Pic credit: GB Times

On Monday, the African Development Bank (AfDB) and the Global Environment Facility (GEF), confirmed their commitment to support African cities, which are being impacted by the effects of climate change, and to build resilience.

The Bank said in a statement that the two organisations pledged to redouble their efforts towards meeting the cost of climate change adaptation, which the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) projects to be in the range of $28-67 billion per year by 2030.

The announcement was made at a joint event on ‘Leveraging climate finance for urban resilience in Africa’ at COP22 in Marrakech, Morocco.

AfDB reiterates support against climate change

Amadou Hott, AfDB Vice-President, Power, Energy, Climate and Green Growth, said: “The AfDB is committed to support the implementation of the Paris Agreement and support African countries to access funding from all partners including the GEF to meet their ambitions set in the National Determined Contributions (NDCs).”

According to the Bank, Hott stressed that the Paris Agreement recognises the major role that urban centres have to play in tackling change, adding that cities are now home to over half of the global population.

He emphasised that, in Africa, urbanisation would increase exponentially over the coming decades, a development that has profound implications in the face of climate change, creating vulnerabilities to external shocks, including economic and climatic.

The VP further stressed that cities will need more capacity to absorb and recover from climatic shocks and stresses, but lamented that the expansion of cities is at the expense of forests and other natural environments or ecosystems, and comes with increase in pollution, and related diseases.

High Five priority pillars

The Bank is working with global climate funds in order to achieve its ‘High Five’ priorities for Africa, which include: Light up and power Africa; Feed Africa; Industrialise Africa; Integrate Africa; and Improve the quality of life for the people of Africa.

Hott explained: “To deliver on these priorities, the AfDB is working with the global climate funds including the GEF to assist African countries effectively adapt to the negative impacts of climate change.

“The Bank has mobilised funds from GEF’s Least Developed Countries Fund (LDCF) and the Special Climate Change Fund (SCCF) resources to address these increasing climatic threats, but this is only a small percentage of what is required. I am convinced that the GEF and AfDB partnership will deliver a new perspective of urban resilience in Africa.”

Naoko Ishii, CEO of the GEF said: “The GEF commits to work more closely with African countries through the AfDB, our partner.”

According to Ishii, cities are important as they are a frontrunner in the fight against climate change. She pointed out that 80% of GDP is generated in cities, so it is important to assess how cities can best fight against climate change, the Bank noted in a statement.

“GEF also supports the Sustainable City Programme, which the AfDB is implementing in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire,” said Ishii, adding: “Cities can be designed to be more compact, to reduce the impact of flooding for instance, she said, adding that cities’ infrastructure can also be retrofitted to increase their resilience.

“What can institutions like the GEF and other international development institutions do? We can help by supporting policy and institutional reforms in cities, including building knowledge platforms of best practices, and enabling international cooperation,” Ishii concluded.