Integrating climate resilience into development plans ensures returns on investment in today’s and tomorrow’s climate. This requires robust data, tools and capacity, yielding a resilience dividend to attract investment in closing Africa’s gaps in infrastructure, energy, agriculture and other important sectors, says Economic Commission for Africa’s Linus Mofor.
A senior Environmental Officer with the ECA’s African Climate Policy Centre (ACPC), Mr. Mofor, said this at a recent workshop organized by the ECA, the Department for International Development (DFID) and the United Kingdom’s Met Office for the Southern African Development Community (SADC) to formulate actionable strategies for climate resilient reconstruction of infrastructure post the devastating tropical Cyclone Idai in Malawi, Mozambique and Zimbabwe.
“There is need to invest in timely and quality climate information services (CIS) and climate-informed analytical frameworks for mainstreaming climate change into development planning, and build capacity of decision makers to use CIS in order to design and implement effective low-carbon climate-resilient development pathways,” he said.
“We need to adapt our road, power, irrigation infrastructure and make them more climate-resilient to ensure performance and return on investment.”
Mofor said Africa’s development agenda as set out in Agenda 2063 and the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development was seriously at risk from the adverse impacts of climate change.
“But climate change challenges can be turned into low-carbon climate resilient development opportunities that deliver transformative and equitable development outcomes on the continent,” he said.
The ECA experts shared with participants at the building back better workshop about the Climate, Land, Energy and Water systems (CLEWs) approach to the sustainable development goals and the need for Africa to work towards policy coherence, institutional collaboration and technical capacity for integrated implementation of the SDGs.
He spoke about development challenges and the food-energy-water-climate nexus; climate falls under SDG 13, land SDG 15, energy SDG 7 and water SDG 6.
Mofor also appraised the workshop on the work of the ACPC which is underpinned by the quest to have sustainable, inclusive and climate resilient development in Africa.
He said the ACPC works to influence, strengthen and enable the transition to climate-resilient development in Africa through responsive policies, plans and programmes towards transformed economies, healthy ecosystems and human wellbeing.
For his part, the ACPC’s Yosef Amha shared with participants about the Weather and Climate Information Services (WISER) Programme which aims to improve the generation, uptake and use of weather and climate information across Africa.
He said key outputs of WISER include building collaboration between global, regional and national Meteorological Services; modernizing national Met services and strengthening service delivery; supporting the improved generation and use of CIS; intellectual leadership in climate science and Climate Research for Development in Africa (CR4D); and strengthening African regional strategies.
“There are numerous but fragmented initiatives which seek to support the production and uptake of CIS on the continent but they are not coordinated. We need to address this. Also our policy and legislative environment does not provide sufficient incentives for the uptake and use of CIS,” said Mr. Amha.
He said the continent lacked strategies for CIS communication that is produced from numerous initiatives and interventions with weak a collaborative research platform for co-designing, co-resourcing and co-producing user-driven climate information and services. WISER and other ECA programmes seek to address these challenges, Mr. Amha added.
The workshop was attended by over 100 participants, including representatives from the three countries, other SADC countries, the SADC Climate Services Centre, Regional Economic Communities, regional and international partners, including the UN family.