Earth Day activities to amplify ECA’s COVID-19 recovery report

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United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA)

The Economic Commission for Africa’s (ECA) premier COVID-19 recovery report, Building Forward for an African Green Recovery, will be amplified at the “Leaders Summit on Climate.”

The date for the report coincides with the Earth Day, which is commemorated annually on April 22.

This year’s theme for Earth Day is “Restoring Earth,” according to a release copied to the Ghana News Agency.

U.S. President Joe Biden will host the high-powered “Leaders’ Summit on Climate” to stimulate action by the world’s major economies in tackling the climate crisis.

Five African leaders are among the select 40 world Heads of State and Government attending the summit.

They include President Felix Tshisekedi of the Democratic Republic of Congo, and current chair of the African Union (AU), President Ali Bongo Ondimba of Gabon, Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta, President Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria, and President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa.

The five African countries are largely viewed as “climate champions,” having demonstrated decisive and strong climate leadership by leading their respective nations in the uptake on innovative and transformative pathways towards green economies.

According to Dr Vera Songwe, the Executive Secretary of the ECA, the invitation of the five African leaders is an affirmation of their record as champions of the collective Pan-African climate action ideals.

Mr. Jean Paul Adam, the Director of the ECA’s Technology, Climate Change, Natural Resources Division (TCND), noted that the six themes of the “Leaders’ Summit for Climate” amplify the core pillars of the Building Forward for an African Green Recovery report which was released recently by the ECA.

The themes for the leaders’ summit include transition to a new clean energy economy; role of nature-based solutions in achieving net zero by 2050; and adoption of accessible transformational technologies to help reduce emissions and boost adaptation to climate change.

The other themes in the US-led summit include mobilization of both public and private sector finance to help vulnerable countries cope with climate change and the creation of new green economic opportunities and industries for the future.

The ECA’s highly illuminating Building Forward for an African Green Recovery report which was unveiled during the seventh African Regional Forum for Sustainable Development (ARFSD7) magnifies and echoes the core themes of the “Leaders’ Summit on Climate” in practical terms.

The post-pandemic build-forward recovery report is a robust call for the consolidation of climate adaptation and mitigation actions, revitalization of public health interventions, augmentation of biodiversity conservation and ecosystems management efforts while emphasizing on economic diversification, closing of the inequality gap and wealth generation.

The eco-friendly recovery report looks beyond the unprecedented effects of the pandemic and urges Africa to adopt bolder measures to build forward better and stronger by embracing a vigorous home-grown Afro-Green Blue pact which accentuates intensive inclusive economic growth, green and blue fiscal pathways, environmentally sound policies, and low-carbon development trajectory. According to Mr. Adam, the five countries invited to the Leaders’ Summit on Climate are fast tracking the adoption of greener energy pathways through aggressive renewables uptake and conservation of peatlands that act as carbon-sinks.

It is anticipated that Africa will use the summit’s platform to leverage on the continent’s green and blue spaces, which contribute enormously towards carbon sequestration at the global level to generate further financial flows into conservation, climate adaptation and mitigation.

“The mobilization of finance to tackle climate change, in particular in relation to adaptation is as urgent as ever. African advocacy to ensure that previous commitments are honoured will be critical,” said Mr. Adam, adding the opportunity was also emerging for innovative finance to be developed.

“Debt issues are a rising challenge in the context of the pandemic where fiscal space for all African countries continue to be constrained,” the ECA Director said, adding the ECA welcomed the recent comments from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) undertaking to develop frameworks for debt for climate adaptation swaps.

“The ECA is also working with partners to further develop financing opportunities through market-based mechanisms, including through green or blue bonds,” Mr. Adam said.

He also affirmed that the five leaders will ably echo Africa’s voice in the summit this week and reiterated that this will add to the ECA’s plans to consolidate on the ambitious emissions targets by the African continent to boost its position at the High-Level Political Forum and at COP26.

The successful hosting of the ARFSD7 and the elaborate plans for the forthcoming ninth Climate Change for Development in Africa (CCDA-IX) in Cabo Verde in August are all geared towards galvanizing the continental voice and building momentum for stronger climate action in readiness for the November United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow.

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