Honour your climate commitments to Africa, Ruto urges world

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Honour your climate commitments to Africa, Ruto urges world
Honour your climate commitments to Africa, Ruto urges world

Africa-Press – Kenya. African leaders have called upon the global community to honour the commitments made at COP15 to provide Africa with resources to address the climate crisis.

The pledges were made during the Africa Climate Summit in Nairobi and the COP28 in the United Arab Emirates.

“The latter commitments upheld the notion that Africa needs to accelerate all efforts to reduce emissions to align with the goals of the Paris Agreement to limit global warming to 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, and preferably 1.5 degrees Celsius,” the leaders said.

In his keynote address, President William Ruto said resources required to cope and respond to climate change will continue to rise exponentially into trillions of dollars.

Ruto said investment priorities must be directed into adaptation, especially in attaining food sovereignty for Africa, as the climate impact worsens and becomes more expensive to deal with.

“The collaboration between FAO and our continent will significantly help Africa to cope with the climate crisis, so innovative approaches and new collaborations across our countries within our region are essential, as we also focus on eliminating trade barriers that impede the movement of goods and services across our borders,” the President said.

He spoke at a high-level event hosted by the African Union and the UN Food and Agriculture Organization on the eve of the 37th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the African Union.

The event was titled, ‘Climate finance for agriculture and food security: Implementation of the Nairobi Declaration and Outcomes of the UNFCCC COP28.’

The leaders highlighted the critical need for increasing climate finance in support of climate-responsive agrifood systems to withstand climate-related challenges and foster economic growth in Africa.

Moussa Faki, chairperson of the African Union Commission, in his message delivered by Josefa Leonel Correia Sacko, Commissioner for Agriculture, Rural Development, Blue Economy and Sustainable Environment, said that African countries suffer disproportionately due to limited resources for mitigation and adaptation to climate change.

“It has been estimated that allocating funds for climate change adaptation in the agrifood systems of Africa offers a more cost-effective approach compared to financing emergency response, including disaster relief and recovery efforts, due to increasingly frequent and severe crises. The estimated cost per year of adaptation measures in Africa amounts to approximately Sh2.2 trillion (USD 15 billion). This figure represents only a fraction of the potential costs associated with inaction, which could soar to over USD 201 billion by 2050,” the chairperson said.

Despite Africa’s low contribution to global greenhouse gas emissions, the region suffers greatly from the adverse impacts of climate change.

Maria Helena Semedo, FAO deputy director general, said in 2020 alone Sh4.4 trillion was lost due to declines in crop and livestock production caused by extreme weather events and disasters.

This severely impacted rural livelihoods and exacerbated hunger, affecting 20.2 percent of the population or 278 million people.

“While agrifood systems possess the potential to deliver climate solutions, the lack of incentives is threatening climate adaptation efforts. Strong collaborations can secure the future of Africa’s agrifood systems, nourish its people, and simultaneously preserve its natural resources,” Semedo said.

Participants at the event acknowledged that Africa is not historically responsible for global warming, but bears the brunt of its effects, impacting lives, livelihoods, and economies.

“Despite this fact, African countries continue to face disproportionate burdens and risks arising from climate change-related weather events and patterns. Prolonged droughts, devastating floods, out-of-season storms and wildfires are causing massive humanitarian crises with detrimental impacts on agrifood systems,” FAO said.

During the Africa Climate Summit in September 2023, African leaders and stakeholders emphasised the imperative of decarbonising the global economy for equality and shared prosperity.

The resulting Nairobi Declaration on climate finance and call to action now form the cornerstone of Africa’s unified stance in the global climate change process.

The COP28 last year yielded promising outcomes for Africa.

Countries agreed to operationalize the Loss and Damage Fund, pledging approximately Sh97 billion, which is an essential milestone, given the agrifood sectors’ vulnerability to climate-induced loss and damage.

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