President Mnangagwa urges Africa to adapt to climate change
Harare, (New Ziana) – President Emmerson Mnangagwa on Tuesday urged African countries to adopt strategies for green and climate change resilient economies, as global warming continues to alter rainfall patterns around the world.
He was speaking in a virtual summit on climate change with other African and global leaders, in which strong calls were made for Africa to be allocated more resources for its adaptation initiatives.
The summit was co-sponsored by the African Development Bank (AfDB), and focused on the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on climate change mitigation efforts.
Twenty Heads of State and Government from Africa and abroad, as well as leaders of global organisations and multilateral institutions also took part.
The coronavirus pandemic has in the past year wrecked havoc across the globe, killing and infecting millions, at the same time hitting hard on economies, diverting the attention of governments which were already battling with other challenges.
The leaders, who included United Nations Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, African Union chair, Felix Tshisekedi who is the President of the Democratic Republic of Congo, AfDB President Akinwumi Adesina, US Treasury Secretary, Janet Yellen and those from the World Health Organisation, International Monetary Fund and World Bank among others, noted that the advent of the Covid-19 pandemic had diverted focus on implementation of climate change adaptation initiatives which presented a greater future risk.
While Africa was the least contributor to carbon emissions, the continent was the most affected by climate change and at the same time getting the least in global finance allocations towards its push to implement mitigation strategies.
“Science informs us that climate change is here to stay, there thus is a general need for Africa to have long term strategies to guide the transition towards green and climate resilient economies,” President Mnangagwa told the meeting.
“This process requires blending our adaptation options and climate change mitigation actions through the implementation of nationally determined contributions. These interventions require financial and technical resources.”
Investments in climate proofing agriculture, water harvesting infrastructure and renewable energy are now urgent, President Mnangagwa said.
“The current scenario thus calls for national adaptation programmes to be complemented by the mobilisation of additional resources to enable countries to recover from Covid-19 related economic slippages,” he said.
Zimbabwe on its part, he said, had set an ambitious target to green its economy by 2030.
“The country has crafted a Long Term Low Emission Development Strategy which provides a range of options to contribute to the climate change goal of limiting the global temperature increase,” he said.
Adesina said the number of African countries and people affected by drought due to climate change continued to go up, while the continent was starved of financial support.
“Africa has so far received only three percent of global funds set for climate change adaptation,” he said.
He said AfDB had on its part increased lending to African countries towards initiatives to tackle climate change from nine percent of its book in 2016 to over 36 percent two years later, with a target to allocate up to US$25 billion by 2025.
Yellen said there was still time for the world to avoid the worst effects of climate change, pressing the United States’ commitment to the fight as shown by the Joe Biden’s administration decision to rejoin the Paris Agreement.
Other western countries including Denmark and Germany pledged to continue partnering and supporting Africa in efforts to be climate resilient.