COP27 was an exciting and critical time for the Africa Adaptation Initiative (AAI) and a number of key milestones were achieved. At the conference in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, President Biden pledged US$25 million to the AAI Food Security Accelerator, the European Union and Germany each committed €5 million (US$5.25M) of funding, and George Soros’ Open Society Foundations pledged a further US$4.5 million, bringing total new finance commitments of around US$40 million. At the conference we also presented the executive summary of the AAI State of Adaptation in Africa Report 2022 and celebrated the launch of our new steering committee.
During the “Advancing Adaptation in Africa” event, United States Special Presidential Envoy for Climate, John Kerry, announced a US$25 million injection to launch AAI’s Food Security Accelerator. The Accelerator will identify, structure, and de-risk a pipeline of transformative adaptation investments in food security, helping to dramatically speed up and scale private sector investments into climate-resilient food security across Africa. It will unlock private capital in areas ranging from cold storage logistics to climate-resilient agriculture and post-harvesting processes. At the same event, Germany and the Open Society Foundations made pledges of €5 million (US$5.25M) and US$4.5 million respectively to support the AAI to scale up adaptation actions and investments.
The Executive Summary of key findings and recommendations from the AAI’s State of Adaptation in Africa Report 2022 (SoAR) [Found here] was presented to stakeholders and policymakers at the European Union Pavilion during a side event at COP27. Partnering with UNDP and the European Commission, the completed SoAR [Found here] (due to be published in 2023) informs on progress made on the continent regarding adaptation and the increased momentum for an expedited focus on implementation. Focusing on three thematic areas, climate finance, technology, and risk transfer, and taking a deep dive through the agricultural, water, and coastal zone sectors, it identifies gaps and needs for the implementation of adaptation in Africa and sets out an action agenda for further progress on climate action. Upon delivering these findings, the Team Europe Initiatives, with members including the Netherlands, Germany, Denmark, France, and the European Commission, announced a finance commitment of €5 million (US$4.25M).
We were also delighted to hold our first Steering Committee meeting during COP27, which comes at a critical time as Africa continues to look at ways to anticipate and manage the adverse effects of climate change.
The Committee is made up of representatives from the Republic of Gabon (as AAI Champion and Chair), the Arab Republic of Egypt (as host of the AAI TSU), the African Union Commission, United Cities and Local Governments of Africa (UCLGA), and Pan Africa Climate Justice Alliance. Some country representatives from Botswana, Kenya, and Liberia are part of the steering committee.
“Catalyzing adaptation action on the African continent is now more necessary and urgent than ever,” said H. E. Lee James Taylor White, Minister of Water & Forests, the Sea and Environment of Gabon, speaking at the first steering committee meeting. “The Steering Committee’s priority will be to stress the need to step up Africa adaptation funding efforts during COP27 as well as the need to establish a finance mechanism for losses and damage. There is a critical need to bring finance and a real commitment to Africa to help people who have done little to contribute to climate change but are currently most impacted by its effects.”
Loss and damage were a focal point of negotiations at COP27 and a key focus for the Steering Committee, so we were pleased with the final decision to establish the Loss and Damage fund. Sources of the funds and other funding arrangements are still to be discussed and decided, but once it is up and running, the fund will support countries vulnerable to the effects of climate change and climate-related disasters, which is a positive step in the right direction. New pledges totalling USD 230 million were made for the Adaptation Fund, and the UN Climate Change’s Standing Committee on Finance will be preparing a report on doubling adaptation finance for consideration at COP28 in Dubai next year. We look forward to continuing our work over the coming year to raise Africa’s profile within global climate negotiations, and to support our continent’s urgent adaptation agenda on behalf of the AU and our 54 nation partners.