On the sidelines of the 2022 edition of Africa Climate Week (https://bit.ly/3UEJZAj), a session titled Limiting Loss and Damage through Enhanced Adaptation Action in Africa featured a vibrant and timely discussion on an aspect of climate change that generally receives little attention: capturing and assessing the costs and damages associated with climate change.
The African Development Bank and the Konrad Adenauer Foundation of Germany hosted the event, which provided a forum for panelists and participants to discuss the importance of defining and assessing such loss and damage to property, economies, lives and livelihoods due to climatic disasters.
Africa is recognized as the continent most vulnerable to climate change.
Moderator Olufunso Somorin, Senior Regional Officer, African Development Bank, opened the discussion.
He noted that it is important for African countries to measure climate change-related loss and damage to enable proper quantification and well-designed responses that are best suited to the country context.
It was also important to capture those losses that occurred even in instances where preemptive climate adaptation actions had been taken, he added.
Fatten Agad, senior adviser on climate diplomacy and geopolitics at the Africa Climate Foundation, called for the production of a report to serve as a guide and baseline for assessing climate-related loss and damage.
“It has already been shown that the socio-economic impact faced by African countries in dealing with the Covid-19 crisis has been very high, and adding the burden of financing something like loss and damage would be unfair,” he said.
Anja Beretta, Director of Energy Security and Climate Change in Africa at Konrad Adenauer, urged African countries to integrate mechanisms to address loss and damage in their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs).
She also called for designated institutions and operational structures to ensure the efficient and effective use of climate finance to advance the discussion on financial flows to loss and damage.
Stephane Bonamy, Head of the International Committee of the Red Cross Regional Delegation in Cameroon, said: “For countries facing both conflict and climate change impacts, it is imperative that preventive measures are put in place soon enough to reduce the extent of losses.
and damages suffered and reduce the burden on communities”.
He pointed out that 14 of the 25 countries most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change worldwide also face some form of conflict.
Dr. Olumide Abimbola, Executive Director of the African Policy Research Institute in Berlin, reiterated the need to incorporate more African examples of past and current loss and damage into textbooks and journals.
There was agreement among participants on the need for Africa to prioritize timely, comprehensive and large-scale adaptation actions to avoid or minimize future loss and damage.
There was also consensus on the urgent need to expand financial flows from public and private sources to adaptation action across Africa.
They cited the African Development Bank’s Africa Adaptation Accelerator Program (https://bit.ly/3xESy3Y), a joint initiative with the Global Adaptation Center, as a positive example.
The program seeks to mobilize $25 billion over five years to accelerate and scale climate adaptation actions across the continent.
Participants also called for new strategic alliances to drive adaptation policies, plans and investments in Africa through the implementation of NDCs and leveraging synergies with initiatives such as the Africa Disaster Risk Financing programme.