Who Should Finance Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation In Africa?

African countries are vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. This may be a result of their geographical location, poor infrastructural development, and limited capacity or funds to adapt to its effects. Due to our warm climate, weather disasters are more likely in our part of the world.

Damaged farmland due to flood in Delta state, Nigeria. Photo credit: Popmuse Nigeria news
According to Mr Binyam Yacob, a climate negotiator with the Ethiopian Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate, “Ethiopia is already experiencing recurrent drought and shorter rainfalls, and since 80% of the economy is based on Agriculture, the country is very vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. Thus, developing an ambitious plan or greener path way is not a luxury but rather a necessity”.

Changing climactic conditions will affect agricultural production on which the economy of most African countries is dependent, and significantly reduce income generation, amongst other challenges. A study, published in the journal Nature Scientific Reports, shows that more than half of the highest-emitting countries rank among the least vulnerable to climate change and nearly two-thirds of the countries with low or moderate emissions are acutely vulnerable to the effects. So, who should finance mitigation and adaptation processes?

Damaged farmland due to flood in Delta state, Nigeria. Photo credit: Popmuse Nigeria news
Logically, we expect developed countries to provide climate funds since their wealth is mainly from industrialization, with its consequent high greenhouse gas emission rates. The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, agreed in 1992, that these countries should provide "new and additional financial resources" to developing countries to help cut their emissions and adapt to climate change. At the climate change summit in Copenhagen in 2009, industrialized countries committed to give $100 billion per year in additional climate finance from 2020 onwards.

To get things going, immediate 'fast-start' finance of up to $30 billion was promised until the end of 2012.  For instance, Canada’s international climate finance supports a wide range of programs and initiatives that help developing countries manage risks and build resilience to the impacts of climate change, deploy clean energy technology, and manage natural resources sustainably. Oxfam reports, published in the UK Guardian newspaper, stated that “Developing countries will have to pay $270 billion extra each year to adapt to the impacts of climate change if global pledges to cut greenhouse gas emissions do not increase”.

Since the national budget of most African countries cannot successfully fund climate change, how then do we access the funds promised by these industrialized nations? How do we propose effective plans for funds from International organizations, multinational and bilateral corporations, and how can they be used sustainably?

How do we access the climate funds?

African countries will need to develop effective and strategic national plans that will include high quality data on tackling climate change using the resources provided to them. This will make it easier to develop high quality proposals for climate funds. For example, Rwanda’s Green Growth and Climate Resilience Strategy outlines 14 adaptation and mitigation programs that aim to foster sustainable growth, food security and integrated resource management. We need accredited institutions that can effectively deploy money and make sure initiatives are adequately implemented and financed.

The Adaptation Fund or Green Climate Fund assesses whether institutions have the capacity to manage monies allocated to them, and whether projects are implemented according to international standards. For us to successfully access climate funds we need to invest our time and resources, put in place the right people and plans, and ensure proper coordination and involvement of relevant stakeholders.

How do we help ourselves?

While we are waiting for support, the Nigerian government should ensure proper disbursement and responsible use of the ecological fund and other sundry funds targeted at improving the environment. We should control our emissions, as we are also responsible for global emissions from our expanding energy infrastructure, and invest more in low carbon emission technologies. We should put a price on carbon; industries should pay for each CO2 they emit into the atmosphere. We should go green! Strong policy commitments and investments in a green economy is the way to go. Forests! We should encourage every form of afforestation and dissuade deforestation. Forests are beautiful ecosystems that help in storing carbon and cooling the planet. It is important that we invest towards a cleaner environment today and achieve climate goals. #plantatree #conservetrees #notodeforestation #greeneconomy #protectecosystems.

Omoyemeh Jennifer Ukachukwu is a natural resource manager, an environmental enthusiast and writes from Abuja. [email protected]