Low funding hindering AU efforts on climate change
By Judith Akolo
The African Union initiatives to combat climate change are facing serious challenges due to low funding.
Speaking at the Heads of State Summit in Malabo Equatorial Guinea, Tanzania President Jakaya Kikwete who is also the chairman of the Committee of African Heads of State on Climate Change (CAHOSCC) warned that the negative effects of climate change are causing devastation on the continent.
President Kikwete said Africa needs in excess of US$ 15 billion every year to put in place both mitigation and adaptation measures needed to combat climate change.
“The cost is between US$7 to 15 Billion yet what Africa has got is less than US$ 132 million,” said President Kikwete and added, “This costs will further increase as temperature rises and the cost could rise by the year 2020.”
President Jakaya Kikwete urged Africa to master a political will and invest in technologies that will help to reduce carbon emissions noting that Africa needs to realise carbon neutral economies.
“There is an urgent need to have African governments to make pressure to bear to the international community to provide the funding necessary,” said President Kikwete.
He said the key areas for attention include putting in place climate financing mechanisms that aid in realising adaptation.
Kikwete said the reason why most African countries are unable to access funding to be used in combating climate change is because most do not have the institutions needed for the utilisation of the funds.
“To be able to access funds from the adaptation fund and the green climate fund, each country has to put in place a national implementing entity and a national designated authority for each of the two funds respectively,” said Kikwete.
The CAHOSCC Chairmana noted that hardly ten countries in Africa have put in place the institutions needed to access the funds.
He warned that it is expected that maize yields are set to drop by 19 per cent and 68% of beans, “We are set to experience devastating droughts and floods that are cyclic in nature,” said Kikwete.
He questioned the rationale of rewarding those replanting forests and not those who are doing their best to preserve already existing forests.
He urged the international community to reward both those who are conserving forests and those who are replanting depleted forests.
“We need to talk about this until they appreciate the need to recognise those who are conserving forests in much the same way as those who are replanting,” said Kikwete.
Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni urged African countries to conserve as well as replant depleted forests so as to regulate local weather patterns.
“Karamoja receives much less rainfall that West Nile in my country,” he said and added, “this is because while West Nile receives a lot of moisture from the Congo forest Karamoja is in a dry area.
At the meeting attended by Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Amb. Amina Mohammed, President Museveni said rapid expansion of agricultural land is eating up into forest areas, yet agricultural productivity is dropping, “while many of the local people are moving into agriculture as an opening for employment.
“There is no way you can keep so many people in agriculture, 70 per cent of the population, many of them are not productive, they are in disguised unemployment,” said President Museveni at the meeting attended by the Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Economy Rhoda Peace Tumusiime and the Chairperson of the African Union Commission Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.
The Chairperson of the AUC said whereas Africa is the least polluter, it bears the brunt of extreme weather events arising from climate change such as floods, droughts, coastal erosion, desertification and diseases directly linked to climate change,” she added.
She said Africa cannot afford to lose out on the climate change debate noting that already in Agenda 2063 themed The Africa We Want, the AUC is prioritising a skills revolution that takes cognisance of the need to use technology to aid in climate adaptation and mitigation “and find innovative solutions to today’s challenges.
“Dr. Dlamini-Zuma however called on Africa to see the challenges as opportunities for investment in technologies that offer hope and solutions to the climate change debacle.