President Muhammadu Buhari has pledged Nigeria’s readiness to host the Secretariat of the Sahel Climate Fund, including equipping and provision of accommodation to the top management staff of the fund.
The “Sahel Climate Fund” is the financial body of the Sahel Region Climate Commission (SRCC).
The body is one of the three climate Commissions for Africa created in Marrakech, Morocco, in 2016, at the Summit of African Heads of State and Government.
It was organised at the initiative of King of Morocco, on the sidelines of the 22nd Session of the Conference of the Parties (COP22) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
Speaking at the 2nd Heads of State and Government of SRCC during the 36th AU Summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on Friday, February 17, 2023, Buhari said as an active member of the Commission, Nigeria would support the operationalisation of the secretariat toward effective implementation of climate change activities in the region.
He expressed concern that the availability and access to funds for implementation of climate change activities, especially adaptation, had remained major problems for the African region.
He, therefore, described the Sahel Climate Fund as an additional financial resource which is adequate and predictable for implementation of the requirements of the Climate Change Convention and the Paris Agreement.
According to the Nigerian leader, the Fund will, among others, serve as a gateway to climate finance and investment strategy, finance the implementation of National Determined Contributions (NDCs) of member states.
It will also ensure effective participation of the Sahel Region in the global effort to curb Green House Gas (GHG) emissions.
The Fund is also expected to mobilise required resources from member states, bilateral and multilateral partners, and private financial institutions.
‘‘Understanding the barriers to accelerated climate finance inflows and our climate related sectors, are perceived to be high risk investment destinations due to multilayered operational risks, the Sahel Climate Fund will serve as a gateway to climate finance and investment strategy.
”It considers innovative and practical ways to overcome multiple risk impediments and sustainable financial support to Sahelian Countries.
‘‘In addition, the Sahel Climate Fund will be the necessary Climate Finance Mechanism that will be instrumental in financing the implementation of the NDCs of member states.
”It contributes to strengthening the adaptation and resilience capacities of local communities along with their livelihoods, and ensure effective participation of the Sahel Region in the global effort to curb GHG emissions.
‘‘The Sahel Climate Fund will mobilise the necessary resources from member states, bilateral and multilateral partners, and private financial institutions to foster cooperation and coordinated actions among Sahel Region Climate Commission member countries to address climate change,’’ he said.
He underscored the need for urgent and extensive action as well as broad international participation required to tackle climate change in Africa.
‘‘We are looking forward to a positive and sustainable view concerning provision of adequate and predictable finance, adaptation, loss and damage, capacity building, development and deployment of necessary support to the Sahel Region Climate Commission.
”This is to ensure comprehensive activities towards mitigating and adapting to climate change and sustainable development in the region,’’ the president added.
While warning that climate change is an increasing threat to Africa, with Nigeria no least affected, Buhari said its adverse impact was underlying cause of many human population stressors and conflicts with the potential of causing regional instability.
‘‘It has now been recognised as a threat to human survival with different degrees of challenges based on the regions,’’ he said.
He added that the Sahel region, like several other regions of the world, is subject to high climatic variability characterised, among other things, by changes in rainfall patterns, desertification, extreme temperatures and recurrent droughts.
This, he said, has perceptible effects on agricultural land, pastures, water resources, food security and the economy in general.
According to him, this situation weakens both the living conditions of the populations and the ecosystems and contributes to growing insecurity in the area.
‘‘Nigeria is grappling with a wide-range of adverse impacts of climate change.
‘‘Like other countries in Africa within the Sahel Region, the country has over the past few decades been plagued by a lot of climatic irregularities.
”These are with serious concerns on the society, due to its spontaneous nature and likely overwhelming effects on national development with implications for food security due to changes in rainfall pattern, desertification and obstruction to the natural ecosystems,’’ he said.
In his text circulated at the Summit, King Mohammed VI of Morocco warned that by 2030 no fewer than 118 million people in Africa will be directly threatened by extreme weather events.
In the G5 Sahel-sub-region, he said, it is estimated that poverty could affect an additional 13.5 million people by 2050.
‘‘Despite this alarming situation, up to 2020 our continent has received only 12 per cent of global climate financing,’’ he said.
He declared that the climate battle in the Sahel region, which has been most severely impacted by climate change, can only be won through the optimal mobilisation of the region’s own public funds.
He added that the drive for funds should be accompanied by effective international financial support that matches the ambitions of the Climate Investment Plan.
While pledging support for the commission, the Moroccan leader said his country had honoured its commitments made at the maiden conference by providing the commission with ‘‘capacity building, technical assistance and financial support for the preparation of feasibility studies to finalise its Climate Investment Plan’’.
The Sahel geo-climatic region comprises 17 countries stretching from the Atlantic to the Red Sea, including Nigeria, Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Côte d’Ivoire and The Gambia.
Others are Guinea Conakry, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Senegal, Sudan and Chad.
By Ismaila Chafe