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Developed worlds’ climate finance an empty promise

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Despite contributing just 4% of global greenhouse gas emissions, Africa is disproportionately vulnerable to climate change. Image credit: Leon Louw for WhyAfrica

Developed worlds’ climate finance an empty promise

The issue of climate finance has remained unresolved since adopting the Paris Agreement in 2015, where developed countries pledged to mobilise USD100-billion annually by 2020 to support climate mitigation and adaptation actions in developing countries.

It is critical that Africa leaders advocate for the fulfilment of climate finance commitments made by developed nations a decade ago.

The current economic strains African nations face, coupled with escalating debt burdens, undermine their development aspirations and capacity to address climate-related risks.

Africa needs USD2.8 trillion between 2020 and 2030 to effectively implement the ambitious National Determined Contributions (NDCs) set out by most African countries.

The call for developed nations to meet their financial commitments was also emphasised at the recent 19th Ordinary Session of the African Ministerial Conference on the Environment, where African Ministers called for the necessity of grant-based resources for adaptation initiatives.

Africa stands at a crossroad (Developed worlds’ climate finance an empty promise)

As African countries strive for resilience and self-reliance, it is imperative to allocate resources judiciously, fostering economic growth and environmental sustainability. A vital component of this endeavour involves operationalising the loss and damage fund, enabling affected nations to cope with climate-induced adversities.

According to Daudi Sumba, Regional Director the World Wide Fund For Nature (WWF) Africa stands at a crossroad between development and climate impacts.

“Doubling adaptation funds and upholding the Glasgow Commitments are paramount for developed countries to fulfil their obligations promptly. Despite contributing just 4% of global greenhouse gas emissions, Africa is disproportionately vulnerable to climate change.

“The African Climate Summit, which got underway at the Kenyatta International Convention Centre (KICC) in Nairobi, Kenya on Monday, and finishes on Friday, provides a crucial platform for Africa’s leaders to advocate and secure robust commitments from developed nations ahead of COP28,” says Sumba.

“We urge President William Ruto – The Chair Committee of African Heads of State and Government on Climate Change (CAHOSCC) and other African leaders to steer the Summit’s outcomes towards innovative approaches that mobilise public and private financial institutions. This mobilisation is critical to bolstering climate finance, particularly for adaptation and natural climate solutions, which are vital for Africa’s sustainability,” says Mohamed Awer, WWF-Kenya’s CEO.

Energy transition a pivotal goal (Developed worlds’ climate finance an empty promise)

Awer adds that the Summit’s agenda must encompass a definitive strategy to expedite the transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy.

“Africa boasts abundant renewable resources such as sunlight, wind, and hydroelectric potential, forming the bedrock of climate change mitigation. Pioneering an increase in global investments in African renewable energy sources, from 1% to 10% by 2028 and beyond, should be a pivotal goal,” says Awer.

Laurent Some, Head of Policy and Partnerships, WWF Regional Office for Africa says that for Africa to embrace green growth, addressing fossil fuel phase-out is non-negotiable.

“Developed countries must exhibit unwavering support for Africa’s energy sector transformation. This includes robust climate finance commitments and strategies that fast-track financial flows. The energy transition must harmonise with sustainable development while being inclusive and preserving justice and equity in our fight against climate change,” says Some.

WWF has called on the leaders of Africa to advocate for the continent unique needs and circumstances to be recognised at the UNFCCC COP28 and listed as an agenda item, following the omission at COP27.

Roadmap for COP28 (Developed worlds’ climate finance an empty promise)

WWF’s Position Paper outlines what leaders must prioritise at the Africa Climate Summit to take forward and agreed upon at COP28. This includes:

  • Effective roadmap for implementing Africa’s national climate plans through nationally determined contributions
  • Urgent and adequate climate financing for Africa
  • Acceleration of the energy transition by phasing out fossil fuels and scaling up renewable energy
  • Recognising and prioritising high-quality nature-based solutions as key to mitigation and adaptation actions
  • Advocate for recognition of Africa’s special needs and circumstances ahead of the UNFCCC COP28

Developed worlds’ climate finance an empty promise 


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Developed worlds’ climate finance an empty promise


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