Cairo, Egypt - All African countries are parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Fifty of them have ratified its Paris Agreement, with finance and adaptation measures being the African priority.
Despite the multiplicity of policy frameworks, challenges to effective operationalization persist, and the scale of action falls dramatically short of the increasing need. On one hand, there is a lack in the broader understanding across government entities and regional organizations of the relationship and interdependencies between climate change risks, socioeconomic factors and peace and security issues. As a result, climate change issues continue to be dealt with by traditional actors using a ‘siloed’ approach, with limited vertical and horizontal engagement. On the other hand, many of the climate commitments, including adaptation aren’t factored into national budgetary processes. Likewise, there is still a need to bridge the pre-2020 climate finance gap.
With these challenges in mind, national governments, with the support of the international community, need to (i) demystify the multidimensional and transnational nature of climate-related security and development risks; (ii) take an approach to climate threats, development and peacebuilding that considers the systematic interplay between these risks, or in other words, is risk-informed; and (iii) assess the means of implementation, including finance, needed to address these challenges.
Against this background, and acting in its capacity as the Secretariat of the Aswan Forum for Sustainable Peace and Development, the Cairo International Center for Conflict Resolution, Peacekeeping and Peacebuilding (CCCPA)--in partnership with adelphi, and as part of the Berlin Climate and Security Conference 2020 (Part II)--hosted a webinar, titled:
Integrating Climate-Related Security and Development Risks into National Planning and Programming in Africa, and the Role of International Support
The webinar session aimed to identify action points for African governments and regional organizations on how to (i) shift towards risk-based decision making when planning for climate-targeted responses, development and peacebuilding, and (ii) translate risk-informed planning into implementation. It also aimed to identify action points for African governments, regional organizations and the international community to assess and mobilize the means of implementation necessary for African countries to enable them to deal with climate change and its associated threats.
The webinar brought together government representatives from Burkina Faso, Djibouti, Rwanda, Somalia, Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda; regional organizations, namely the ECOWAS, ECCAS, IGAD and Lake Chad Basin Commission, representatives from across departments at the AU, UN agencies, as well as bilateral partners, humanitarian and local organizations, and research and training centers.
In her opening remarks, Raquel Munayer, Research Analyst, adelphi, highlighted the key gaps hindering the implementation of climate policy frameworks: "Many of the systematic issues that impede the translation of climate commitments into action are an outcome of the siloed and reactive management of climate change threats."
Silja Halle, Programme Officer, United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), stated that natural resource management and climate adaptation interventions can bring about conflict prevention and peacebuilding benefits: “UNEP’s program is not a natural resource management project, but rather it is an integrated conflict prevention program that builds on the opportunities provided by the natural resources (water and land), which drive vulnerability, undermine development, and increase conflict.”
In her remarks, Hindou Oumarou Ibrahim, President of the Association for Indigenous Women and Peoples of Chad (AFPAT), urged the international community to provide indigenous communities with opportunities to sustain their livelihoods: "I call on the international community to focus on how indigenous communities can protect their resources, be resilient, feed their families, rise above poverty, etc. through merely being provided with livelihood opportunities."
Gareth Phillips, Chief Climate Change and Green Officer, Environment and Climate Change Division at the African Development Bank Group (AfDB), emphasized the importance of designing climate adaptation projects that are attractive for the private sector: "We cannot rely on donor governments alone to provide all the finance we need. The challenge is getting the private sector interested in climate adaptation, as there really isn't a financial business model for adaptation."
On his part, Dr. Francois Kayitakire, Director of Research and Development Department, AU African Risk Capacity (ARC), underlined the need for building national capacities on contingency planning and response operations: “This is important for strengthening the governance of risk management, and also strengthening the capacity of the country to plan for and manage the risks themselves instead of waiting for an external response, which usually--by definition--would be delayed.”
The webinar session included policy recommendations and action points on (i) integrating climate-related security and development risks in climate adaptation, development and peacebuilding planning and programming, (ii) translating risk-informed planning into implementation, and (iii) assessing and mobilizing the means of implementation needed to respond to these risks.
This event was made possible in part by the generous support of the German Federal Foreign Office, the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, the Government of Japan, the Government of Sweden, the United Nations Development Programme and the African Development Bank Group.