Knowledge Event 1: “Climate Change and Green Growth”
The objective of this knowledge event is to critically examine the challenges and opportunities to support climate-resilient and low-carbon development in Africa while the continent builds back better from the COVID-19 pandemic. The discussion will focus on actions and innovative solutions needed to address climate change and promote sustainable and inclusive green growth in Africa, post-COVID. The 26th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP 26), which will be held in Glasgow, from 1 to 12 November 2021 under the presidency of the United Kingdom, aims to bring together all parties to the Convention to accelerate action towards achieving the goals of the Paris Agreement. Described as the most significant climate event since the adoption of the Paris Agreement in 2015, COP 26 is expected to provide a unique opportunity to report back on progress since COP21 in Paris and to take decisions on how best to rapidly cut carbon emissions, build climate resilience and accelerate the delivery of climate finance. Given the importance of COP 26 as a key milestone for the implementation of the Paris Agreement, it is vital that Africa is fully on board, while ensuring linkages with the continent’s development priorities, including the Bank’s “High Five” priorities, and the Africa’s climate initiatives such as the joint AfDB-GCA Africa Adaptation Acceleration Programme (AAAP) recently launched. The ultimate aim of this debate is to outline Africa-specific priorities on climate change and sustainable green growth ahead of COP 26, in the context of the implementation of the Paris Agreement, including a Just Energy Transition.
Despite many African countries having developed their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), which are now being updated, there is still a need for more ambitious and detailed investment plans and programs to meet the goals of the landmark Paris Agreement. To date, 7 out of the 10 most vulnerable countries are in Africa, and 10 of the top 12 countries most at risk to droughts globally are in Africa. Despite Africa’s high and well-known climate vulnerability, the continent receives only a paltry 3% of global climate finance. Further, at the global stage, adaptation and resilience are yet to gain the same prominence as mitigation, as global attention has largely been skewed towards mitigation which receives 90% of global climate finance.
Addressing climate change and promoting sustainable green growth in Africa comes with significant costs, benefits and opportunities. To improve Africa’s access to global climate finance and accelerate adaptation and mitigation actions, key challenges need to be overcome, including weak institutional capacity; poor governance and coordination; lack of prioritization of climate change in national development plans; and lack of appropriate business models to support private sector investment in climate actions and green investments. In addition, the international community is yet to deliver on its commitment to provide USD 100 billion per year as climate finance to developing countries.
Over the recent years, the Bank has increased four-fold its share of climate change related, investments from 2016 (9%) to 2019 (36%), which are expected to reach 40% of Bank’s total
investment at the end of 2021. The Bank has also prioritized adaptation in its project approvals, increasing the proportion of annual climate finance allocated to adaptation from 50% in 2018 to 63% in 2020. Moving forward, the Bank has committed to mobilize up to $25 billion for climate finance between 2020 and 2025, of which 50%will be for adaptation: The Bank is the first MDB to achieve such parity. This will be delivered through the implementation of the Africa Adaptation Acceleration Programme to enhance and speed up adaptation actions across the continent. Furthermore, the Bank is supporting African countries to harness their comparative advantage in renewable energy resources. For instance, the Bank is currently developing the US$20 billion Desert-to-Power Initiative in the Sahel to harness 10GW solar energy and provide electricity for about 250 million people in the Sahel and Horn of Africa, while helping the continent to contribute to mitigation actions.
This event will provide opportunities for African leaders to share their views on the innovative ways to scale up climate actions and green investments in Africa, discuss key challenges, options and solutions to address climate change in Africa, and outline Africa’s priorities for the forthcoming COP 26 in Glasgow in November 2021. The panel will also discuss existing and emerging climate change and green growth initiatives in Africa in the context of achieving sustainable development in Africa.
Questions for discussion could include:
- How can we overcome the existing and emerging barriers to support and scale up climate actions and green investments in Africa?
- What has worked well so far and what needs further improvement in Africa’s climate change and green growth initiatives?
- What are the best strategies for accelerating and scaling up climate actions in Africa post-COVID 19, and what would be the role of African and global leaders?
- What opportunities exist for enhancing African countries’ access to climate finance at scale to support climate actions and green growth across the continent? • How can Africa develop innovative solutions to scale up adaptation and mitigation actions?
- How can Africa achieve green, inclusive and resilient post-COVID recovery? • How can COP 26 rally African countries and development partners together to foster a transformative partnership on climate-resilience and low-carbon development in Africa?
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