EU and UNDP launch two-year project to address urgent adaptation financing gaps in Africa

Posted January 25, 2021

New EU-UNDP initiative addresses adaptation financing gaps in Africa to build more effective locally led climate actions across the continent.

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), European Union (EU) and partners of the Africa Adaptation Initiative (AAI) joined governments, companies, scientists, NGOs and young people worldwide today at the Climate Adaptation Summit 2021 to launch a two-year 1 million grant supporting the Africa Adaptation Initiative.

The EU-funded project implemented by UNDP addresses adaptation financing gaps in Africa to build more effective locally led climate actions across the continent. The project also expands the capacity to utilize climate risk information, assess and implement risk transfer mechanisms, and strengthen the knowledge and capacity to develop effective climate change adaptation actions.

The summit not only concluded the Year of Action of the Global Commission on Adaptation, but also commenced an Adaptation Action Agenda, an ambitious roadmap to 2030 to accelerate action and drive systematic change.

Adapting to climate change is a human, environmental and economic imperative. The impacts of climate change are here and taking a toll on families, homes, property and livelihoods – especially those living in poverty and fragile regions. Finding solutions that enable people to adapt to the effects of climate change is essential, achievable and can be effectively planned and implemented, if we act now.

“UNDP is pleased to join hands with the EU, the AUC and AAI in scaling up our work under this new initiative,” said Ahunna Eziakonwa, UNDP Assistant Administrator and Regional Director for Africa. “As our 30th Anniversary edition of the Human Development Report, ‘The Next Frontier: Human Development and the Anthropocene’ sets out, the COVID-19 pandemic is the latest crisis facing the world, but unless humans release their grip on nature, it won’t be the last. Building on the temporary reprieve in carbon emissions in 2020 as the world hit ‘pause,’ we must renew our commitment to recovery strategies that build forward better, and greener.”

“As global leaders gather at the Climate Adaptation Summit to deliberate on increased ambition, financing and partnership for climate action, Africa’s voice and priorities as well as best practices must be heard,” added Eziakonwa. “The initiative we launch today will catalyze additional investments in adaptation, while sharing the successes from across the continent with its State of Adaptation in Africa Report.”

During the CAS 2021 Anchoring Event – Accelerating African Adaptation: Unlocking Action, Ambassador Seyni Nafo, AAI Climate Change Coordinator, shared information about the two-year ‘Enhancing Knowledge and Evidence to Scale-up Climate Change Adaptation Action in Africa’ project.

The project will introduce catalytic solutions to crowd-in financing for climate action, link thought leaders, and bring risk transfer tools into bankable adaptation proposals. As an Africa-led initiative, the AAI project aims to nurture a hub of African experts on risk management and address the adaptation financing gaps.

Sigrid Kaag, Minister of Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation for the Netherlands, and Kitty van der Heijde, the Netherland’s Director General of International Cooperation, hosted the CAS 2021 Anchoring Event on Africa.

Director General of the European Commission's Directorate-General for Climate Action Mauro Petriccione touched on the importance of the AAI project during the event, “We were happy to help spearhead the pivotal Africa Adaptation Initiative, with a joint EU-UNDP project. One of the project’s aims is to develop an African hub for countries to share good practices and lessons learned on adaptation. The project will also author a report on the state of adaptation in Africa, and will work to develop a robust evidence base and appropriate mechanisms to address climate risks.”

The cost of adapting to climate change in Africa will only rise over the next three decades. Africa recognizes the need for partnership, investment and risk management as essential for harnessing the continent’s own capacity to further adapt.

“The entire continent is putting its weight around the initiative and the EU-funded project provides the impetus for increased climate action in Africa. I am pleased to also acknowledge the complementary support recently announced by BMZ and GCA,” said Ambassador Nafo, referring to GCA’s intention to work together with AAI and UNDP, on a joint State and Trends of Adaptation in Africa report and BMZ’s support offer of an additional €2.5 million towards strengthening the initiative.

“These crucial interventions provide the building blocks to deliver AAI’s work plan and bring into focus and within reach our high-level outcome areas,” added Ambassador Nafo, referring to increased adaptation investment by 2025.

The activities of the project will be undertaken by UNDP in collaboration with AAI partners such as the African Union Commission, African Risk Capacity, African Development Bank, Global Center on Adaptation, GIZ, UNEP, and many others.

The launch of the new AAI project has been highly anticipated following the first Strategic Advisory Committee meeting of the Africa Adaptation Initiative in October of last year.

For more information on the AAI project, please visit: