The COVID-19 pandemic is stalling action on climate change in Africa hence worsening communities’ vulnerability to extreme weather events, a campaigner said on Thursday.
Mithika Mwenda, executive director of Nairobi-based Pan African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA) said the pandemic has affected the governments’ and development actor’s capacity to respond to climate change and commitment to global climate action.
“Not just governments, but COVID-19 is also affecting organization’s focus and activities on climate action, on the availability, allocation and delivery of climate aid and finance in their country,” Mwenda said in a statement issued in Nairobi.
He cited a survey conducted by PACJA in countries including Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, and South Africa in March which revealed that challenges brought by the pandemic have slowed coordination and affected planning and implementation of activities of the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs).
Mwenda said that COVID-19 is not only affecting NDCs, but the overall implementation of regular development plans.
“COVID-19 is also negatively affecting the climate policy process in African countries as well as on regional cooperation on climate action and NDCs development process,” Mwenda said.
He said that at the community level, the survey revealed that many communities are losing their resilience to climate impacts due to COVID-19.
“Stories of loss or reduced income from small-scale traders such as women who are vending vegetables, loss of job opportunities as well as reduced income at household levels are a common occurrence in the countries, “said Mwenda.
He said that COVID-19 control measures instituted by the governments in their bid to curb its spread continue to impact income-earning opportunities for both urban and rural poor households.
“In urban areas, reduced income-earning opportunities for casual labor and petty trade are limiting household purchasing power and driving crisis outcomes for poor households,” said Mwenda.
He urged governments to refocus on their set goals without relenting to help reduce climate change effects on communities’ livelihoods.
Mwenda called on the private sector and the civil society to make use of all available means including the information and technology advancements to keep engaging and move climate action forward. Enditem