African Forum on Financing for Development Considers Accessing Climate Finance

20 May 2011: The African Forum on Financing for Development, organized by the UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) in collaboration with its development partners, focused on reviewing progress, examining key thematic issues relating to development finance in Africa, and proposing the way forward on issues relating to development finance for Africa.

The Forum, which took place from 18-20 May 2011, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, aimed to propose strategies for mobilizing resources to finance economic transformation of African countries. It provided an opportunity for participants to assess progress made, share best practices and lessons learned, and identify obstacles and constraints encountered. The Forum also aimed to shape the African Common Position related to Financing for Development in preparation for the upcoming World Summit in Busan, Republic of Korea, in November 2011, and the High-Level Dialogue on Financing for Development in New York, US, in December 2011. It included, inter alia, thematic sessions on: mobilizing public finance and managing natural resource revenues; accessing climate change finance for development in Africa; mobilizing resources for financing infrastructure and structural transformation in Africa; tackling illicit capital flows for economic transformation in Africa; harnessing South-South cooperation for financing development in Africa; innovative sources of development finance for Africa; enhancing micro-finance for Africa's development; and reforms of the international financial architecture and its impact on African development process. Speakers at the various sessions identified new challenges, emerging issues and innovations in financing for development in Africa in general, and in particular in mobilizing resources for economic transformation.

In his welcoming remarks, Abdulie Janneh, UN Under-Secretary-General and UNECA Executive Secretary, identified climate change financing as "emerging on top of our agenda." He stressed that due to its vulnerability to climate change impacts, Africa will need substantial resources for adaptation to climate change. UNECA reported that at the session on “accessing climate change finance for development in Africa,” Patrick Berg, Heinrich Boll Stiftung Ethiopia, urged African countries to look for innovative ways to ensure that developed countries fulfil their promises to fund climate change adaptation projects on the continent, underlining that about 92 % of the climate change funding in 2010 was directed to mitigation activities. He further called for a coherent implementation of the UNFCCC and UN human rights treaties to ensure that human rights are not violated in the process of funding adaptation and mitigation activities. He explained that, for example, biofuel production can exacerbate food security, thereby violating the right to adequate food. Speaking at the same session, Lloyd Chingambo, Chairman, Africa Carbon Credit Exchange, suggested that Africa should consider adopting an aggressive “twin” climate financing strategy that separates and develops independent, though complementary, approaches:  external climate change financing sources and internal climate change financing sources, with the strategy being anchored and driven by the internal financial sources. [Forum Website] [UNECA Press Release] [Janneh's Statement]