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WE’RE DISAPPOINTED: African Ministers Voice Concerns as Rich Countries Drag Feet on Climate Change Adaptation Financing

Guterres: Developed Countries Must Show How They’ll Double Climate Finance

Collins Nzovu. Photo: COP28 /Mahmoud Khaled
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CLIMATE CHANGE ADAPTATION

African ministers at the ongoing COP28 in Dubai, UAE, have expressed disappointment with the slow progress regarding commitments by rich nations and big polluters to finance adaptation efforts for developing countries.

Eng Collins Nzovu, the Zambian Minister of Green Economy and Environment for Zambia, led his colleagues in offering Africa’s assessment of progress so far and expectations in the remaining days of the climate summit. Nzovu’s Zambia serves as the current Chair of the African Group at the UNFCCC.  

Nzovu said Africa was “concerned about the lack of progress on various issues of importance to our group, particularly on finance and adaptation” and “disappointed by the lack of progress on this very important issue in the first week.”

“We expect COP 28 to result in tangible outcomes which reflect Africa’s aspirations, especially on the need for enhanced climate adaptation. We expect a robust framework on the global goal on adaptation outcome,” submitted Nzovu in an address to reporters.

“However, with a few days remaining, we believe we can still deliver on the following work streams. On adaptation, we reiterate that adaptation is a key priority for the African continent and a critical component in the implementation of the Paris Agreement.”

He further noted that without seriousness and action on adaptation, the continent would continue to suffer devastating effects of climate change disasters.

“Adaptation is a matter of survival for us in Africa. Amid all the summits and meetings taking place to discuss the issue, what Africans need to see is action to help us adapt to this changing climate,” he explained.

“How are we to cope with the persistent droughts, the devastating storms, the rising seas which threaten our very lives and livelihoods?”

Nzovu dug into the United Nations Environmental Program’s adaptation gap report to bolster his argument.

Noting that the report revealed the scale of the problem and a widening gap between the adaptation needs of vulnerable countries and the funding availed so far, the Zambian minister showed how worse the problem was and how much more funding was needed to adapt.

“The report has revealed that the gap is 50% larger than previously thought and that the adaptation needs are now 10 to 18 times as great as the flows of international public finance.”

He emphasized that there was no more time to waste or wait.

“We wish to agree with the United Secretary General Antonio Guterres on the report who said ‘lives and livelihoods are being lost and destroyed. With the vulnerable suffering the most, we are in an adaptation emergency. We must act like it and take steps to close the adaptation gap now.’

On COP28 Finance Day, Guterres demanded that developed countries “must show how they will double adaptation finance to $40 billion a year by 2025 as promised, and clarify how  they deliver on the $100 billion, as promised.”

Nzovu was also clear on the legacy of COP28.

“Indeed COP 28 is mandated to complete the work undertaken for the last two years under the Global Goal on Adaptation [GGA] by launching a robust framework on the GGA,” the minister said.

“This is the most important outcome for Africa at COP28 and for the UAE COP to be deemed a successful one, we believe that this must be achieved.”

Nzovu has previously written that “every $1 invested in adaptation against coastal flooding leads to a $14 reduction in economic damages,” and that “$16 billion per year invested in agriculture would prevent approximately 78 million people from starving or chronic hunger due to climate impacts.”

Reacting to Nzovu’s statement, Obed Koringo of CARE Climate Change, said it was “disappointing that negotiations on adaptation are hurtling towards failure,” adding that “this risks having catastrophic consequences for communities on the frontline of climate crisis, especially in Africa.”

Mohamed Adow of climate and energy think tank Power Shift Africa said: “Africans know first-hand the devastating impacts of climate change. So, it’s good to see African ministers coming together to raise the alarm on the slow progress of the global goal on adaptation negotiations. The global goal for adaptation is not an African goal for adaptation. It’s for all countries and as we know adaptation is good for the economy.”

It should be remembered that rich countries set a low bar for climate fund contributions at COP28. Meanwhile, Uganda was on the spot for sending 606 officials – including personal assistants to the Dubai climate summit – some of whom were clueless on the matters under discussion. (See Details Here and There).

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