By Dr. Yollande Tankeu & Emilie Bitongo (Download PDF)
The Effect of the New Global Financing Aid on Climate Variability Adaptation in Sub-Saharan Countries
From the 22nd to the 23rd day of June 2023 in Paris, the Summit for a New Global Financing Pact was held under the theme: Building a new consensus for a more inclusive international financial system (1). The aim was to simultaneously address the issues of climate change and variability, biodiversity conservation and development challenges to help all countries achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.
Climate variability represents one of the great challenges facing the world these last decades. It is a reality that sub-Saharan Africa is already experiencing adverse effects of climate variability, such as rising sea levels, prolonged droughts, and increased frequency of floods. These disruptions have severe consequences for the region’s agricultural productivity, food security, water resources, and overall socio-economic development. The current climate crisis results from a development process that has become obsolete, ignoring the impact of economic development on the environment. A paradigm shift requires substantial funding. Therefore, efforts to mitigate and adapt to the impacts of climate variability are of paramount importance.
Regarding these challenges, the importance of effective adaptation cannot be overstated. To support adaptation efforts, a new global financial pact has been put in place to help sub-Saharan countries meet the challenges of climate variability. This policy brief will look at the impact of this new global financing pact on adaptation to climate variability in sub-Saharan Africa. The first part of this work will focus on the overview of climate variability in Sub-Saharan Africa, and the second part will discuss the effects of the new financial aid on climate variability adaptation strategies in Sub-Saharan Africa.
The Negative Role of Climate Variability in Sub-saharan Africa
Many studies show that low-income countries are more vulnerable to climate variability than rich countries (2). This is due to a combination of three factors: their geographical location (close to temperature thresholds), the high climate sensitivity of their economies, which are largely dependent on agriculture, and their low capacity to adapt to climate change. Indeed, climate variability represented more than USD 300 billion in economic losses, 70% of biodiversity decline between 1978 and 2018 and 11% of more people living in extreme poverty all over the world (3). Thus, the far-reaching effects of the climate crisis are already being felt in developing and island countries. In recent years, Sub-Saharan Africa has endured severe impacts of climate variability, where large populations dealt with poverty and a massive threat to food security. In 2020, the region recorded about 86 million internal migrants due to climate variability (4). It has been noted that the limited adaptative capacity of African countries already leads to lower growth and development. The growth of their per capita GDP is considerably lower, ranging at just 10 to 13 percent on average, with the poorest countries in Africa displaying the highest adaptation deficit.
These changes pose significant challenges to the region’s agriculture, water availability, biodiversity, and human health. The region’s ecosystems, including forests, grasslands, and coastal areas, are threatened by climate variability. The degradation and loss of habitats, increased desertification, and a decline in biodiversity are just some of the effects of rising temperatures and changing rainfall patterns. This, in turn, affects ecosystem services, such as clean water provision, soil fertility, and carbon sequestration.
There are also severe impacts on agriculture and food security. Agriculture is a crucial sector in Sub-Saharan Africa, employing a large portion of the population and providing food security for many communities. However, climate variability poses significant risks to agricultural productivity, adversely impacting crop yields, livestock health, and overall food security. Erratic rainfall, droughts, and heatwaves can lead to crop failures, livestock losses, and reduced access to water for irrigation. Along the same lines, studies revealed various impacts of climate variability on health in the region. Sub-Saharan Africa is already experiencing high rates of undernutrition, and infectious diseases can be expected to increase compared to a scenario without climate variability.
Climate variability also has severe implications for the livelihoods of people in Sub-Saharan Africa, especially those in rural and marginalized communities. Many rely on natural resources, and traditional farming practices are highly sensitive to climate variability. The resulting challenges include reduced income opportunities, increased vulnerability to poverty, and forced migration.
Recognizing the urgency of the situation, Sub-Saharan African countries and international partners have taken steps towards mitigating and adapting to climate variability. Efforts include developing climate action plans, increased investment in the renewable energy sector, and advocating for sustainable land management practices. Additionally, initiatives focusing on enhancing climate resilience, improving water management, and implementing early warning systems for extreme weather events are crucial for building adaptive capacity.
Impacts of New Global Financing on Climate Variability Adaptation Strategies in Sub-Saharan Africa
With a specific focus on underdeveloped countries, notably Sub-Saharan Africa, one of the most important aims of the summit was to mobilize financial resources for climate variability adaptation in order to bridge the financing gap and drive investments towards innovative adaptation strategies in the region.
One of the primary aims of the summit is to encourage multilateral collaboration. The event serves as a platform for governments, international organizations, and private sector entities to come together and align their efforts towards climate variability adaptation in Sub-Saharan Africa. Through this collaboration, financial resources can be pooled, shared, and directed towards high-impact adaptation initiatives. So, some expected effects can be noted:
Firstly, Mobilizing Increased Financial Support. The summit’s main objective was to mobilize increased financial support for climate variability adaptation strategies in Sub-Saharan Africa. By raising awareness and highlighting the urgent need for funding, the summit will help unlock significant investments from public and private sources. This increased financial support can potentially enhance the capacity of Sub-Saharan African countries to implement effective adaptation measures.
Secondly, Capacity Building and Technology Transfer. The summit recognizes that effective adaptation strategies require not only financial resources but also capacity building and technology transfer. Sub-Saharan African countries often lack the necessary resources and knowledge to implement comprehensive climate variability adaptation plans. The new global financing aid will facilitate knowledge-sharing and technical assistance, enabling the transfer of technology and expertise to support the region’s adaptation efforts.
Thirdly, Fostering Innovation and Resilience. The summit emphasizes fostering innovation in Sub-Saharan Africa to enhance resilience against climate variability impacts. This will encourage the development and deployment of sustainable and adaptive technologies that can address specific challenges faced by the region. By promoting innovation, the new global financing aid can empower local communities and promote their active participation in climate variability adaptation.
Conclusion and Policy Recommendations
The Summit for a New Global Financing Pact represents an important turning point in addressing climate variability adaptation strategies in Sub-Saharan Africa. This summit has the potential to significantly enhance the region’s resilience. The impacts of climate variability can be mitigated through multilateral collaboration efforts, mobilization of financial support, capacity-building initiatives, and promotion of innovation. However, some policy recommendations can be made to improve its efficiency.
At the international level, developed countries, international organizations, and climate finance mechanisms, such as the World Bank Climate Investment Fund, which finances the deployment of low-carbon technology transfers and the Global Environment Facility of the UNFCC or United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, which manages the financial system under the UNFCCC, among others, should increase their commitments and contributions to provide substantial financial resources. This can help implement adaptation measures such as building climate-resilient infrastructures and promoting sustainable agriculture practices.
At the national level, it is equally important for Sub-Saharan African countries to prioritize climate financing within their national budgets and explore innovative financing mechanisms such as green bond issuance, carbon pricing mechanisms, and public-private partnerships. This will help ensure sustainable funding for long-term climate adaptation strategies.
Ensuring that the commitments made during the summit are followed through and that resources are effectively allocated to support on-the-ground adaptation efforts is essential. Sub-Saharan Africa can build a more sustainable and resilient future for its people and ecosystems by prioritizing climate variability adaptation and implementing robust strategies.