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Africa's watershed moment: Building climate resilience requires a flood of investment in nature
Time: 11 16,2021      Source: Eshanxi-Taiyuan

Akinwumi A. Adesina is president of the Africa Development Bank Group. Pavan Sukhdev is president of the World Wide Fund for Nature. The article reflects the authors' opinions and not necessarily the views of CGTN.

Devastating drought in Madagascar, ferocious floods across East Africa, and powerful cyclones in Mozambique – these recent natural disasters are just a taste of what Africa can expect as the climate crisis intensifies.

Climate change is powering ever more extreme weather events and disrupting precipitation across the continent. People and economies will increasingly feel the impacts of climate change through water – as it floods homes and businesses, disrupts supply chains, reduces agricultural yields, and as communities are deprived of clean water.

While negotiators at COP26 in Glasgow focused on how to slash emissions rapidly enough to rein in climate change, the destructive impacts of a warmer world are here to stay. The recent UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report made it clear that these impacts will only get worse as dry areas become even drier and wet areas wetter. African countries are already struggling to cope with today's increasingly uncertain climate. They are not prepared for a future of greater climate extremes.

What we need is rapid and massive investment in initiatives that build resilience and strengthen climate adaptation across the continent. At least 50 percent of global climate financing should be directed towards adaptation, mirroring what the African Development Bank Group has already done. A much greater share should be invested in the health of Africa's freshwater ecosystems.

A third of Africa's people already face water scarcity, while nearly two-thirds of the urban population in sub-Saharan Africa struggle to access basic water services. Water risks for businesses and investors are growing. Water for all will remain a dream unless funds start flowing into the protection and sustainable management of Africa's rivers, lakes and wetlands.

Protecting freshwater systems is also vital to addressing the accelerating loss of nature, which threatens our future. As a recent report highlighted, wild freshwater fisheries provide food security and livelihoods for hundreds of millions of people across Africa. This includes some of the continent's poorest and most vulnerable people. Yet, these fisheries are facing a variety of threats, including the escalating impacts of climate change.


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