European Union ramps up support to Africa Adaptation Initiative with EUR 1 million grant

UNDP will implement new grant to enhance knowledge and scale up climate change adaptation actions in Africa

January 22, 2020

Women Collective Farming in Mali. Photo by Imen Meliane / UNDP Climate Adaptation Mali

21 January 2020 – Climate change impacts threaten economic and development gains across Africa. To address the pressing needs of this crisis, the European Union has announced EUR 1 million in new funding to the Africa Adaptation Initiative (AAI). The grant will be implemented by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and looks to expand the knowledge base to inform improved and more effective climate change adaptation initiatives in African countries.

As AAI scales-up its support for climate change adaptation across the continent, the new grant will work to expand the capacity to utilize climate risk information and assess and implement risk transfer mechanisms, strengthen the knowledge and capacity to develop effective climate change adaptation actions, and facilitate the formulation of a report on the State of Adaptation in Africa. This supports the overall efforts of AAI to enhance climate information and services, advance risk transfer, facilitate knowledge management for adaptation and strengthen the adaptive capacity of African actors in dealing with climate change.

The activities to support this objective will be undertaken in collaboration with AAI partners such as the African Risk Capacity, African Development Bank, African Union Commission, UNDP, UNEP, and others.

“The EU and Africa are long-term allies in the fight against climate change. We welcome the Africa Adaptation Initiative as an Africa-owned initiative to leverage action and partnership for climate change adaptation. Our support is part of the EU’s continued effort to enhance adaptation in particularly vulnerable countries. It will further deepen our partnership, and strengthen the continent’s response to the climate change challenge for sustainable development,” said Miguel Arias Cañete, European Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy, in a recent press statement on expanded coordination between the EU and AAI.

In the last decade, African economies have been growing at an average rate of 4.7 per cent, but the challenge of climate change threatens further economic growth and impedes progress towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The devastating effects of climate change, which include severe droughts, floods, reduced agricultural yields, sea level rise and other climate-related disasters are on the rise. By 2050, based on the current trends in global emissions, Africa’s adaptation costs could reach US$100 billion annually.

“Through Africa-led initiatives such as AAI, we have the potential to accelerate the ambition of Nationally Determined Contributions to the Paris Agreement across the continent. This will empower nations to adapt economies and societies to the new risks posed by climate change and support us in ending poverty and hunger and creating climate-resilient pathways for economic development as we enter a decade of action to reach the SDGs,” said Ambassador Seyni Nafo, AAI Coordinator.

According to a 2018 report from UNDP on Adaptation in Africa, “Africa is at a tipping point. Given that temperatures in Africa are rising – and are set to rise faster than the global average during the 21st Century – it is time to mainstream, scale-up and accelerate support for climate change adaptation across the continent.”

AAI aims to enhance action on adaptation, with the aim of addressing the adaptation financing gap, sharing best practices and lessons learned, enabling high-level political advocacy, and implementing measures to strengthen climate resilience in Africa. 

AAI is a partner in the Global Commission for Adaptation’s “Year of Action.” New areas of work, including on agriculture and climate finance readiness, have also emerged from AAI efforts in partnership with the Adaptation of African Agriculture initiative (AAA) and the Green Climate Fund (GCF).

About UNDP

UNDP partners with all levels of society to help build nations that can withstand crisis, and drive and sustain growth that improves the quality of life for everyone. On the ground in nearly 170 countries and territories, we offer global perspective and local insight to help empower lives and build resilient nations.

In line with the UN Secretary General's reform agenda and the guidance of Member States, UNDP’s Strategic Plan 2018-2021 sets out new ways of working to deliver on UNDP's vision:  Helping countries to eradicate extreme poverty, supporting them to quickly modernize key sectors to work better for sustainable development, and enabling them to prevent crisis and recover faster. The Strategic Plan focuses on integrated solutions under six key areas: poverty, governance, resilience, environment, energy, gender equality.

About AAI

African Heads of State launched the Africa Adaptation Initiative (AAI) to ensure the continent urgently adapts to the adverse effects of climate change in the immediate, short, medium and longer terms. The AAI launch event took place in Paris during the 21st Conference of the Parties (COP) in December 2015. The AAI represents a bold and innovative step by Africa to galvanize the support needed to significantly scale up adaptation on the continent. The AAI is an initiative for Africa, and it is driven and coordinated by Africa.