Original Article


Countries forced to choose between climate resilience, fighting poverty and paying debts, says Ban Ki-moon.

 Ban Ki-moon, chair of the Global Center on Adaptation, at the Africa Climate Summit in Nairobi

Former UN Secretary-General and current chair of the Global Center on Adaptation (GCA), Ban Ki-moon, stressed the pressing need to augment climate adaptation finance to Africa by up to ten times by 2035, during the ongoing Africa Climate Summit in Nairobi. This escalation is deemed essential to address the rapidly worsening impacts of the climate crisis in the region. Ban Ki-moon emphasized that no country should be in a position where they have to choose between combating poverty, fostering climate resilience, and fulfilling their debt obligations, a predicament that many African countries are currently facing.


According to GCA's recent research, without an investment surge of around £80m annually until 2035, Africa stands to forfeit approximately £4.8tn in economic benefits over the next decade. Ban Ki-moon noted that earlier assessments of Africa's contributions to climate resilience were gross underestimates, conceived during a time when the impending climate repercussions were not anticipated to manifest as swiftly and severely as they are unfolding presently.


Ban Ki-moon's comments come in the backdrop of an array of extreme weather phenomena exacerbating the continent's vulnerability, with several regions grappling with lethal cyclones, catastrophic floods, and extended periods of drought, escalating food insecurity amongst millions. These adversities are attributed to heightened likelihoods due to climate change.


The summit also saw discussions surrounding the shifting focus from the historical liability regarding carbon emissions to exploring other avenues for funding and innovative solutions. Kenyan President, William Ruto, advocated for exploring business solutions to the climate dilemma, including the implementation of global carbon taxes and financial reforms to avail more climate funding, alongside advocating for debt alleviation for African nations.


While concerns remain about the reliance on private financing for addressing climate issues, the consensus underscores the dire necessity for amplified climate financing in Africa to prevent further hardships and a potential cascade of societal issues stemming from climate impacts. Activists and agricultural organizations are also tirelessly working on the ground to assist communities in adapting to the changing climate conditions.Ban Ki-moon, chair of the Global Center on Adaptation, at the Africa Climate Summit in Nairobi