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Climate change fight boost

George Kebaso @Morarak

The World Bank (WB) Group and African Development Bank (AfDB) are among institutions that yesterday pledged new financial commitments running into trillions of shillings to scale up climate adaptation and mitigation campaigns in Africa also targeting to safeguard Kenyan tea farmers yesterday.

WB pledged to commit Sh2.25 trillion ($22.5 billion) for Africa during the third One Planet Summit for five years in the period 2021-2025.

The summit was convened by President Uhuru Kenyatta, President Emmanuel Macron of France, Interim President of the World Bank Group, Kristalina Georgieva and Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations, Amina J Mohammed.   

World Bank Group is stepping up its climate support for Africa and under its new plan, it has earmarked Kenya as one of the countries to benefit.

“People across Africa are already experiencing the growing impacts of climate change. This region is particularly vulnerable to increasing floods, droughts and destructive storms,” said Georgieva.

“We have to do more and do it faster, or millions of people could be plunged into poverty. That’s why the World Bank is providing more money to build resilience and help communities cope with the effects of climate change in Africa,” she said. This more than doubles the commitment to climate-related projects over the last five years.

The funding is part of the Bank’s 2025 Targets to Step Up Climate Action, launched in December 2018 during the United Nations 24th Session of the Conference of Parties (COP24) meeting in Poland. It will help African countries to manage the risks of a changing climate while unlocking new investment opportunities.

World Bank said it recognisaes that a number of countries in Africa are among the most vulnerable to global climate shocks and stresses.

On the other hand, AfDB committed to release up to Sh2.5 trillion ($25 billion) for the next five years for addressing the vagaries of climate change.

AfDB President Akinwumi Adesina said Sh1.2 zillion ($1.2 trillion) to address climate related issues but bound to rise to Sh1.8 zillion ($1.8 trillion) by end of 2020.

Never implemented

And according to the WB, more than half of the Sh2.2 trillion ($22.5 billion) financing will be devoted to supporting adaptation and resilience in Africa.

“For instance, the bank will help to rehabilitate 60 million hectares of degraded land in Kenya, besides the adaptation and climate resilience support,” Georgieva added.

Meanwhile,the One Planet Summit forum and its outcomes are meant to benefit an exclusive group of leaders and not keen on the real challenges facing the African continent, a mix of local and international civil society groups have said.

A few hours after curtains came down on the highly publicised and invite-only meeting, the members of the civil society said the proceedings of the forum— which majority of the 4,700 delegates followed on television screens — were just a replica of similar past initiatives whose resolutions have never been implemented.

The meeting was co-chaired by President Uhuru and his French counterpart, Emannuel Macron.

The three-hour meeting was attended by Madagascar President, Andry Rajoelina, his Democratic Republic of Congo counterpart, Felix Tshisekedi and Sri Lankan head of State, Maithripala Sirisen.

CSO representatives questioned whether the number of initiatives being created relentlessly – one after another – are for action or just game of musical chairs.

“We are asking this because we have witnessed similar initiatives that have never been implemented, or whose outcomes were shrouded in secrecy,” Pan African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA) Executive Director, Mithika Mwenda said on behalf of the groups.

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