UN climate champion for Egypt calls for multiplying climate adaptation funds for Africa to $62 billion

Habiba Hamdy , Tuesday 1 Nov 2022

Mahmoud Mohieldin, the UN climate change high level champion for Egypt, stressed the need to multiply the amount allocated for climate adaptation for Africa by six times to reach $62 billion, up from the current $11.4 billion.

Mahmoud Mohieldin
Dr Mahmoud Mohieldin, UN Climate Change Hight-Level Champion for Egypt, speaks during a session at the Afrca CEO Forum in Abidjan on June 14, 2022. AFP


Africa currently receives approximately $29.5 billion annually, of which $14.6 billion is for mitigation and about $11.4 billion is for adaptation, Mohieldin said during his speech Monday at a virtual session by UNCTAD on financing the global adaptation challenge.

Africa needs $2.8 trillion between 2020 and 2030, an average of $277 billion annually, Mohieldin said, citing a report published by the Climate Policy Initiative.

Adaptation funds are provided by the Adaptation Fund Board, a global body originally set up in 2001 by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to provide financial aid to developing countries to adapt to the negative effects of climate change.

It is important to distinguish between adaptation and the losses and damages caused by climate change, added Mohieldin, who also is the UN special envoy on financing 2030 agenda for sustainable development.

“Each file must be addressed differently, especially since the file of adaptation is still suffering from a great deal of neglect and lack of funding,” he pointed out.

The climate champion emphasised the importance of adaptation for developing economies and for Africa in particular.

Mohieldin also referred to the dependence of climate finance on state budgets, either directly through mobilising domestic resources or through borrowing, arguing that this makes some countries more vulnerable than others as it means they would need to spend at least 20 percent of their GDP.

According to Mohieldin, 97 percent of adaptation funding in Africa comes from public sources, and only three percent comes from the private sector.

The climate champion highlighted the opportunities for public-private partnerships, especially in light of the nexus between water, food, energy and basic infrastructure, noting the need to mobilise more public financing and soft resources for adaptation and strengthen the role of the private sector.

Mohieldin concluded his speech by emphasising the need to renew or increase the capital of the multilateral development banks and replenish the Green Climate Fund, which must take into account how to finance future needs, especially when it comes to technical assistance and capacity development.

Hopes are pinned on the 2022 UN Climate Change Conference (COP27), set to be held 6-18 November in Sharm El-Sheikh, to turn climate-related pledges into action to help facilitate the transition to green energy in order to reduce harmful greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to climate change as per the Paris Agreement.

The Paris Agreement – adopted at COP21 and signed by over 190 states, including Egypt – came into effect in 2016 with the aim of limiting the rise in temperatures to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

Climate finance has been debated at every COP meeting since, as developed countries have failed to meet their promise to mobilise $100 billion annually by 2020 to help developing nations with mitigation and adaptation measures.

Only 70 percent of the $100 billion pledged in 2009’s COP, held in Copenhagen, to finance climate action in the developing countries have been fulfilled, Mohieldin said in previous remarks.

Egypt has vowed to speak up for Africa's aspirations to cope with climate change during COP27.

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