The African Group of Negotiators at the ongoing 28th Conference of Parties on Saturday expressed its disappointment with talks around adaptation which it says is crucial to Africa.
“We are disappointed by the lack of progress on this important issue in the first week,” Collins Nzuvo, the chair of the group and Zambia’s minister of green economy and environment, said.
However, the group expects COP28 to result in tangible outcomes which reflect Africa’s aspirations, especially on the need for enhanced climate adaptation.
He noted that it is a matter of life and death for Africa.
Mr Nzuvo expressed the group’s disappointment in the lack of progress in talks on adaptation in the first week of the two-week conference, adding that they expect a robust framework on the Global Goal on Adaptation (GGA).
The GGA proposed by the African Group of Negotiators (AGN) in 2013 and established in 2015 is a collective commitment under Article 7.1 of the Paris Agreement aimed at “enhancing (the world’s) adaptive capacity, strengthening resilience and reducing vulnerability to climate change.”
It is meant to serve as a unifying framework that can drive political action and finance for adaptation on the same scale as mitigation. However, adaptation finance has continued to lag behind mitigation funds.
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Patrick Verkooijen, chief executive officer of the Global Goal on Adaptation, told Bloomberg Green’s Zero podcast that climate adaptation needs in the global south is around $400 million a year.
Somewhat optimistic that the conference which is now in its second week could still deliver for the continent, Mr Nzuvo said “the outcome of the GGA is the most important outcome for Africa at COP28, without which we would consider COP28 a failure.”
The United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP), in its latest adaptation gap report, noted that the adaptation finance needs of developing countries are 10 to 18 times as big as international public finance flows. This is over 50 per cent higher than the previous range estimate.
“As a result of the growing adaptation finance needs and faltering flows, the current adaptation finance gap is now estimated at US$194 – 366 billion per year. At the same time, adaptation planning and implementation appear to be plateauing,” the report said.
UNEP warns that failure to adapt has massive implications for losses and damages, particularly for the most vulnerable.
Mr Nzuvo also called out developed countries for their failure to deliver multilateral support to Africa which contributes insignificantly to the climate crisis but bears the brunt of the adverse effects of climate change.
“African countries require access to scaled-up levels of new and additional and predictable grant and concessional finance for climate action,” Mr Nzuvo said.
Commending the historic adoption of the operationalisation of the loss and damage fund, he expressed concerns saying, “We are cautious of similar commitments made in the past, which, from our standpoint, have not been fulfilled. We hope this won’t be the case with the Loss and Damage fund.”
This story was produced as part of the 2023 Climate Change Media Partnership, a journalism fellowship organized by Internews’ Earth Journalism Network and the Stanley Center for Peace and Security.
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