African govts urged to fight climate change together - Move to ensure food security on continent

BY: Ama Amankwah Baafi
Dr. John Asafu-Adjaye, Senior Fellow at ACET
Dr. John Asafu-Adjaye, Senior Fellow at ACET

Climate change is intensifying across the continent and as a result subsistence farmers in Ghana and Africa are expected to face increased food insecurity.

This is due to their reliance on rain-fed agriculture. The threat is, therefore, obvious because food security is threatened.

With this looming threat, African governments have been urged to collaborate to deal effectively with issues of climate change (CC).

Addressing a post COP 26 webinar, the Director of the Royal African Society (RAS), Mr Nick Westcott, noted that climate was no respecter of borders and so African governments needed to form partnerships not only externally but also internally among their ministries, departments and agencies in their efforts to deal with CC.

“Climate is at the heart of everything we do. We often make assumptions about it but we have to realise that the climate is changing and will continue to change. African governments need to collaborate regionally to deal with issues of CC even in their own countries,” he said.

The RAS is a membership organisation that provides opportunities for people to connect, celebrate and engage critically with a wide range of topics and ideas about Africa today.

Mr Westcott said it was important to factor in the impact of CC on both the environment and on humans to be able to manage the change it.

“It is people responding to the fact that the climate is changing so we have to factor that into the policies we develop. The money does matter; therefore, commitments should be made to increase funding for Africa’s adaptation but how it is spent is equally important. We cannot wait for the money to make the change because the CC is happening throughout Africa and governments will have to factor that into whatever they are doing,” he said.


Adaptation

The webinar was organised by the African Centre for Economic Transformation (ACET) and AUDA-NEPAD on the theme, “Climate Change: Securing Africa’s Future.”

It provided a platform to discuss the outcomes of COP26 for Africa and drew on the perspectives on resilience, responsibility, accountability, and the gendered impacts of climate.

The CEO of AUDA-NEPAD, Dr Ibrahim Assane Mayaki, described the COP26 as significant with a mixed bag of outcomes for Africa.

He said although adaptation which had been largely ignored in favour of mitigation featured strongly as a form of win for Africa, the region should remain cautiously optimistic and measured in its expectations.

“African countries should build their own capacity to be able to measure the impact of CC rather than relying on figures from elsewhere. It is by doing so that we can realise the full scale of events to deal with them.

“Capacity in understanding the carbon market is significant in order to make sure that Africa is not shortchanged,” he said.


Africa at COP26

COP26 is the 2021 United Nations climate change conference.

At COP26 held in the United Kingdom from October 31 to November 12, 2021, African negotiators attempted to hold developed countries as the main contributors to the climate crisis – accountable for their failure to deliver on the $100 billion annual commitment in climate financing for developing countries.

The goals of the African Group of Negotiators, therefore, included securing significantly higher financial commitments to help African countries achieve their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) and to ensure that countries can build resilience.

With adequate funding, African countries can also work together to achieve climate outcomes as recommended in ACET’s third African Transformation Report: scaling up renewable energy, promoting climate-smart agriculture, and sustaining green and blue ecosystems.