Home Climate Change African Union seeks $75 billion to achieve ‘zero climate disasters by 2030’

African Union seeks $75 billion to achieve ‘zero climate disasters by 2030’

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By Gilbert Mwijuke

As global temperatures continue to rise due to the effects of climate change, this year the world has witnessed some of the most catastrophic extreme weather disasters on record – with the African continent bearing most of the brunt.

Deadly floods in Nigeria claimed 600 lives while prolonged droughts and mudslides in eastern Africa left behind a devastating trail of damaged buildings, cropland, schools, roads and hospitals.

This year alone extreme weather disasters have claimed the lives of at least 4,000 people on the continent and affected millions of others – and 10 per cent of Africa’s GDP has made it to the list of the casualties.

Currently, only 40 per cent of African communities have access to early warning systems, rendering it all-important for the continent to come up with various measures aimed at tackling climate change-induced disasters.

At this year’s United Nations climate conference – better known by its acronym COP27 – one of the African Union’s (AU) major concerns was the future of the safety of Africans in the wake of climate disasters that are now increasing in frequency year after year.  

On the third day of the two-week COP27 summit that took place in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, from November 6-19, the AU invited delegates to the Africa Day event that was organised on the sidelines of the global summit to catalyze investment for the operationalisation of the organisation’s new programme dubbed the Africa Multi-Hazard Early Warning and Action System (AMHEWAS).

According to Lusajo Ambukege, a disaster operations and early warning expert at the African Union, the AMHEWAS programme will play a crucial role in saving lives and reducing loss and damage brought on by extreme weather disasters.

“We have so far established three ‘situation rooms’ that are tasked with sharing information and providing advisories on impending disasters with member states: one at the AU headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, one in Nairobi, Kenya and another in Niamey, Niger. But we need to establish a situation room in each member state for effective results,” Mr Ambukege said, adding that to achieve this, the AU will require $57 billion between now and 2030.

Each ‘situation room’, Mr Ambukege said, will have the capacity for detection, monitoring, analysis and forecasting.

Mami Mizutori, head of the United Nations Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR) who addressed delegates at the event, said that the ultimate– and quite ambitious – goal of the new programme was for the continent to have a “zero climate disaster by 2030.”

Ms Mizutori called on partners to help Africa to develop this programme to bridge the gap between early warning and early action as espoused by the Maputo Ministerial declaration on integrated early warning systems.

So far, some initiatives have been put in place to raise funds for Africa’s green recovery, said Antonio Maria Afonso, acting executive secretary of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa.

“We must invest in a green recovery that leads to low carbon economies, build resilience, preserves biodiversity and creates jobs. Various initiatives have been proposed to raise the necessary resources for this investment, including green and blue bonds, debt-for-climate investment swaps, and carbon credits,” he said.

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