The Times of Tanzania
Eastern Africa News Network

Africa loses 5 percent GDP annually as Climate Change takes toll on the continent

As the Seventh Assessment Cycle of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change starts, the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa has welcomed the election of Jim Skea, as the new Chair of the IPCC.

In an official statement, the commission also congratulates Prof Skea from the United Kingdom as well as all the new members of the IPCC Bureau on their election.

Apparently, Professor Skea’s term of office coincides with the implementation of the African Union Climate Change and Resilient Development Strategy and Action Plan (2022-2032).

“The existential threats to the planet being posed by climate change are starkly pronounced, especially in Africa where effects of adverse climate change cost the continent an average of 5 percent of Gross Domestic Product every year,” the report states.

But ECA believes that such challenges together with the right support and partnerships can be a growth opportunity for Africa, capitalizing on its abundant clean energy resources and transition minerals.

The Economic Commission for Africa’s Acting Executive Secretary Antonio Pedro noted that the African region is well represented in the new leadership team, and looks forward to partnering with IPCC on regional climate science and research issues. 

“ECA notes that in their approval of the sixth cycle IPCC assessment synthesis report, many governments emphasized the need for alignment of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change assessment cycle with the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change global stock take.”

“We therefore anticipate that the seventh assessment cycle scheduled for the next five to seven years starting July 2023, will focus on improving the implementation of the Paris Agreement to ensure achievement of the 1.5 degrees target of global climate policy.”

“In this regard, ECA notes that Africa remains the most vulnerable continent to the accelerating impacts of climate change, and that to address this situation, the continent requires greater and more consistent access to sustainable climate finance to build resilience and also to achieve its Sustainable Development Goals in the context of its Agenda 2063.”

Antonio Pedro

It was also observed that the pace and scale of climate action are insufficient to tackle climate change, despite the multiple, feasible, and effective options available to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to human-caused climate change.

 Enabling conditions include finance, technology, capacity building, and international cooperation.

The ECA recognizes that Africa’s contributions to the IPCC assessment reports continues to be marginal, due to low investments in research and development, limited access to scientific publication processes, and other capacity challenges.

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