Extensive work on adaptation, nationally, regionally and internationally (and across sectors) is being done and the climate and development imperative is well understood and endorsed. However, a chronic funding and implementation deficit persists. Africa needs a better “action” scenario that supports climate and economic resilience. This underscores the need for a more action-oriented approach to support climate and economic resilience in Africa.
The African Climate Foundation (ACF), in collaboration with the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), in consultation with a range of experts, has launched From Climate Risk to Resilience, a series of country focused reports that explore what such an action scenario could entail and how we can strategically transform key economic sectors in order to improve African countries’ climate resilience at the necessary scale.
The reports focus on Malawi, Mozambique, Kenya and Zambia, and explore the economic impacts of climate change across agriculture, infrastructure and energy. Each country report provides an overview of: recent and projected changes to the country’s climate profile and patterns, including the latest available climate scenario analysis modelling; the potential implications of these projected climate changes for key economic sectors and the economy as a whole; an overview of the government’s existing and planned climate adaptation measures and priorities, as well as key challenges and strategic considerations and suggestions for what countries could focus on, given their specific circumstances, and the subsequent steps they should aim to facilitate to support the mobilization of funding for climate adaptation and resilience measures.
Although focusing on specific countries, we hope that this type of assessment will resonate with other countries on the continent. Adaptation research plays a pivotal role in addressing climate-related risks and impacts, as uncertainties can hinder the deployment of large-scale investments necessary to safeguard countries from the evolving consequences of climate-related disruptions. Therefore, it is imperative for research and investment initiatives to work closely together. We hope that these reports will support the alignment of researchers, and investors and can be used to support decision-making by policymakers and stakeholders, guiding national responses in selecting, prioritizing, and funding interventions.’
As noted by IFPRI, “these reports are meant to pave the way for rigorous investment and policy prioritization through collaborative application of advanced analytics that combine climate/weather data, crop and livestock biophysical models, and economywide country models for quantifying the returns to and trade-offs associated with alternative investment plans. These frameworks are available in all four countries and quantify the expected outcomes from alternative investments in terms of jobs, economic growth, poverty reduction and other transformational outcomes that are of interest to Planning Commissions and Ministries of Finance in the pursuit of their own development objectives as well as potential providers of external finance. As such, the reports represent a practical step towards a situation wherein African governments can invest effectively and at a scale commensurate with the climate challenge.”
A persisting funding gap
The current state of adaptation finance continues to reflect an alarming underfunding trend. The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) in its Adaptation Gap Report 2023 provides another reminder. It paints a concerning picture, indicating that the global adaptation finance gap is likely 10–18 times greater than current international adaptation finance flows. Even if we were to achieve the goal of doubling adaptation finance by 2025, this would only reduce the gap by 5–10 percent. Meanwhile, international public climate finance flows to developing countries decreased by 15 percent to US$21.3 billion in 2021 after having increased to US$25.2 billion between 2018 and 2020. Adaptation planning and implementation seem to have reached a plateau, with dire consequences for the most vulnerable, resulting in losses and damages.[i]
A closer examination of Africa by the Global Centre for Adaptation in its report “Accelerating Adaptation Finance – Africa and Global Perspectives” paints an equally concerning picture. The lack of adaptation financing for Africa implies that up to 6 trillion dollars in economic benefits will remain unrealized by 2035. Most adaptation finance to Africa is in the form of loans, exacerbating countries’ debt burdens.[ii]
Exploring a country platform approach to overcome the funding deficit
Despite the extensive preparation of National Determined Contributions (NDCs), National Adaptation Plans, and other investment plans by many African countries, the funding they receive does not match their efforts. For ACF and IFPRI, understanding this discrepancy is a priority. “From Climate Risk to Resilience” is part of ACF’s work that is exploring the viability of a “country platform” approach to adaptation and resilience through country-led National Adaptation and Resilience Investment Platforms (ARIPs). ARIPs are intended to be transformative by advancing climate resilient development investment pathways that focus on the most important sectors and subsectors (such as agriculture and food systems). This means both helping such sectors manage their climate risk exposures and more broadly considering strategically what adaptation measures also improve economic resilience.
Country platforms,[iii] while not a novel concept, possess the potential to effectively coordinate diverse stakeholders and funding sources to achieve specific development and climate objectives. A notable example is South Africa’s “Just Energy Transition Partnership (JETP),” which emerged during COP26 within a unique South African context. Although not without its challenges and criticisms, the design principles, investment opportunities, and benefits for climate and development inherent in the JETP resonate with emerging economies across Africa and the global South, and beyond the energy sector.
An adaptation and resilience-focused country platform envisions a recipient country committing to a climate-positive development trajectory, with corresponding financial commitments from donor countries, institutions, and other financial stakeholders. For the ACF, an ARIP would adopt a sector-level or portfolio approach to funding adaptation, as opposed to a project-by-project approach. This will require a paradigm shift from avoiding loss, which is the current dominant conversation around climate adaptation, into the realm of economic potential
The ACF hopes that this approach not only holds promise for the target countries but can also serve as a valuable model for others seeking effective climate adaptation and resilience strategies.
From Climate Risk to Resilience: Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique and Zambia
In this context, the “From Climate Risk to Resilience” series touches on the economic impacts of climate change on Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique and Zambia, with a specific focus on climate-vulnerable and critical economic sectors, including the agriculture, transport and energy sectors. The reports also cover fiscal, trade, and other implications of climate change. They serve as a starting point for developing a comprehensive quantification of these impacts, backed by evidence, and offering a nuanced understanding of potential costs and losses.
By identifying specific challenges, opportunities, and considerations for each country, these reports aim to deepen the understanding of climate impacts and support national adaptation strategies and adaptation financing. Furthermore, these reports lay the foundation for further engagement with respective governments, development institutions, the private sector, and non-profit organizations.
“From Climate Risk to Resilience” informs the ACF’s work on ARIPs by: i. Providing an overview to potential investors, donors, and other stakeholders on the need for climate adaptation measures in a country-specific context. ii. Outlining background research and preliminary considerations for the strategic identification of ARIPs’ potential funding priorities. iii. Guiding the development of a collaborative approach to address climate change risks, involving various stakeholders at different societal and governmental levels, as well as regional and international stakeholders. iv. Identifying data and information on climate risks at a sectoral level, in ways that appropriately inform investment decisions. v. providing an indication of support is needed to aid the translation of adaptation and development into tangible policies, budgets, and investment plans to boost the demand for adaptation investment from both the public and private sectors. vi. Supporting the further development of relevant governments’ climate adaptation strategies, building on National Adaptation Plans, NDCs, and other national and sectoral policies.
There is more work to be done and the ACF hopes that this work and approach not only resonate with the target countries but also with other countries and adaptation and finance professionals.
[i] United Nations Environment Programme (2023). Adaptation Gap Report 2023: Underfinanced. Underprepared. Inadequate investment and planning on climate adaptation leaves world exposed. Nairobi. https://doi. org/10.59117/20.500.11822/43796
[ii] Global Centre on Adaptation. Accelerating Adaptation Finance – Africa and Global Perspectives (2023) available at https://gca.org/reports/accelerating-adaptation-finance-africa-and-global-perspectives/
[iii] Hadley, S., Mustapha, S., Colenbrander, S., Miller, M. and Quevedo, A. (2022) Country platforms for climate action: something borrowed, something new? ODI Emerging analysis. London: ODI (www.odi.org/en/publications/country-platforms-forclimate-action-something-borrowed-something-new/)