Africa’s nations must develop strategies to address climate change, which poses an existential threat to the continent’s megacities, Gabon’s President Ali Bongo Ondimba said at the third Africa Climate Week conference.
African officials and experts should sharpen the positions they will present at the 27th annual United Nations climate conference to be held in Egypt in November, said Bongo.
The third African climate meeting is bringing together more than 1,000 government officials and stakeholders in Gabon’s capital Libreville. They are working to form strong African regional climate responses.
“Climate change is a profound challenge in Africa and a great challenge of our time, amplifying existing social, political and economic inequalities,” Patricia Scotland, secretary-general of the Commonwealth group of former British colonies, said to the meeting.
The African climate week comes as the continent reels from several extreme weather events such as drought in East Africa and the Horn of Africa, sandstorms and extreme heat in West Africa’s Sahel region, and destructive flash floods, storm surges including cyclones in central, western and southern Africa.
Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry, who will host the upcoming U.N. conference, lamented that promises made to African countries to help them fight climate change have not been fulfilled.
“The international community is lagging behind in mitigation, adaptation and finance. Several pledges on mitigation and adaptation finance celebrated in Glasgow are yet to be delivered,” said Shoukry.
He said the “backtracking on commitments by many developed countries is a matter of concern” for many African countries. “The delayed delivery of climate finance continues to affect Africa’s efforts to contribute to the global effort against climate change,” he said.
The African climate week conference will discuss other critical concerns of the continent including food security, carbon markets, climate migrants, and coastal resilience. Climate early warning systems, integrated water management to address scarcity and international cooperation to boost climate action are also issues to be examined.