UK commits to supporting climate change adaptation in Africa

The United Kingdom (UK) this week announced new funding to support African governments to roll out critical adaptation projects to enable communities at risk to adapt to the impact of extreme weather and climate change.

In a press release, the UK’s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office said Prime Minister Boris Johnson at the Congress of Parties (COP26) in Glasgow Tuesday revealed that Britain was offering an ambitious new guarantee mechanism – the ‘Room to Run’ guarantee – to the African Development Bank (AfDB), expected to unlock up to £1.45 billion (US$2 billion) worth of new financing for projects across the continent, half of which will help countries adapt to the impacts of climate change.

The package will bring together private sector finance and public sector expertise to scale African climate adaptation projects and provide life-saving support in the face of climate shocks

“COP26 President Alok Sharma announced the new UK support for the Africa Adaptation Acceleration Program (AAAP) – an initiative endorsed by African Union leaders and led by the African Development Bank, Global Centre on Adaptation and the Africa Adaptation Initiative, to back African-led plans to accelerate resilience-building across Africa,” said the office

“Today (Tuesday)’s announcements came on the second day of COP26, the two-week UN Climate Change Conference, where world leaders are meeting with the aim to agree how to tackle the urgent threat of global climate change.

UK Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said more finance for African nations to develop and adapt to climate change was important as these countries find themselves on the frontline of impacts. It is a huge investment opportunity.

“By combining our cash with other donors and businesses, and working with partners such as the African Development Bank to direct funding into green projects, today we are delivering on our commitment to African-led climate adaptation,” said Truss.

“These were part of a package of UK aid programmes announced today to support and scale-up African adaptation to climate change, including a new partnership with the UK’s world-leading Met Office to boost weather forecasting and early-warning systems so people living at risk of droughts or floods can take action in advance of climate shocks – such as providing early storm warnings so fishing communities on Lake Victoria can take action that saves lives.”

A new five-year Shock Response Programme to help vulnerable communities living in Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger – where 80% of the population rely on agriculture and livestock for an income – to be more resilient to cope with climate shocks. Strengthening early-warning systems, the programme will build government systems to respond to crisis earlier and reduce the need for humanitarian assistance.

UK Minister for Africa Vicky Ford said: “For communities across Africa, the impact of climate change is being felt right now. From cyclones in Southern Africa to locusts in East Africa, changing weather patterns are already having catastrophic impacts for communities living across the continent, impacting lives and jobs. This is despite African nations being responsible for just 2-3% of global emissions.”

New support announced this week, Ford said, will enable African countries to adapt to a changing climate and build resilience to the impacts of climate change. This is essential if communities and countries are to thrive in an uncertain future.

“The UK is a long-standing supporter of Africa’s adaptation to climate change, with around half of the UK’s £2.7 billion ($3.7 billion) adaptation budget between 2016 and 2020 spent in Africa,” added Ford.

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