ECA Lecture Series Highlights Africa’s Response to Climate Change

© UNECA22 June 2009: As part of the UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) Library Book Review Series, the UNECA organized a lecture to revisit the Stern Review on Climate Change on 22 June 2009, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Kwadwo Tutu, UNECA Economic Affairs Officer, and Josue Dione, Director of UNECA's Food Security and Sustainable Development Division and Coordinator of UNECA's African Climate Policy Centre (ACPC), highlighted the impacts of climate change on Africa, as well as the measures being taken in the region in response to this challenge.

Citing the Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change, Tutu emphasized that the effects of climate change would cost an estimated annual loss of at least 5% of global gross domestic product, rising to 20% or more if left unchecked. He also identified the potential effects on Africa, including sea level rise, loss of wildlife habitats, reduction in cereal crop yields, increased frequency of drought, and an increase in the range and prevalence of vector-borne diseases.

Dione focused on Africa's response to climate change, highlighting the measures being taken by African governments and their development partners to ensure coherent action aimed at: harnessing the continent's resources to meet the climate change challenge; enabling effective adaptation activities to increase the resilience of Africa's population to climate change; and addressing the need for greatly improved climate information for Africa. He outlined two key UNECA climate change initiatives: ClimDev-Africa and the ACPC, which, inter alia, aim to build a foundation for a science-based response to climate change and to strengthen Africa's climate and development institutions at regional, sub-regional and national levels. He explained that the ACPC would serve as ClimDev-Africa's knowledge-management and policy-facilitation arm, and that a ClimDev-Africa Special Fund would act as a channel for demand-led funding of implementing institutions across Africa, to be based at and managed by the African Development Bank (AfDB).

Dione also discussed some of the ACPC's activities that are already being implemented, such as preparations for a common African position at the climate change Copenhagen conference in December 2009 that gives special attention to adaptation and urges the international community to increase support to Africa. [UNECA Press Release]