From cyclones in the south to floods and droughts in the east: climate change is already leaving its mark on the African continent. Although Africa accounts for the world’s smallest share of global greenhouse gas emissions – just 3.8% – it is paying a heavy price for a crisis it did not help create. Many experts agree that climate finance is crucial for Africa to adapt to the growing impacts of climate change. More than ten years ago, rich countries pledged 100 billion dollars (91 billion euros) a year to developing countries by 2020 for this purpose.
Now, two years after the deadline, developed countries believe they will not meet this commitment until 2023. And they are under increasing pressure to keep their promise. “We need to understand that Africa is warming faster than the whole world,” said Richard Munang, climate change coordinator for Africa at the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP). DW. “The challenges of food insecurity and the socio-economic challenges we face will only persist and put Africa in a very precarious situation. What is needed now is adaptation that boosts the resilience of communities”.
Needs continue to grow
With Africa’s share of the world’s population expected to rise from 17% to 40% by 2100, time is running out for climate change adaptation projects. The continent is also struggling to maintain momentum on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – which were adopted by all UN member states in 2015 with the aim of ending poverty and building resilience. by 2030 – as well as its own Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs).
“Africa today needs $2 trillion to implement the NDCs,” says Munang. “And on top of that, the continent needs $1.2 trillion to implement the SDGs. It is therefore imperative that support for Africa [implement] climate resilience is happening. Munang points to recent natural disasters as proof that the global community must follow through on its commitment as soon as possible. will only increase as a result of climate change.
Missing project expertise
But this narrative only partially explains Africa’s dilemma. While some funds for climate change mitigation projects have made their way to the continent, it’s often unclear exactly how they are being used – or how they may be accessed in the first place. Adeline Tengem, a Cameroonian forestry technician and NGO manager, says she has tried several times to access climate finance without success. “Our idea is to restore the degraded landscape while improving the livelihoods of the local communities that surround these landscapes,” she said. DW. “Until now, we have had difficulty accessing funding to carry out these kinds of projects. Whenever I submitted projects, they rejected it because [they said] it was of poor quality.”
Tengem is not alone in her fight. Peter Gondo of the United Nations Forum on Forests says difficulty in accessing climate finance is a recognized problem across the continent. He says it often comes down to a lack of expertise in formulating project proposals that meet the requirements of climate finance sources. “[Applicants need] to demonstrate how the projects they want to fund contribute to climate change mitigation and adaptation,” he explains. “It requires a lot of detailed and accurate data to estimate how much you will contribute to reducing greenhouse gas emissions if you implement the project. Many countries do not have enough experts with the right skills to do this.”
Training for a better future
To try and get more climate projects off the ground, the African Forest Forum has partnered with the Global Forest Finance Facilitation Network (GFFFN). Together, they organize training sessions for forestry actors from the public sector and NGOs on “climate finance and the writing of bankable projects”.
Tengem attended a workshop in Douala, where she learned not only what kind of funding opportunities are available to her, but how to write projects that meet funding requirements. She says she is now more confident to submit future proposals. “I learned the mechanism that will take me from the problem to the solution, i.e. what [financing] partners want. Ultimately, the initiative aims to help Africa more easily access existing and future international climate finance.