African leaders push to secure climate adaptation funding

European countries have committed $55m to Africa’s flagship climate adaptation programme but pledges still fall far short of what is required.


Image : Global Center on Adaptation

Funding pledges for Africa’s flagship climate programme, the Africa Adaptation Acceleration Programme (AAAP), fell far short of the estimated $25bn needed over the next five years at the Africa Adaptation Summit, held in Rotterdam on 5 September,

Commitments by the UK ($23m), Norway ($15m), France ($10m) and Denmark ($7m) amounted to $55m. The African Development Bank had already committed $12.5bn and it was hoped that richer nations would commit the rest.

“The AAAP is the largest effort globally for adaptation. But we need the money,” said Akinwumi Adesina, president of the African Development Bank (AfDB). “The AfDB put down $12.5bn out of $25bn so we’re not begging. We are saying that we didn’t cause the problem… We’ve come to the conversation with commitment – meet us halfway.”

Speaking in his capacity as chair of the African Union, President Macky Sall of Senegal, said: “Africa needs to invest massively in adaptation and resilience… I urge Africa’s development partners to fully fund the AAAP and make it an exemplary model of what is possible when we collaborate.”

Sall also expressed his disappointment that European leaders failed to attend the conference, which was seen as a stepping stone to the UN climate conference, Cop27, in Egypt in November.

“I cannot help but note with sadness, the absence of leaders from the industrial world,” he said.

President Macky Sall addresses the Africa Adaptation Summit in Rotterdam, with President Félix Tshisekedi of DRC to his right. (Image: Global Center on Adaptation.)

AAAP aims to accelerate and scale climate adaptation action in Africa

Supported by the African Development Bank (AfDB) and the Global Center on Adaptation (GCA), the AAAP is an African-led multi stakeholder body that was endorsed at the Leaders’ Dialogue on the Africa Covid-Climate Emergency in April 2021, the largest meeting of its kind to be solely focused on climate adaptation.

It is a key vehicle to secure funds to funnel into initiatives that will accelerate and scale climate adaptation action across the continent and is being implemented through two mechanisms:

  • The AAAP Upstream Financing Facility, housed at the GCA, to support the evidence-based knowledge, project design and preparation, and policy work needed for the success of AAAP operations.
  • The AAAP Downstream Investment Facility, housed at the AfDB, which is intended to raise an investment envelope of $25bn for the first five years and use these resources to unlock financing from African national governments, impact investors, foundations, and other innovative sources, such as resilience bonds and debt for climate adaptation swaps, in a coordinated programme.

Fears for impact on Cop27

The relative lack of investment in the programme has raised concerns that November’s UN climate conference (Cop27) in Sharm El-Sheikh will not deliver on the funds that Africa desperately needs to fight climate change.

Developed nations promised in 2009 to commit $100bn annually to lower income countries to help them fight climate change, but by the time of Cop26 in Glasgow the target had still not been reached.

A report by the GCA found that in 2019 and 2020 only $11.4bn was committed to climate adaptation finance in Africa. This is significantly less than the $52.7bn annually to 2030 it is estimated African countries will need.

As neither of the funding targets have been met, African leaders have doubled down on calls for richer nations to make good on their promises.

“Africa needs its friends across the world to scale up their support,” said President Nana Akufo-Addo of Ghana. “We expect these friends to manifest their solidarity and friendship by delivering. Ghana will push Cop27 to deliver on commitments to finance climate adaptation.”

The UK’s Alok Sharma, president of Cop26, said that a report would be made available in the coming weeks to assess just how much of the $100bn pledge has been met.

The upcoming Cop27 is being billed as “Africa’s Cop” – a make or break gathering in which the developed world will demonstrate whether it can mobilise the resources needed to fight climate change.

Despite the relative lack of funding for the AAAP programme, some delegates at the conference were confident that the $12.5bn could be secured in time for the Sharm El-Sheikh meeting.

“It is entirely possible for all the key players to come behind this programme before Cop27,” said Ban Ki-moon, chairman of the board of the GCA.

Additional reporting by Charles Dietz

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