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Africa deserves enhanced climate ambition

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By ROBERT MUTHAMI
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African countries have been at the climate-change negotiating table for more than 20 years. The continent faces some of the most severe impacts of climate change, but questions remain over its adaptive capacity despite this engagement.

African civil society organisations, trade unions and governments have advocated three main means of implementation: Climate finance for adaptation and mitigation; technology transfer; and capacity building. The latter is aimed at facilitating and enhancing the ability of individuals, organisations and institutions in African countries to identify, plan and implement ways to adapt and mitigate to climate change.

African countries are now preparing for the 24th Conference of the Parties (COP) to the United Nations Framework Convention Climate Change (UNFCCC) to be held in Katowice, Poland, from December 2 to 14.

Through the Paris Work Programme (PAWP) expected to be adopted in Poland, African countries expect that COP 24 will deliver on the expectations for facilitating climate resilience. Climate change is impacting all economies in Africa, a continent highly dependent on agriculture. The impact is increasing the already high inequality, as resources meant for investment in social amenities are being channelled into climate-change adaptation.

Due to climate change-related disasters such as droughts and flooding, there is an adverse impact on agricultural production, hence food insecurity.

Resources meant to provide universal and affordable health care, expansion of infrastructure and other social services for the poor will be channelled to climate change response initiatives.

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During the COP 16, the developed countries agreed to mobilise $100 billion a year by the year 2020 for adaptation and mitigation in developing countries.

However, this remains a pipe dream as only $10 billion has been raised since the establishment of the Green Climate Fund (GCF) in 2006. African countries continue to face difficulties in accessing the funds as they are on a perpetual treadmill of paperwork to even qualify to receive any of the funds earmarked for them. This funding be fast-tracked.

As countries head to Poland, African nations will approach the negotiations with the hope that issues dealing with transparency and accountability on climate financing will be made clearer and smoother.

Otherwise, African will be obliged to divert more domestic resources to meeting their commitments under their Nationally Determined Contributions, which could affect other development priorities.

 If the shortfall needs to be made up from domestic resources, this will greatly hamper social protection or food security. The decision in Poland should, therefore, be clear on provision, transparency and accountability of climate financing.

 Mr Muthami is a programme coordinator at the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung, Kenya Office, socio-ecological transformation. [email protected]

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