DAKAR, Senegal — African leaders rallied Tuesday in a virtual summit calling for scaled-up actions and financing to combat the effects of climate change that are already being felt in the continent of 1.3 billion.
The Leaders’ Dialogue on the Africa COVID-Climate Emergency saw representatives discussing the twin challenges of facing the pandemic alongside climate change.
“Africa remains a continent with immense opportunities if we act now to contain the pandemic, deal with the serious debt burdens and work on plans and tools to tackle climate change,” said the newly appointed World Trade Organization chief Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala.
Presidents from Congo, Senegal, Zimbabwe, Kenya and other countries talked about the need for support to accelerate the effort against climate change, which has affected food security, and health on the continent.
“Africa contributed just 3% of global emissions, yet we are the continent which … is already paying the biggest price,” said Gabon President Ali Bongo Ondimba.
“Every day, the thunderstorms seem more violent, flooding is more frequent and droughts more severe … our crops are failing. People are being forced to flee their homes, becoming climate refugees,” he added. “Sea levels are rising, potentially drowning cities … The oceans are turning to acid and salt is penetrating croplands, causing further serious challenges to food security.”
Akinwumi A. Adesina, President of the African Development Bank Group, said developed nations have a responsibility to support those in Africa, as it’s the lowest emitter of carbon and faces the worst consequences and impacts of climate change.
“Ten of the top 12 countries most at risk of drought are in Africa. Eight out of the top 12 countries affected by agricultural risks are also in Africa,” he said. “Yet Africa does not get the resources it needs to adapt to climate change. Globally, only 10 percent of climate finance goes into adaptation, and Africa has received only three percent of global climate finance.”
He said the development bank group’s goal is to mobilize $25 billion for climate adaptation over the next four years.
United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres asked G7 members and other developed countries to increase their share of climate finance allocated to adaptation and resilience from 20% to 50% of their total climate financing.
He also called for scaled-up support of efforts on the continent. Guterres urged concrete proposals by November’s COP26 Climate conference to facilitate and accelerate climate financing for African nations.
Tuesday’s virtual summit was hosted by the African Development Bank and Global Center on Adaptation