Japan and UNDP highlight need to build on adaptation achievements in Africa

Jun 7, 2013

Yokohama - Efforts to protect development from the impacts of climate change must be supported in Africa.

This was the rationale behind the creation of UNDP’s Africa Adaptation Programme (AAP), and it was a sentiment voiced by senior officials from Africa, Japan and the UN at a TICAD V side-event on the AAP’s achievements.
In their opening addresses at the event, Burkina Faso President Blaise Compaoré, Japan’s Parliamentary Senior Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs Masaji Matsuyama and UNDP Administrator Helen Clark said they would like to see progress made under the AAP expanded and built on.

The Tokyo International Conference on African Development is the world’s largest forum on African development issues. Under the "Japan-UNDP Joint Framework for Building Partnerships to Address Climate Change in Africa," which was established at TICAD IV in 2008, the Government of Japan provided $92.1 million to implement the AAP.

The side-event attracted a standing-room-only audience, with international viewers following the webcast and tweeting questions and comments. It received coverage in mainstream Japanese media, including a story on the nightly news of Japan’s national TV station NHK.

The video of the event with English-language translation can be viewed above.

In his opening address, President Compaoré called for adaptation-related achievements of the AAP to be built on.

"African countries at this moment are confronting serious development challenges. And for each country, the measures that they take to address climate change risks will become increasingly important for their future. But we need to have the tools available and strategic plans in place to effectively adapt to climate change," said President Compaoré.

"We have been working on capacity development through the AAP since 2008. We would like to continue and expand the AAP project since we believe the AAP has had a tremendous influence on Africa in advancing sustainable development."

Parliamentary Senior Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs Matsuyama said Japan was examining ways to advance the AAP’s achievements in light of his country’s plan for supporting green growth.
"We, the Government of Japan, would like to pursue possibilities for building on the advances of this project," he said.

"Africa is a region that will be heavily impacted by climate change, and climate change measures are one of the major issues to be addressed in Africa’s development. Under the TICAD framework, Japan has proposed a strategy for low carbon growth and climate resilient development. The pillars of this strategy will form the core part of Japan’s support going forward."

In her opening address, UNDP Administrator Helen Clark drew attention to the achievements made and those now possible as a result of the Japan-UNDP partnership working to support African countries.

"It will be important to build on the momentum and progress which has come out of this programme," said Helen Clark. "We have had good leadership and great partnerships with African governments on this and we know that, with the necessary resources and commitment, climate resilient development is possible. We are very committed to playing our part in that at UNDP."

This series of opening remarks was followed by a presentation from Ian Rector, the Programme Manager of the AAP since its launch in May 2008. Mr. Rector highlighted the bold and unique structure of the AAP, the range of support provided to participating countries by UNDP, and the Programme’s focus on building capacity for strategic, holistic approaches to adaptation and development.

"Although adaptation in name, the AAP was not an adaptation project per se. It was, in fact, a strategic initiative designed to lay the foundations for long-term work in the field of adaptation," said Mr. Rector. "It also goes beyond adaptation, so that the systems, capacities and technology that have been developed can be used to embrace broader development work, poverty reduction, crisis prevention and disaster risk reduction."

Mr. Rector’s overview of the Programme was followed by presentations illustrating aspects of the AAP’s work in three countries: Ghana, Namibia and Malawi.

The Ghanaian representative, Winfred Nelson, Principal Analyst of Ghana’s National Development Planning Commission, spoke of the two-track approach to mainstreaming climate change planning the Programme took in his country, whereby national policy makers and local planners were engaged simultaneously.

"Without working with policy makers … it can be difficult to mainstream. But once they understand it and they can appreciate the issues then they can move," he said.

"We need an integrated, proactive and targeted approach to this all-encompassing issue of climate change … It is said that the best way to predict the future, is to create it."

Viktoria Hango from Namibia spoke of her experiences implementing pilot projects designed to build the climate resilience of farming communities. She showed how a combination of simple, low-cost approaches such as better water storage, different ploughing techniques and livestock diversification left communities much better placed to contend with varying or reduced rainfall.

"This variety of agricultural interventions are small in cost, but their impact in terms of food security and building resilience to climate change can be enormous," said Ms. Hango. "The pilot communities now have a more diverse, more productive, more stable form of agricultural production. As a result they have more to eat and more to sell."

The closing presenter, Director of Economic Planning with Malawi’s Ministry of Economic Planning and Development Yona Kamphale, spoke on how the AAP in Malawi was instrumental to the creation of the country’s National Climate Change Investment Plan, a 10-year $104 million policy to bankroll key climate-related development projects. The AAP acquired technology, trained technicians and planners, undertook studies and drafted planning support documents, all of which were used in the formation of the Investment Plan.

"The investment plan is our main tool for mobilising resources from government, the private sector as well as civil society," said Mr Kamphale. "Through this plan, people’s livelihoods will change for the better."

The more than 300 participants took away Japanese-language copies of a booklet on the achievements and legacy of the AAP as well as the final edition of the AAP’s ‘community newspaper. High-level delegates were also provided with copies of a just-published report on the AAP as told by the individuals implementing it.

Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD) is a major global platform on African development held to discuss and produce action plans to tackle key African challenges related to economic development, poverty reduction and post-conflict recovery. TICAD was launched in 1993 to promote high-level policy dialogue between African leaders and development partners. TICAD is now organised by Japan, the African Union Commission, the UN, World Bank and UNDP.

Contact information

Luke Dunstan, Communications Officer, Environment and Energy Group, UNDP
Mobile: (+1) 917 655 6091 / E-mail: luke.dunstan@undp.org

Jennifer Stephens, Climate Specialist, Environment and Energy Group, UNDP
Mobile: (+1) 202 203 3162 / E-mail: jen.stephens@undp.org

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