program has two components: a seed fund of 250 million dollars to assess the feasibility of projects, and then a second phase financing plan. The AfDB hopes to raise this amount during COP27. France, which was represented in Rotterdam by its secretary of state for development, Chrysoula Zacharopoulou, announced that it would contribute 10 million euros to support projects related to the Great Green Wall and the FARM (Food and Agriculture Resilience Mission) initiative, promoted by French President Emmanuel Macron and Macky Sall.

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