African Development Bank launches new climate change fund

ADB says focus will be on finance readiness, so countries can apply for Green Climate Fund backing later this year

Eskom Generation's pilot wind-farm facility in the Western Cape (Pic: Warrenski/Flickr)

Eskom Generation’s pilot wind-farm facility in the Western Cape (Pic: Warrenski/Flickr)

By Ed King

The African Development Bank has opened a climate change fund aimed at ensuring countries on the continent get more help adapting to the effects of global warming.

Launched last week with an initial contribution of $6 million from Germany, the Africa Climate Change Fund (ACCF) is set to invite bids for project financing next month.

“We are starting small, but the objective is to scale up to a bigger multi-donor fund in the coming years,” Florence Richard, a Senior Climate Change Specialist at the African Development Bank told RTCC.

The initial focus will be on funding ‘climate finance readiness’ projects in individual countries, to allow governments to apply for larger amounts of money from the UN’s Green Climate Fund.

According to Richard, the hope is that this will ensure Africa does not miss out on millions of low carbon project financing, as it has done under the UN’s Clean Development Mechanism, where only 2% of the 7000+ projects are based in the region.

“One thing we are learning from the how African countries have or have not benefitted from the CDM is that the procedures to access financing are quite cumbersome and complicated,” Richard said.

“The capacity in Africa is usually not that high that people could spend so much time and effort in building the case for projects to benefit from CDM.”

Talks on how the GCF will operate and who it will fund are ongoing, with a final board meeting ahead of its official launch scheduled for May.

In time it is expected to channel billions of low carbon investments in developing countries, with half of those funds directed towards adaptation projects, such as transport links that can withstand extreme weather events.

Recent scientific and economic studies suggest Africa is likely to be one of the hardest hit continents as a result of warming trends.

Last year’s ‘Adaptation Gap’ study published by UNEP warned the region could face an annual adaptation bill of $35-50 billion by 2050.

A more recent report by the UN’s IPCC climate science panel said the continent faces “very high” risks to crop production as a result of warming.

And last week researchers in Belgium said the Congo Basin could face “disproportionately high levels of warming” due to deforestation, causing the rainforest to warm 3C by 2050.

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