At opening of Youth Forum on Adaptation Finance in Africa: Environment minister hails youth interest in combatting climate change.

Minister Hele Pierre speaking at opening ceremony

The Minister of Environment, Nature Protection and Sustainable Development, Hele Pierre, has hailed the interest of young people in combatting climate change.

He made the positive assessment during the opening ceremony of the first edition of Youth Forum on Adaptation Finance in Africa. The forum went underway in Yaounde Thursday.

The forum is holding under the theme: “Empowering Africa: More than Doubling Adaptation Finance for a Resilient Future”. The over 200 participants at the meeting are drawn from 30 African countries.

The forum is being organised by the Africa Coalition for Sustainable Energy and Access, ACSEA, in partnership with the nonprofit organisations, Building Resilience Against Climate Environment Shock, BRACE; Pan-African Climate Justice Alliance, the African Adaptation Initiative, GIZ, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

 

‘Youth crying for common good’

According to the environment minister, the interest of young people across Africa in combatting climate change is for the common good. He expressed optimism that their message will touch all hearts. Cameroon, the minister said, is facing the effects of climate change. 

“We are facing multiple threats linked to climate change. Our forests, which cover more than 40% of our surface area, are home to more than half of Africa's wildlife species, which are under increasing pressure due to deforestation, degradation of forest landscapes and fires,” Minister Hele Pierre said.

 

Setback on agriculture, threat our future

Despite the huge potential of agriculture, Minister Hele Pierre said climate change is having a toll on production.

The coastal zones, he regretted, is home to millions of people who are exposed to rising sea levels, erosion and saltwater intrusion. Africa, he said, is more vulnerable to climate change.

“Even though it contributes to global greenhouse gas emissions,  the effects of climate change are already being felt across the globe, threatening our lives, livelihoods, biodiversity and future and our prospects for development,” the member of government  stated.

 

Cross section of officials, participants as forum went underway Thursday

 

 

Threats to human health, safety

The Executive Director of ACSEA, Dr Augustine Njamnshi, on his part underscored that due to climate change, “the African continent is experiencing increasing temperatures and sea levels, changing precipitation patterns, and more extreme weather events”. 

The shifts, he added, pose a threat to human health, safety, food, water security and socio-economic development.

The African continent, Dr Njamnshi said, is more exposed to the ravaging effects of climate change than any other continent. The situation, he said, is serious despite Africa being the least emitter of greenhouse gas.

The vulnerability, he said, has been worsened by the complexity of the African climate system and low capacity for adaptation to climate change among others. Funding to tackle climate change in Africa, the ACSEA Executive Director said is largely insufficient. 

 

Commitments to finance climate change adaptation

He noted that in 2019 and 2020, an estimated 11.4 billion dollars was committed to climate adaptation finance in Africa. More than 97% of the funds, the ACSEA boss said, came from public actors and less than 3% from private sectors. 

Besides this, African countries, he noted, need an estimated 52.7 billion dollar annually until 2030 to fight climate change. More than half of the budget, he said, must be directed to mitigate the impact of climate change and to ensure to resilience and prosperity.

 

The Youth Forum on Adaptation Finance in Africa, Dr Njamnshi insisted, is a critical step towards addressing the adaptation finance gap and safeguarding the continent's future. 

“By mobilising young leaders, the forum will amplify the voices of the youth in the climate adaptation discourse. I am confident that the forum will inspire and empower all of us to advocate for increased funding for climate adaptation in Africa by more than double,” Dr Njamnshi remarked.

At the end of the forum, participants are expected to issue a document tagged: “The Yaounde African Youth Call for More than Doubling Climate Finance for Africa’s Future”. It will be will be presented during a side event at COP28 which will hold next month.

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