The convenient narrative has been that African countries are not able to carry out climate adaptation and mitigation projects because Western countries have failed to live up to their funding promises.
True, developed countries, guilty of contributing more to climate change, have so far failed to respect the promise they made to commit USD100 billion every year to climate change mitigation and adaptation projects.
But that attitude might have been triggered by receiving nations in Africa, which seem incapable of drafting bankable projects that could attract climate funding.
Experts cited the USD 13 billion of the Green Climate Fund, which unfortunately remains unconsumed because no projects have been presented that meet the fund’s expectations.
And even as African countries find it hard using the little resources available, the continent continues to pay the price for climate change it has contributed little to cause.
The continent is already heating up twice as fast as the rest of the globe, according to Richard Munang, Regional Coordinator of the UN Environment Program.
“in addition to other effects, including a 20% decline in precipitation, a 20% increase in storm intensity, an 8% increase in arid and semi-arid lands, an up to 50% drop in rainfed agriculture potential, the dire socioeconomic consequences that were projected to occur by 2030, 2050, 2100; be it the GDP drop of up to 15% that was originally forecast to happen in 2030, and by 50 – 85% by 2050, the 14% higher sea-level rise, the 40% decline in yields in key staples that was projected to occur by 2050; and shrinkage of incomes by a whopping 75% that was projected to occur by 2100, will move much closer to the present. And with this, escalation of socioeconomic misery that is already at breaking point is guaranteed. Be it the 257 million people experiencing hunger; the over 12 million young people who need jobs every year amidst shrinking economies, the up to 60 million children that are malnourished and costing the continent between 1.9% and 16% of its GDP; among many.
The point is, therefore, – the urgency to increase climate action ambition is not a matter of trust, but of collective survival.”
In the face of such dire statistics, the Africa Forest Forum in partnership with the Global Forest Financing Facilitation Network has organized a training for forest stakeholders from the public sector and NGOs on “climate finance and writing bankable projects” with the larger objective of ensuring that Africa gets access to existing and emerging climate financing.
The training that started March 14 in Douala will run until March 18.
Peter Gondo of the UN Forum on Forests Secretariat outlined a raft of obstacles to accessing climate finance, including the “lack of capacity to write bankable projects which respond clearly to the exigencies of the donors”, over-reliance on international consultants instead of building on national expertise, and the lack of strategies to mobilize climate funds.
“The real elephant in the room is institutional competition. You have competition between the ministries of Finance, Environment, and Forestry. Instead of coming together, they keep trying to outwit each other,” he said.
“African Forest stakeholders have to be abreast with the different funding opportunities and also be empowered with skills on drafting bankable projects,” Peter Gondo said.
Kouassigan Tovivo, a climate finance and adaptation expert, took time off to update participants about the various funding opportunities, and how to come up with bankable projects to attract such funds.
He said in applying for any fund, each project should be aligned with the priorities of the funding agencies. The projects should demonstrate a direct link with climate change mitigation or adaptation to attract climate financing.
He said going green is critical for Africa’s future, with climate change presenting a three trillion-dollar opportunity for Africa by 2030.