African Development Bank President Akinwumi Adesina has said that Africa must be more active in finding solutions to climate change challenges.
This was at the bank’s symposium themed around Climate Change and Green Growth Day held at the Abidjan headquarters.
“As a continent, we must be resolute in our efforts to find solutions. Africa must not be a passive bystander in this effort,” Adesina said, referring to global efforts to curb the impact of climate change on livelihoods.
Bank acting Vice President, Power, Energy, Climate Change and Green Growth, Wale Shonibale, read the statement on his behalf.
The Abidjan symposium, the first of its kind, is themed: “Moving from emergency relief to building resilience.” It comes in the wake of two devastating tropical cyclones, Idai and Kenneth, which ripped through five African countries – Mozambique, Malawi, Tanzania, Zimbabwe and the Comoros within a month.
Idai, the worst cyclone in history to hit the African continent, is estimated to have caused more than 1,000 deaths and $1 billion in damages. The Bank announced a special relief fund of $1.7 million for Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi, specifically for the immediate humanitarian relief effort in the worst affected areas.
Though the bank says they are trying to do more to confront such emergencies —the threats from extreme weather events are predicted to intensify, longer-term actions for disaster risk management are needed, especially in disaster risk reduction through resilience building.
Ivorian Minister for Environment and Sustainable Development, Professor Joseph Séka Seka, in a statement delivered to the symposium on his behalf, lauded the Bank and its partners for committing resources to address the impact of climate change in Africa and appealed for further support to help build resilience.
Cote d’Ivoire could lose 2-4 per cent of its GDP in the next five years and if not checked, the phenomenon could lead to extreme poverty by 2030, the Minister noted.
The Bank’s Director of Climate Change and Green Growth, Dr. Anthony Nyong called for increased focus on helping countries to reduce their vulnerabilities, and building their resilience and adaptation capacities.
This includes building effective information systems and improving coordination policies across borders, Nyong said.
The two-day event featured two panels and an exhibition on the achievements made and challenges faced in addressing climate change through Bank activities across all sectors.
The first panel explored approaches, opportunities and challenges in building resilience in Africa, while the second discussed financing and business models for building climate-resilience in Africa.
Other topics included business models that can be deployed to help finance resilience in Africa.
This was the first official climate neutral event organised by the Bank, earning it a Voluntary Cancellation certificate under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.