The African Development Bank (AfDB) and the Global Centre on Adaptation (GCA) have launched the Africa Adaptation Acceleration Program (AAAP), which aims to raise 25 billion US dollars for investments in climate adaptation initiatives in Africa. President Uhuru Kenyatta has been appointed the program’s global champion.
Kenyatta was also honored by GCA during a ceremony held at the University of Nairobi’s Taifa Hall in Nairobi City County for his pioneering work in resource mobilization and advocacy for climate change adaptation in Africa and around the world.
The recognition was given to the Head of State by GCA CEO Patrick van Verkooijen who commended Kenyatta for his sterling efforts in tackling the climate change challenge.
As the Global Champion for the AAAP, President Kenyatta will continue, in his personal capacity, carrying forward his bold leadership on climate adaptation in Kenya to mobilize the global community to honor their commitment to doubling global climate finance.
“Africa – indeed the world – is confronting multiple global shocks that are reverberating through our economies. The catastrophic drought in the Horn of Africa, exacerbated by climate change, is threatening lives and livelihoods and needs an immediate response.
Many African nations, including Kenya, are suffering losses of about three percent of GDP per year because of the present climate threat,” said the president.
“I accepted the role of Global Champion for the AAAP to give impetus to the critical actions and global finance needed to address the climate and food crisis today, and to build a more resilient continent. AAAP is Africa’s plan that puts Africa’s youth and jobs at the center of the adaptation agenda for a green, prosperous Africa.” He added.
The President noted that the Horn of Africa was facing its worst drought in over 40 years as a direct consequence of climate change.
“As we speak, over four million Kenyans need food assistance, and close to one million children under 2 years, are malnourished. Across the Horn of Africa, twenty million people – and six million of them are children – are severely food insecure,” he said.
Kenyatta also said climate-induced extreme weather conditions including devastating floods in Southern Africa and Southern Sudan, will retard Africa’s progress.
“Such crises precipitate huge economic losses, estimated at 3% of GDP for the continent in the medium term. They also threaten peaceful coexistence, leading to inter-community conflict as well as displacement, as people relocate in search of food and pasture,” he said.
The Head of State said the situation is likely to have negative impacts on generations to come as children face malnutrition due to food insecurity, which in turn undermines their health and productivity.
“This deadly toxic cocktail of Covid-19 pandemic, the Ukraine-Russian war, and the climate change-related emergency, grows more deadly by the day,” he said.
In that regard, he urged developed nations to fulfill their financial pledges toward Africa’s adaptation agenda.
“We have no choice. We must act and do so fast because the window of opportunity is closing on us. This means we must waste no time, and we must prioritize and invest massively in adaptation and resilience,” the President urged.
He said AAAP is a bold and creative platform that lays a broad and firm foundation for economic growth while at the same time containing the impact of climate shocks.
“Therefore, today, as I assume my role as an adaptation champion, I repeat my call to our development partners to urgently support Africa by making good on their pledges. The US $100bn annual amount pledged to help developing countries tackle climate change by 2020, is yet to be honored. In the absence of that promised one hundred billion US Dollars a year, we have another promise pending – the promise made at COP26 in Glasgow to double adaptation finance,” the President said.
He added, “We must shift gear and move from commitments to action. To achieve the Paris Agreement, there must be a paradigm shift. When African leaders arrive in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt in November for COP27, we expect to see the many climate change commitments translate into funded programs”.
Environment CS Keriako Tobiko said through President Kenyatta’s efforts the country had grown its forest cover to 12.3 percent forest cover.
“Your Excellency, you mobilized the entire country into a tree-planting campaign. Our constitution requires a tree cover of a minimum of 10 percent, but Your Excellency with your leadership our tree cover now is now 12.13percent,” he said.
Other speakers at the auspicious event through pre-recorded messages were former UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva, WTO Director-General Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, and African Development Bank AfDB President Dr. Akinwumi Ayodeji Adesina.