17 African countries join workshop to enhance access to climate change adaptation funds
Representatives from 17 African countries gathered recently at a Global Environment Facility workshop to share lessons on how to deal with the climate crisis unfolding across the continent as well as enhancing access to adaptation funding through the GEF-managed Least Developed Countries Fund (LDCF).
The four-day workshop held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia from October 2 targeted the adaptation needs of African Least Developed Countries – where the climate crisis threatens to set back decade-long efforts to improve people’s lives by blocking development pathways.
Ethiopia’s Planning and Development State Minister Sandokan Debebe underscored how Africa is at the “forefront” of cascading climate effects. “Our continent faces consecutive droughts, floods, and locust infestations, endangering lives and livelihoods, hindering development gains, and impeding progress towards sustainable development goals,” he said.
Minister Debebe also indicated the resolve of African countries to counter these effects. “We are committed to addressing these challenges through national strategies and initiatives,” he said. The Minister highlighted how Ethiopia is taking action to bolster national climate resilience through the Green Legacy Initiative, a national tree planting program being unrolled across the country’s urban and rural areas.
In addition to Ethiopia, countries participating in the workshop comprised Angola, Eritrea, Gambia, Lesotho, Liberia, Malawi, Mozambique, Rwanda, Uganda, Sao Tome and Principe, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia.
Hosted by Ethiopia’s Ministry of Planning and Development, the workshop also included civil society organizations, private sector innovators, research institutions, and the GEF’s partner agencies - reflecting the GEF’s whole-of-society approach to support transformative adaptation.
The gathering was one of a series of regional Global Environment Facility workshops designed through a new climate adaptation strategy to enhance Least Developed Countries’ climate resilience by strengthening their capacity to initiate adaptation projects and to enhance knowledge sharing on how to tackle climate impacts.
Africa is the continent least able to cope with negative climate impacts, according to a World Meteorological Organization report released last month which found that more than 110 million African people have been affected by weather, climate, and water-related hazards in 2022. This led to an estimated 5,000 fatalities, 48 percent of which were associated with drought and 43 percent connected to flooding. The State of the Climate in Africa 2022 report found that climate change is harming food security, ecosystems and economies, fueling displacement and migration, and worsening the threat of conflict over dwindling resources.
Government representatives learned how to design effective adaptation projects to access the GEF’s Least Developed Countries Fund - the only climate fund designed to address the particular climate adaptation needs of Least Developed Countries. They also heard from representatives of the private sector and civil society organizations about how to adopt innovative and inclusive adaptation approaches.
Addressing the workshop by video, GEF CEO and Chairperson Carlos Manuel Rodriguez depicted the climate change toll in the Horn of Africa as a long drought followed by recent floods that has caused deaths and displaced families, lost livestock and crops, destroyed homes and public buildings, and increased the risk of epidemics.
Stressing to the country representatives that the “LDCF is your fund,” Rodriguez called on African Least Developed Countries to apply for the full $20 million amount which they can receive during the GEF’s current financing cycle extending to 2026 (GEF-8). This represents a doubling of the adaptation funding available to Least Developed Countries from the GEF’s previous funding period.
Daniele Violetti, Senior Director, Programs Coordination, at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change added that access to the LDCF represented a path for these countries to turn their UNFCCC-backed National Adaptation Plans into concrete adaptation projects. “Expedited access to the financial sources for adaptation will be key to turn the vision of Least Developed Country projects and programming into reality,” he said.
GEF Lead Environmental Specialist Chizuru Aoki said the workshop was an ideal venue for practical knowledge sharing - including a field visit to an urban resilience project in Addis Ababa and the use of learning stations, where adaptation project implementers shared their experiences in different countries. “The workshop was a useful testing ground to assess participating countries’ adaptation project concepts seeking LDCF support,” she said.