Although countries in Africa are not big greenhouse gas emitters, the continent is one of the most vulnerable to the damaging effects of climate change. Low emissions, high impact. That’s because a combination of geographical location and low adaptive capacity makes Africa particularly vulnerable in terms of threatening hard-won development gains and decreasing agricultural productivity, which also threatens food security.
Wheat and maize production has already decreased in some parts of Africa because of drought, flooding and changes in rainfall patterns. Existing health vulnerabilities are expected to worsen, including intensified incidence of malaria cases in East Africa due to increased temperatures. Cases of water-borne diseases are also expected to rise because of drought and inadequate access to safe drinking water. Even the region's infrastructure will not be spared the wrath of a changing climate, with those located in areas prone to flooding and sea-level rise most at risk.
To help with these mounting challenges, countries in Africa are taking on the climate change challenge with support from the CIF's through the Pilot Program for Climate Resilience (PPCR). In 2009, Mozambique, Niger, Yemen and Zambia embarked on a participatory and programmatic approach to define their adaptation and resilience strategies. Through close partnership with multilateral development banks, these countries established stakeholder consensus, inter-agency collaboration and civil society participation to identify, design and implement development projects that account for climate risks and promote resilient infrastructure and communities. These countries went further and also earmarked significant investments for improving climate and weather information, and the capacity to integrate adaptation and resilience objectives in planning and investment decisions.
The PPCR family has since grown. In 2015, Ethiopia, the Gambia, Madagascar, Malawi, Rwanda and Uganda joined the list of PPCR pilot countries in Africa. These countries are now in the process of conducting stocktaking exercises, consulting with stakeholders and engaging with development partners to develop resilient investment programs.
In addition to support to prepare investment programs and implement adaptation projects, PPCR is providing countries a convening platform to facilitate ongoing knowledge exchange and peer-to-peer learning. The family is growing up and sharing lessons along the way as they strive for climate-smart development. That’s why earlier this month all the PPCR pilot countries in Africa gathered in Zambia to share experiences and lessons from designing investment programs and projects to their overall engagement with stakeholders and development partners through the PPCR process.
Participating countries used photographs to illustrate the challenges and actions their respective countries are taking to combat climate change. As they say, “a picture is worth a thousand words”.
The photos tell a powerful story about the consequences of a changing climate, particularly for poor communities in Africa. They also illustrate how concerted efforts from the national government down to the community level helps countries move forward on their climate resilient paths.