Hosted by the African Development Bank (AfDB) at its headquarters in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, the Global Center on Adaptation (GCA) launched its African regional office on September 17.
GCA Africa will work with partners across the continent to scale and accelerate adaptation action that protects African communities from the impacts of climate change, focusing on programmes of action, knowledge acceleration and capacity building, and agenda-setting that responds to the acute challenges from the changing climate facing African countries.
The GCA Africa programmes include improving the food security of one-billion people in sub-Saharan Africa by 2030 through a programme on rural wellbeing and food security, as well as projects to support communities through water for urban growth and resilience, using nature for more resilient infrastructure, adaptation finance and building youth leadership.
The launch of GCA Africa comes shortly after the launch of the GCA's South Asian office in Dhaka, Bangladesh, by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in September. Its first regional office was launched in Beijing by Premier Li Keqiang in June 2019.
In May, GCA Africa published a GCA policy brief, with the African Adaptation Initiative and endorsed by 54 heads of State and government, which recommended focusing stimulus investment in Africa on resilient infrastructure and food security to overcome the Covid-19 climate crisis.
The GCA is the lead partner institution for the Climate Adaptation Summit in the Netherlands – the first major gathering of international leaders dedicated entirely to adaptation. The summit will take place on January 25, 2021, and will be hosted by Netherlands Prime Minister Mark Rutte.
The GCA is also the managing partner to the Climate Vulnerable Forum and Vulnerable Twenty Group of Ministers of Finance, a group of 48 developing countries highly vulnerable to climate change.
GCA co-chairperson and United Nations secretary-general Ban Ki-moon says the launch of GCA Africa is a historic moment to accelerate adaptation on the continent.
“Nowhere is the challenge of achieving sustainable development in the face of a changing climate more acute.”
He adds that the GCA’s new regional office will support regional and national adaptation efforts by emphasising and spreading existing best practices on the continent and ensuring their fully fledged integration into broader international adaptation efforts.
AfDB president Dr Akinwumi Adesina says the bank has committed to doubling its financing for climate to $25-billion by 2025, with over 50% devoted to climate adaptation. “Africa must not be short-changed by global climate finance. We will partner with the GCA to mobilise more resources for climate adaptation in Africa.”
Gabon President and African Adaptation chairperson Ali Bongo Ondimba highlights that the devastating effects of climate change – which include severe droughts, floods, reduced agricultural yields, sea-level rise and other climate-related disasters – are on the rise.
“The launch of GCA Africa is a bold and innovative initiative to galvanise the support needed to significantly scale up adaptation on the continent, identify gaps and connect regional partners to find solutions.”