Africa needs to ‘shield’ COP28 from war distractions to get promises met – crisis group


African representatives attending COP28 have been called on to ensure climate diplomacy is not overtaken by the many wars and economic distractions.


African representatives attending COP28 have been called on to ensure climate diplomacy is not overtaken by the many wars and economic distractions.

  • African representatives at COP28 need to ensure climate diplomacy is shielded from the many wars and economic distractions.
  • A guaranteed Loss and Damage Fund could be a major win for Africa at COP28.
  • Last year, climate change-related disasters impacted around 27 million African children.

The wars in Ukraine and Gaza are distractions to the UN Climate Change Conference – COP28 – and could harm Africa’s interests, warned a non-governmental organisation dedicated to building peace.

COP28 starts on Thursday.

International Crisis Group’s senior analyst on climate, environment and conflict in Africa, Nazanine Moshiri, said African representatives at COP28 needed to ensure that pledges made to Africa in the past were addressed.

“In Dubai, African negotiators are grappling with how to ensure that climate diplomacy is shielded from the many wars and economic distractions going on. The risk, as always, is that richer nations prioritise their own political interests over the greater good during these talks,” she said.

READ | Ahead of COP28, Horn of Africa floods are a reminder of Africa’s climate change crises

The African Development Bank (AFDB) aims to generate funds for climate action and highlight Africa’s requests for strong commitments from wealthy countries to satisfy the continent’s pressing needs in addressing climate change at COP28.

This is a major umbrella drive from African nations, and the AFDB said it would “launch and cement several climate action initiatives”.

However, if it failed, Moshiri said it would spell doom for the continent.

She said: 

That would be disastrous for African countries already experiencing the unavoidable and irreversible impacts of climate change, and it is only just that wealthier carbon-emitting countries compensate the victims of their pollution.

In past COP gatherings, adaptation – adjustments in ecological, social or economic systems in response to actual or expected climatic stimuli and their effects – has largely been ignored.

AFDB’s president, Akinwumi Adesina, is set to mobilise funds and partnerships for the Africa Climate Risk Insurance Facility for Adaptation (ACRIFA).

The ACRIFA, according to the AFDB, is a vital tool to raise the billions needed to foster climate adaptation, resilience and sustainable development in Africa’s agricultural sector.

Moshiri added that, along with the Loss and Damage Fund, adaptation is vital.

“African countries hit by conflict and climate shocks are urging more focus on adaptation, often overlooked in COP talks. Adapting to climate shocks protects communities and promotes stability by curbing knock-on effects, like political and social tensions. 

“There’s a whopping $41.3 billion annual gap to meet the $52.7 billion needed each year for adaptation measures in Africa by 2030. 

“Another priority is the Loss and Damage Fund, a potential lifeline for African countries experiencing weather-related disasters,” she said.

READ | West African climate change experts call for special attention to their region at COP28

Climate change-related disasters affect children and women the most.

In Africa last year, the majority of nations, where weather extremes were the primary cause of hunger, were located in the Horn of Africa, with Ethiopia and Somalia accounting for more than half of the 27 million children affected.

This was a 135% jump from the previous year, according to a new data analysis by Save the Children.

According to the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification, the 12 nations, where weather extremes were the leading cause of hunger in 2022, were Angola, Burundi, Ethiopia, Iraq, Kenya, Madagascar, Malawi, Pakistan, Somalia, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia.

The News24 Africa Desk is supported by the Hanns Seidel Foundation. The stories produced through the Africa Desk and the opinions and statements that may be contained herein do not reflect those of the Hanns Seidel Foundation.




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