Marrakech, Morocco, April 18, 2019 (ECA) - Climate change can seriously impede Africa’s quest to achieve all the 17 sustainable development goals that address global challenges, including poverty, inequality, climate, environmental degradation, prosperity, and peace and justice.
The issue came up during a side event at the on-going fifth Africa Regional Forum for Sustainable Development (ARFSD) in Marrakech, Morocco.
In light of the fatalities and destruction caused by Tropical Cyclone Idai in the Southern African nations of Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe, African nations have been urged to prioritise the uptake and use of climate information as early warning measures to climate proof infrastructure and other investments as well as adopt contingency measures that will protect human life and shield property from climate induced disasters.
“While extreme events are natural, climate change is worsening their occurrence and impacts, as demonstrated by the severe human and economic losses that occurred in Malawi, Mozambique and Zimbabwe in March 2019 from the devastation caused by Tropical Cyclone Idai, which affected more than 2.6million people and caused more than 700 deaths,” Oliver Chinganya the Director of the African Statistics Centre at the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) said.
“Climate change aggravates existing vulnerabilities and structural inequalities. Without urgent and ambitious global action on climate change, well beyond current pledges under the Paris Agreement, development agenda for Africa is at serious risk of failure.”
Even though Africa has contributed the least to climate change it is significant to note that as of March 2019 all African States had signed on the Paris Agreement which commits all countries to limit the increase in the global average temperature this century to “well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperatures increase to 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels.”
“Climate change and development are inseparable,” said Chinganya. “Climate change is the consequence of current global production and consumption patterns and the resulting increase in greenhouse gas emissions.”
As of March 2019, some 48 African nations had ratified the global pact and submitted their nationally determined contributions. According to data by ECA the continent will require some $3 trillion in conditional and unconditional financing to uphold their nationally determined commitments.
Mithika Mwenda, who leads the continental civil society coalition on climate change, the Pan African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA), called for the mainstreaming and integration of climate change measures into national policies, plans and strategies.
He also urged the international community to fulfil their commitments which were pledged during the 15th Conference of Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change held in Copenhagen, promising annual climate financing to a tune of $100bn.
The Marrakesh forum went on to note that the Paris Agreement offers Africa an opportunity to adopt low-carbon development pathways and capitalize on its abundant renewable energy resources to power socio-economic transformation.
“For developed countries the challenge is how to maintain present levels of gross domestic product per capita while also addressing inequality, adopting climate mitigation measures and reducing emissions,” added Chinganya.
For Africa, the challenge is how to increase economic productivity to achieve higher GDP per capita while leaving no one behind without increasing emissions.