Dr. Augustine Njamnshi speaking during the opening session
Dr. Augustine Njamshi, Executive Director of the African Coalition for Sustainable Energy and Access, ACSEA, has stated that the cost of inaction on climate adaptation in Africa is high and unsustainable.
Dr. Njamshi made this declaration on November 16 at the official opening of the first Youth Forum on Adaptation Finance (YOFAFA), which was presided over by Pierre Hélé, the Environment, Sustainable Development, and Nature Protection Minister of Cameroon.
The three-day ceremony, themed “Empowering Africa: More than Doubling Adaptation Finance for a Resilient Future,” gathered over 150 young African leaders from many regions of the continent.
Dr. Njamshi underlined the negative effects of ignoring adaptation needs, warning of economic collapse, social unrest, and humanitarian crises. He emphasized that to prevent these outcomes, action must be taken right away.
“The Youth Forum on Adaptation Finance in Africa is a critical step towards addressing the adaptation finance gap and safeguarding the continent’s future. By mobilizing young leaders, the forum will amplify the voices of the youth in the climate adaptation discourse. I am confident that the forum will inspire and empower all of us to advocate for increased funding for climate adaptation in Africa by more than double.” He said.
Dr. Njamshi also exhorted young people to take advantage of the forum’s networking opportunities and acquire knowledge and expertise in project development, advocacy, and climate finance. He underlined the significance of uniting in the fight for action and awareness-raising regarding adaptation finance in Africa.
Dr. Njamshi highlighted the current struggles that Africa is facing, including destructive floods, invasions by desert locusts, and the threat of impending drought brought on by a La Niña event. He emphasised the strain on water supplies and population displacement that resulted. He also underlined how Africa bears a disproportionate share of the consequences of climate change, despite its negligible contribution to global greenhouse gas emissions.
To address these challenges, Dr. Njamshi underscored the need for immediate and effective adaptation ways to safeguard African communities and ecosystems.
“Given the severity of these challenges, urgent and effective adaptation measures are indeed required to safeguard African communities and ecosystems. Some of these measures include the promotion and use of inexpensive technologies that have already proven themselves in Africa, such as farmer-managed natural regeneration of trees for re-greening landscapes, green manure/cover crops for restoring soil fertility, and water harvesting to improve yields and prevent crop losses from drought,” he added.
Meanwhile, over 15 African nations have incorporated adaptation to climate change in their National Agricultural Investment Plans and are implementing climate-smart measures, including soil and water management, agroforestry, and improved pasture management. These efforts are crucial in building resilience and mitigating the impacts of climate change.
Pierre Hélé, while commending the initiative, acknowledged the significant impacts of climate change in Africa and stressed the urgency for action. He highlighted the increasing temperatures, rising sea levels, changing precipitation patterns, and more extreme weather events experienced on the continent. Hélé emphasized that these changes pose threats to human health and safety, food and water security, and socio-economic development.
The Pan-African Climate Justice Alliance and ACSEA collaborated to organise the conference, which aims to empower and inspire young activists on the continent to push for a major increase in funding for climate adaptation in Africa.