King Mohammed VI of Morocco has warned that by 2030, no fewer than 118 million people in Africa will be directly threatened by extreme weather events.
He said that in the G5 Sahel-sub-region, it is estimated that poverty could affect an additional 13.5 million people by 2050.
“Despite this alarming situation, up to 2020, our continent has received only 12 percent of global climate financing,’’ he said.
King Mohammed VI, who spoke today, February 17, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, at the 2nd Heads of State and Government of the Sahel Region Climate Commission (SRCC) during the 36th AU Summit, said that the climate battle in the Sahel region, which has been most severely impacted by climate change, can only be won through the optimal mobilisation of the region’s own public funds.
According to him, the drive for funds should be accompanied by the effective international financial support that matches the ambitions of the Climate Investment Plan.
The Moroccan leader pledged support for the Commission, saying that his country has honoured its commitments made at the maiden conference by providing the Commission with ‘‘capacity building, technical assistance and financial support for the preparation of feasibility studies to finalise its Climate Investment Plan.”
Speaking on the sideline of the Summit, the Nigerian President, Muhammadu Buhari offered announced the willingness of Nigeria to host the Secretariat of the Sahel Climate Fund, including equipping and provision of accommodation to the top management staff of the fund.
“Sahel Climate Fund” is the financial body of the Sahel Region Climate Commission (SRCC).
President Buhari said that as an active member of the Commission, Nigeria will support the operationalization of the secretariat toward effective implementation of climate change activities in the region.
He expressed concern that the availability and access to funds for the implementation of climate change activities, especially adaptation, remain major problems for the African region.
He described the Sahel Climate Fund as an additional financial resource that is adequate and predictable for the implementation of the requirements of the Climate Change Convention and the Paris Agreement.
According to the Nigerian leader, enough funds will, among others, serve as a gateway to climate finance and investment strategy, finance the implementation of National Determined Contributions (NDCs) of member states and ensure effective participation of the Sahel Region in the global effort to curb greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
The Fund is also expected to mobilize required resources from member states, bilateral and multilateral partners, and private financial institutions.
‘‘Understanding the barriers to accelerated climate finance inflows and our climate-related sectors, which are perceived to be high-risk investment destinations due to multilayered operational risks, the Sahel Climate Fund will serve as a gateway to climate finance and investment strategy that considers innovative and practical ways to overcome multiple risk impediments and sustainable financial support to Sahelian Countries.
‘‘In addition, the Sahel Climate Fund will be the necessary Climate Finance Mechanism that will be instrumental in financing the implementation of the NDCs of member states, contribute to strengthening the adaptation and resilience capacities of local communities along with their livelihoods, and ensure effective participation of the Sahel Region in the global effort to curb GHG emissions.
‘‘The Sahel Climate Fund will mobilize the necessary resources from member states, bilateral and multilateral partners, and private financial institutions to foster cooperation and coordinated actions among Sahel Region Climate Commission member countries to address climate change.”
He stressed the need for urgent and extensive action as well as broad international participation required to tackle climate change in Africa.
‘‘We are looking forward to a positive and sustainable view concerning the provision of adequate and predictable finance, adaptation, loss and damage, capacity building, development and deployment of necessary support to the Sahel Region Climate Commission so as to ensure comprehensive activities towards mitigating and adapting to climate change and sustainable development in the region.
President Buhari warned that climate change is an increasing threat to Africa, with Nigeria not least affected, adding that its adverse impact is an underlying cause of many human population stressors and conflicts with the potential of causing regional instability.
‘‘It has now been recognized as a threat to human survival with different degrees of challenges based on the regions.”
Buhari said that the Sahel region, like several other regions of the world, is subject to high climatic variability characterized, among other things, by changes in rainfall patterns, desertification, extreme temperatures, recurrent droughts with perceptible effects on agricultural land, pastures, water resources, food security and the economy in general.
According to him, this situation weakens both the living conditions of the populations and the ecosystems and contributes to growing insecurity in the area.
‘‘Nigeria is grappling with a wide range of adverse impacts of climate change.
‘‘Like other countries in Africa within the Sahel Region, the country has over the past few decades been plagued by a lot of climatic irregularities with serious concerns on the society, due to its spontaneous nature and likely overwhelming effects on national development with implications for food security due to changes in rainfall pattern, desertification and obstruction to the natural ecosystems.”
The body is one of the three climate Commissions for Africa created in Marrakech, Morocco in 2016 at the Summit of African Heads of State and Government, organised at the initiative of King of Morocco.
The Sahel geo-climatic region comprises 17 countries stretching from the Atlantic to the Red Sea, including Nigeria, Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Côte d’Ivoire, The Gambia, Guinea Conakry, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Senegal, Sudan and Chad.