African countries pledge investments in climate adaptation projects

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NAIROBI, April 27 (Xinhua) -- Sub-Saharan African countries will channel greater investments towards community-led climate change mitigation and adaptation projects in order to accelerate green growth, officials said on Monday.

Speaking during the 9th international conference on community- based adaptation held in Nairobi, policymakers and experts stressed that adequate financing was key to enhance resilience to climatic shocks.

Kenya's Cabinet Secretary for Environment Judi Wakhungu said that inadequate financing, technological and knowledge gaps undermined the ability of African states to cope with extreme weather events.

"We require solid national and regional action plans to minimize the negative impacts of climate change to communities and natural capital," Wakhungu said.

African states have endorsed broad measures to rejuvenate the fight against climate change that is to blame for worsening poverty, spread of vector borne diseases and resource-based conflicts.

Wakhungu said African environment ministers have lobbied for enactment of sweeping legislation and addional funds to boost the war against climate change.

"Our communities are feeling the impacts of climate change; their water, energy and food supplies have diminished. There is an urgency to increase access to funds and technologies that would promote resilience," Wakhungu told the delegates.

The Kenyan National Climate Change Response Strategy roots for massive investments in adaptation programs at the grassroots level. Wakhungu said the recent approval of climate bill by Kenyan parliament will pave way for investments in green projects across key economic sectors.

Multilateral agencies have prioritized climate financing in Sub- Saharan Africa to enable communities cope with recurrent droughts, water scarcity, infectious diseases and habitat loss.

Principal Economist at the African Development Bank (AFDB) Tom Owiyo revealed that donor agencies have increased climate financing in Africa.

"We have a collective duty to help poor countries adapt to climate change. Africa's current economic progress can only be sustained if the continent is cushioned from environmental stresses," Owiyo said.

Multilateral agencies in 2013 approved 952 million U.S. dollars to support climate change adaptation in Sub-Saharan Africa. Owiyo revealed that AFDB contributed 432 million dollars and intends to scale up investments in targeted interventions that promote climate resilience.

"The bulk of our financing has been channeled to the public sector and we have initiated discussions with the private sector to explore areas of engagement," Owiyo told Xinhua.

He added that investments in renewable energy in the eastern African region have unleashed economic and environmental benefits.

African countries should focus on community-based adaptation projects to reverse declining food production, habitat loss and spread of vector borne diseases triggered by climate change.

Saleemul Huq, a senior fellow at the International Institute for Environment and Development (IEED), said there have been robust grassroot initiatives to combat global warming across Sub- Saharan Africa.

"Local communities in Africa have initiated successful projects to contain negative effects of climate change. These interventions need to be scaled up," Huq said, adding that ecosystem based adaptation projects like reforestation, watersheds management and ecological farming had profound impacts in rural areas.

SOURCE: Shanghai Daily, 28/04/2015,