The Global Center on Adaptation (GCA) has published “State and Trends in Adaptation in Africa Report 2021 – How Adaptation Can Make Africa Safer, Greener and More Prosperous in a Warming World” (STA21) to call for COP26 and development partners to increase resilience and regeneration resources to the Africa Adaptation Acceleration Program (AAAP).
Ban Ki-moon, 8th Secretary General of the United Nations and Chair of the GCA, highlighted AAAP as an important opportunity to realize a resilient and prosperous future for Africa, saying “The climate emergency has Africa at the cross-roads. Business as usual is a sure-fire route to chaos. But adapt to it and Africa will thrive.”
STA21 presents a blueprint for climate adaptation and showcases the opportunities climate adaptation offers to solve previously intractable problems and put Africa on a more resilient pathway towards “green growth”.
Patrick Verkooijen, GCA’s CEO, commented “Africa will suffer higher GDP losses than most other regions of the world. These impacts can only be reduced with adaptation. Thousands of lives and millions of livelihoods have already been sacrificed in Africa because we are far from delivering what is needed in adaptation today. For COP26 to succeed, Glasgow must deliver for Africa. To do so, it must bring more ambition and more finance to help Africa adapt to the pace of a climate emergency devastating the continent with increasingly serious consequences for the world’s poorest and most vulnerable.”
The report outlines the financial and macro-economic risk climate change poses to Africa and the imperative for the continent to scale up adaptation to reduce the economic costs of climate change.
Patricia Espinosa, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) spoke about the importance of finance for adaptation: “Key to success in adaptation and resilience — like so many other issues related to climate change — is adequate finance. At COP26 we will continue to call for wider-ranging and comprehensive financial support for developing nations. The $100 billion pledge was a commitment that was made in the UNFCCC process more than 10 years ago. It’s time to deliver.”
Without adaptation action, projections estimate that climate change will lead to an equivalent of 2 percent to 4 percent annual loss in GDP in the continent by 2040, with the poor, women, and excluded populations bearing the brunt of the impact.
Kristalina Georgieva, Managing Director, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund said, “Effects of climate change in Africa threaten lives, jobs, and the substantial economic and development progress of the past two decades. As the GCA State and Trends in Adaptation report rightly says, adaptation is a necessity and must go hand-in-hand with reducing poverty and improving livelihoods. African countries need to do their part and have created the Africa Adaptation Acceleration Program but cannot do it alone. Along with bold action to reduce emissions at COP26, the international community must deliver on its commitment to provide at least $100 billion a year in climate finance for developing countries where financial flows for adaptation must be on a par with financial flows for mitigation. This is essential for securing a sustainable global recovery.”
Yet the GCA report shows that the benefits of adaptation measures are frequently more than twice or as much as five times or greater than their costs. In addition, moving quickly to adapt is especially beneficial, with a benefit-cost ratio for early action of at least 12 to 1.
Uhuru Kenyatta, President of Kenya, said “This program, in principle, aims to scale up and accelerate adaptation here in Africa by providing financial and technical support to African adaptation efforts. This initiative greatly paves the way for the continent to manage its climate related challenges. It is important to appreciate that effective climate adaptation will require a paradigm shift that harnesses the full potential of science and innovation.”
Image (courtesy of GCA) shows the new headquarters of Global Center on Adaptation.