Africa needs to urgently adopt climate resilient development pathways if it is to survive the adverse impacts of climate change, the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) has warned.
The ECA also warned that Africa will not successfully implement the sustainable development agenda and its 50-year development plan, Agenda 2063 if urgent climate actions are not taken now.
The precautionary measures were issued by James Murombedzi, Officer in Charge of the ECA's African Climate Policy Center (ACPC), ahead of the 7th Climate Change and Development in Africa (CCDA7) which opened in Nairobi on Wednesday.
Mr. Murombedzi's warning followed a special report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) on a global warming of 1.5 degrees centigrade published on Monday.
The report had called for urgent action to phase out fossil fuels and warned that there is only 12 years to be kept to a maximum of 1.5C and avoid catastrophic environmental breakdown.
"Africa is already suffering from the adverse impacts of climate change even though it contributes far less to greenhouse emissions," Mr. Murombedzi said.
"We need a global approach towards climate resilient development pathways to ensure that warming is limited to 1.5 degrees Celsius and hence not derail Africa's development renaissance and aspirations."
Mr. Murombedzi said the IPCC report means that climate actions are not only urgent for Africa but also for those responsible for the warming.
"This report is particularly important because a global 1.5C warmer world (compared to pre-industrial) will see several regions worldwide experiencing temperature higher warming - 3 degrees in the case of Africa," he said.
He added that concerted efforts are needed globally, especially to ensure the effective implementation of the Paris Agreement.
"That is why at CCDA-VII we believe that that countries have to start planning for a warmer climate than previously expected so this means we need to review all the different climate actions and proposals to ensure that we can in fact not only survive in a 3C warmer environment but still be able to meet our sustainable development objectives and our Agenda 2063," said Mr. Murombedzi.
"We also need urgent action to ensure there's an enabling environment for the participation of key actors, that is non-state actors, like civil society, private sector and sub-national entities in the climate change discourse."
The CCDA-VII is being organized in partnership with the Kenyan government and the Pan-African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA).
This year, it is focusing on the theme, 'Policies and actions for effective implementation of the Paris Agreement for resilient economies in Africa.'