Standard Bank shares its climate-related financial disclosure report
Standard Bank shares its climate-related financial disclosure report. Image credit: 123rf.

The Global Centre on Adaptation (GCA) today announced the launch of its regional office in Côte d’Ivoire. GCA Africa will work with partners across the continent to scale and accelerate adaptation action that protects African communities from the impacts of climate change.

Commenting on the launch, Ban Ki-moon, co-chair of the board of the Global Centre on Adaptation and 8th Secretary-General of the United Nations said: “This is a historic moment to accelerate adaptation in Africa. Nowhere is the challenge of achieving sustainable development in the face of a changing climate more acute.

The launch was hosted by the African Development Bank at its headquarters in the Ivorian capital Abidjan, where its President, Dr Akinwumi Adesina, said: “The Bank has committed to doubling its financing for climate to $25 billion by 2025, with over 50% devoted to climate adaptation. Africa must not be short-changed by global climate finance. We will partner with the GCA to mobilise more resources for climate adaptation in Africa.”

GCA Africa will focus on programmes and action, knowledge acceleration and capacity building and agenda-setting that respond to the acute challenges from the changing climate facing African countries.

The GCA Africa programmes include improving the food security of one billion people in sub-Saharan Africa by 2030 through a programme on rural well-being and food security, as well as projects to support communities through water for urban growth and resilience; using nature for more resilient infrastructure; adaptation finance and building youth leadership.

Effects of climate change

Speaking at the launch, Ali Bongo Ondimba, President of Gabon and chair of the African Adaptation Initiative said: “The devastating effects of climate change, which include severe droughts, floods, reduced agricultural yields, sea-level rise, and other climate-related disasters, are on the rise. The launch of GCA Africa is a bold and innovative initiative to galvanise the support needed to significantly scale up adaptation on the continent, identify gaps and connect regional partners to find solutions.” 

The launch of GCA Africa comes shortly after the launch of its South Asian office in Dhaka by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in September 2020. Its first regional office was launched in Beijing by Premier Li Keqiang in June 2019.

In May 2020, GCA Africa published a GCA policy brief, with the African Adaptation Initiative and endorsed by 54 heads of state and government, which recommended focusing stimulus investment in Africa on resilient infrastructure and food security to overcome the COVID-climate crisis.

Kristalina Georgieva, managing director of the International Monetary Fund, said: “More than any other region, sub-Saharan Africa is vulnerable to the impact of climate change, which threatens lives and livelihoods and undermines economic growth. After the current crisis, boosting resilience is an urgent priority so it’s vital we share the knowledge and best practice that can help accelerate climate adaptation.”

Amina J. Mohammed, Deputy Secretary General of the United Nations added: “There is an urgent need to step up the support for people in Africa, and around the world, affected by climate change. I welcome the Global Centre on Adaptation Africa as a crucial partner in delivering the elevated ambition and enhanced action that is needed to make this shift towards a resilient future.”

Climate Adaptation Summit

The GCA is the lead partner institution for the Climate Adaptation Summit in the Netherlands – the first major gathering of international leaders dedicated entirely to adaptation.

The summit takes place on 25 January 2021 and is hosted by Prime Minister Mark Rutte of the Netherlands. The GCA is also the managing partner to the Climate Vulnerable Forum and Vulnerable Twenty (V20) Group of Ministers of Finance, a group of 48 developing countries highly vulnerable to climate change.

Patrick Verkooijen, CEO of the Global Centre on Adaptation said: “The impacts of climate change are already being felt across Africa and will only increase in magnitude. Adaptation is not a nice-to-have, it’s a necessity.

“Through our role as a solutions broker, GCA Africa will work closely with partners in every sector to ensure the most effective adaptation measures are shared and scaled across the continent, responding to the growing demand for strengthening resilience to the impacts of our changing climate.”