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Okonjo-Iweala Seeks Trade Policy Integration Into Global Climate Action

(AFRICAN EXAMINER) – Director General of World Trade Organization (WTO), Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has harped on the need for trade policy to be integrated into global climate action.

Dr. Okonjo-Iweala made the observation while speaking on Monday at the High Level Africa Adaptation Summit in Rotterdam, Netherlands, to highlight the urgency of climate adaptation funding for the continent.

The summit was jointly convened by Global Center on Adaptation (GCA), together with the African Union (AU), African Development Bank (AfDB), International Monetary Fund (IMF), Africa Adaptation Initiative, and the Climate Vulnerable Forum.

The meeting aims at laying the foundation for an adaptation breakthrough for Africa at COP27, holding in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt. It brought together global leaders from across governments, international organizations, multilateral development banks, the private sector, mayors, civil society, youth leaders, and other stakeholders to raise the ambition on adaptation action for the continent.

The summit also created an opportunity to catalyze new coalitions of partners and initiatives to accelerate action on the ground across Africa, keeping up the momentum and elevating ambition on adaptation ahead of COP27.

She said trade policies should be integrated into global climate action as an amplifying force for financing and other climate-related support provided to vulnerable economies. She also lent her voice to the clarion call for additional resources for Africa adaptation funding

African and other global leaders unanimously agreed at the summit that the continent is at a tipping point for climate adaptation.

Former Secretary General of United Nation (UN), Ban Ki-moon and Co-Chair of GCA said: “The world has a fever. It burns hotter and higher with every day that passes… Statistics tell us that Africa is where the fever is at its most intense and people at the most vulnerable”.

Similarly, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of GCA, Patrick Verkooijen stressed that the disastrous impacts of climate change in every part of the world. He said

it is in Africa, however, that climate shocks will hit the hardest, adding that Africa was however, resolute about its economic advancement and would not stop.

“Adaptation in Africa is like climbing a mountain. With all of you here today, we have the dream team that will climb the mountain together. The next summit after today is Sharm El-Sheikh, the Africa COP. But success in Egypt will hinge on whether Africa’s needs are met or not.

“Africa has the commitment and the plan. That plan is the Africa Adaptation Acceleration Program (AAA-P). It is Africa-developed and Africa-owned. It was launched by Africa’s leaders, who are here today. It is the vehicle for delivering the Africa Adaptation Initiative”, he added.

GCA Co-Chair and Honorary Chairman of Royal DSM, Feike Sijbesma spoke about the importance of support from the global private sector. He said 80 percent of the funding for adaptation needs to come from the private sector in both the developed north and the developing south.

He further explained that investments in global climate adaptation cooperation are a big opportunity for countries like the Netherlands to share some of our best innovations with those who need them the most.

“The Africa Adaptation Acceleration Programme (AAAP) will be a crucial vehicle for triggering far greater business investment across Africa into green and resilient solutions. This is a collective effort, we need every sector, every contribution possible to see off the climate crisis in Africa, and the private sector, in particular, has a massive role to play”, he added.

AU Chairperson, President Macky Sall of Senegal, President Nana Akufo-Addo of Ghana, who is Chair of the Climate Vulnerable Forum, and President Felix Tshisekedi of the Democratic of the Congo conveyed a unified message: the international community must deliver on its pledge to double adaptation finance and to scale adaptation action for Africa.

President Sall expressed disappointment at the absence of industrialized country leaders at the summit. The AU Chair said if African leaders could be in Rotterdam in person to discuss such a crucial issue as climate adaptation in Africa, the very least they expected was that their European counterparts, whose countries are among the world’s biggest polluters—would also have been present at the summit.

This sentiment was shared by Presidents Akufo-Addo and Tshisekedi, Faki Mahamat and UN Deputy Secretary General, Amina Mohammed, among others.

Mohammed said: “A bird only flies with two wings, and the representation at this table is lopsided”. She added that it was not Africa’s fault that it is in its current position, given that it contributes very little to global carbon emissions.

She also pondered on what the situation would have been if the roles had been reversed. The UN deputy chief said the COP26 Glasgow pact was at risk of failing if the developed world did not make good on its promises of delivering $100 billion a year for climate action in developing countries.

In his remarks, the president of AfDB, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina reminded participants that the African continent was warming faster than any other region of the world, as predictions from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) show that the critical global warming levels will be reached much earlier in Africa.

Dr. Adesina explained that in the face of the deluge, Africa does not have the resources to tackle climate change. He said the continent receives only 3 percent of global climate financing. He observed that if this trend continued, Africa’s climate financing gap could reach between $100 billion to $127 billion per year through 2030.

“The current climate financing architecture is not meeting the needs of Africa. New estimates by the African Economic Outlook of the African Development Bank show that Africa will need between 1.3 and 1.6 trillion dollars from 2020 to 2030, or $118 billion to $145 billion annually to implement its commitments to the Paris Agreement and its nationally determined contributions.”

The bank chief said the African Adaptation Acceleration Programme’s upstream facility at the GCA had already helped to generate $3 billion of mainstreamed climate adaptation investments by the African Development Bank, from agriculture to energy, transport, water, and sanitation.

He equally spoke of the African Development Bank’s African Development Fund (ADF), its concessionary lending arm as one of the ways to address the climate financing gap. He said the 16th replenishment of the fund, currently underway, presented a unique opportunity for full financing of the $12.5 billion in financing for the AAAP.

He further pointed out that the ADF had introduced a Climate Action Window that would hopefully mobilize $4 billion to $13 billion for climate adaptation for the Fund’s member countries

“This will be used to support 20 million farmers with access to climate resilient agricultural technologies, access of 20 million farmers and pastoralists to weather-indexed crop insurance, reviving 1 million hectares of degraded land, and provision of renewable energy for about 9.5 million people”, he stressed.

Dr. Adesina said commitments by developed countries to provide $100 billion annually in climate finance for developing countries was long overdue.

“Africa cannot wait. This is the time to support the Africa Adaptation Acceleration Program. This is the time to support the ADF 16th replenishment. This is the time to support the Climate Action Window of ADF-16”, he concluded.

The summit’s five-point also communique emphasized that success at COP27 will depend on whether the needs of Africa, the world’s most climate-vulnerable continent, are met with finance flowing into such key country-led adaptation programs as the AAAP.

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