Africa financing ‘needed urgently’ to absorb extreme climate shocks

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Experts on African climate adaptation say the continent must push for protecting livestock as an immediate need in climate financing, seeing it as a better strategy to combat food shortages on the continent caused by erratic weather.

Ahead of the climate Conference of Parties (COP28) meeting in Dubai, the African Union and some 50 organisations involved in livestock farming and related technologies said in an open letter that climate financing should be channelled to farmers to help them adapt to the changing climate.

Nazanine Moshiri, senior analyst on climate, environment and conflict for Africa at the International Crisis Group, said helping communities to adapt on the continent can also help reduce incidences of instability.

“Adapting to climate shocks protects communities and promotes stability by curbing knock-on effects, like political and social tensions. There’s a whopping $41.3 billion annual gap to meet the $52.7 billion needed each year for adaptation measures in Africa by 2030.

Another priority is the Loss and Damage Fund, a potential lifeline for African countries experiencing weather related disasters,” she said.
In Dubai, she added, African negotiators are grappling with how to ensure that climate diplomacy “is firewalled from the many wars and economic distractions going on.”

“The risk, as always, is that richer nations prioritise their own political interests over the greater good during these talks. That would be disastrous for Africa, already experiencing the unavoidable and irreversible impacts of climate change. It is only just that wealthier carbon-emitting countries compensate the victims of their pollution.”

Livestock, the experts argue, supports millions of households on the continent.

“Animals such as camels, cows, and donkeys, along with goats, sheep, and chickens represent food, livelihoods, drought power, fertiliser, fibre and a convertible source of income, especially if crops fail,” they argued on Tuesday.

The letter is a campaign began by the International Livestock Research Institute (Ilri) based in Nairobi and its signatories include Josefa Sacko, the African Union Commissioner for Agriculture, Rural Development, Blue Economy and Sustainable Environment.

Others are Margaret Rugut Kibogy, managing director of Kenya Dairy Board, and Emmanuel Ngore, the facilitator of the Consortium for African Youth in Agriculture and Climate Change.

Also on the list are Adesuwa Ifedi, senior vice-president of Africa Programmes at Heifer International, Dereje Wakjira, director of the Igad Centre for Pastoral Areas and Livestock Development and Boubakary Barry, the West Africa Platform for Traditional Pastoralists’ Leaders executive secretary.

The campaign came ahead of the climate conference, which would discuss transitions to greener energy and includes adaptation and mitigation from climate shocks. Climate change has brought floods, droughts, new sets of pests and conflict.

In the Horn of Africa, some 13 million livestock died during the recent drought, according to an estimate by Ilri. Other regions such as Niger and South Sudan have recently experienced floods that have raised disease outbreaks.

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