The Director of Food Security and Sustainable Development Division at the UNECA urged scientists and policy-makers to reformulate adaptation as a cross-cutting issue that can be an integral part of overall development policies, in the context of climate change.
Speaking at one of the UNECA led side events at the Africa Pavilion Josue Dione said that by integrating adaptation in agriculture, energy, water and other development sectors, African countries would avoid creating new structures that could consume resources which are already scarce on the continent.
“Adaptation is a new business and no one has done it before. Africa should take the lead in this area and in the future, it will sell this expertise to the rest of the world,” Dr. Saleemul Huq of the International Institute of Environment and Development said in Durban.
He gave the example of Bangladesh that has decided to fund its adaptation activities from its national budget to the tune of 300 million dollars every year, urging African countries to take the initiative in designing and funding such activities rather than wait for assistance from abroad.
Another panelist, Dr. Fatima Denton, team-leader from the Canadian-funded Climate Change and Adaptation in Africa (CCAA), advised that adaptation should not be seen as a separate initiative but as an important process of social transformation.
“Many people see adaptation as an outcome, but the quality of the process is also important in determining what the outcome will be,” she said, before identifying energy, water and agriculture as three important areas for adaptation in Africa.
Dr. Denton added that generating and disseminating knowledge about climate change is an important element of adaptation.
“Vulnerable people struggling on a daily basis with questions about how to adapt to extreme weather patterns, or about how to feed themselves need to be part of the conversation,” she said. She emphasized the important role played by institutions in bringing about social change, arguing that “they should be supported and fully embedded in the adaptation process.”
In a related development the President of Durban Climate Conference, Maitre Nkoana-Mashabane launched ‘informal, transparent and inclusive’ consultations with Parties on the establishment of a Green Climate Fund at Durban.
In a move to avoid opening what she feared could lead to a lengthy and endless debate on the Fund, the South African minister announced the decision to the satisfaction of many supporters of the Fund project, observers say.
The decision was reached following the presentation of a report by the Transitional Committee on the establishment of the Fund. The report was presented by one of the co-chairs of the Transitional Committee, Trevor Manuel, who is also the former South African Minister of Finance.
It contained recommendations on the operations of the Fund including its governance, contributions to the fund and eligibility for disbursements, legal instruments, etc., according to the Information and Communication Service of UNECA.
All parties at the talks agreed that the Fund will be a very important instrument in fighting climate change impacts and must be established as soon as possible. Many delegates were also convinced that agreements must be reached on establishing the Fund during the Durban Conference.
The African Group of Negotiators made a strong argument for the need to have agreed benchmarks on climate finance, so as to foster transparency and accountability in the way the money is provided and used, according a new report released on the sidelines of Durban International Climate Conference.
The report presents up-to-date figures on the current provision of climate finance for Africa and reveals the abysmally low levels of delivering on global climate change finance promises, according to the Information and Communication Service of United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA).
Researched and written for the African Group of Negotiators by the African Climate Policy Centre (ACPC) of the UNECA, the report also shows that current finance available for Africa and other developing countries under the fast-start finance. The report urges that the finance is not commensurate to the scale required to implement the activities agreed to in the UN climate convention.
For example, the report points to the 29.2 billion dollars pledged since 2009. And it states that only between 2.8 and 7.0 billion dollars are “new” or not previously pledged. This means that the total amount of funds that are both “new” and “additional”; (that is on top of aid budgets), would be less than two billion dollars, the report states. Out of the total 30 billion dollars promised 97 percent has been pledged, only 45 percent has been “committed”, 33 percent has been allocated while a mere seven percent has actually been disbursed, the report further reveals.
(Compiled by Pawlos Belete)