African legislators have been challenged to come up with legal frameworks for climate change to enable countries avoid catastrophes and reactionary emergencies that eat up their budgets.
“African countries are spending up to 3.9% of their GDP on climate emergencies, which in many cases have not been budgeted for,” said Dr James Murombedzi, the head of the Africa Climate Policy Centre (ACPC) at the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA).
During an event on the sidelines of the 25th Conference Of The Parties (COP25) being held 2 – 13 December in Madrid, climate experts, civil society organisations and UN representatives stated that legislators in African countries should mainstream climate change in all their national development plans as a way of adapting to the phenomenon, reported International Press Service (IPS).
“It is clear that many countries do not have legal frameworks on climate change, which should be the main vehicle for implementation of the Paris Agreement,” Dr Mithika Mwenda, the Executive Secretary at Pan African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA), told IPS.
Countries like Kenya, which has its National Climate Change Framework Policy in place, were seen to be progressing better than those without.
Dr Charles Mutai, the director of climate change at the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources in Kenya, said,“With this policy, we have been able to mainstream climate change in all national development plans, and this makes it easy to allocate budgetary funds to specific activities directly related to climate change.”
In general, analysis from Save the Children show that in 2019 alone, over 1,200 people died as the result of cyclones, floods and landslides in Mozambique, Somalia, Kenya, Sudan and Malawi, leaving at least 33m people at emergency levels of food insecurity or worse.
Adaptation, instead of mitigation
According to Mr Gareth Phillips, the manager for Climate and Environmental Finance at the Africa Development Bank (AfDB), African politicians can take advantage of low-hanging fruit in terms of climate action, but only if there are sound legislative frameworks in place.
He said, “We can start by enacting legislation that encourages renewable energy targets and non-fossil fuel obligations, the removal of fossil fuel subsidies, while at the same time providing subsidies for renewable energy, and observes the energy efficiency standards, building standards and performance.”
He urged them to focus on adaptation instead of mitigation, and take advantage of the Adaptation Benefits Mechanism – a new mechanism being developed by the AfDB that is designed to facilitate payments to project developers for the delivery of certified adaptation benefits.