The Economic Community of West Africa States has begun its two-day validation workshop on the ECOWAS Regional Climate Strategy and the Climate Financing Strategy to accelerate climate change efforts in the region.
The workshop held at the Alisa Hotel in Accra hosts state and non-state actors such as European Union, and the French Development Agency Group.
The ECOWAS Regional Climate Strategy and the Climate Financing Strategy developed from a needs assessment in West Africa seek to provide a coordinated effort among member states.
Speaking at the launch of the workshop in Accra, a representative from Ghana’s Ministry of Environment explained that climate change impacts cannot be overlooked, and therefore in a post-COVID-19 recovery plan, governments “must transform the challenges of climate change into a historic opportunity by ensuring that recovery efforts are aligned with 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the goals of Paris Agreement to build better.”
He added that “achieving these alignments requires us to overcome the traditional silo approaches in favour of co-sectoral decision-making and innovative solutions that unlock synergies in portfolios and the economy.”
Applauding the European Union for supporting the validation workshop, he said the “implementation of the regional strategy on climate change will require additional financial resources” therefore development and financial institutions, state and non-state actors must provide financial support when the strategies are adopted.”
A representative from the French Development Agency Group applauded the member states for developing a regional climate strategy and pledged its commitment to support its implementation.
“This project [Regional Climate Strategy and Climate Finance Strategy] speaks directly to the heart of any AFD representative in the ECOWAS. The AFD Group is looking forward to broadening its areas of team and cooperation with the commission, particularly on the subject of climate change. The core of AFD mandate is the fight against climate change and the implementation of the Paris Agreement. We have the belief that the only solution to succeed is partnership and cooperation,” he stated.
The Ambassador of the Delegation of the European Union to Ghana, Irchad Razaaly, recalling the lessons from the COVID-19 pandemic stated that “the lack of preparation and planning will only amplify their impact” therefore African countries are encouraged to “invest into innovative sectors to support sustainable and climate adaptive policies and technologies.”
Also, he admitted that the price tag of climate change is huge, however, “those investments will be 12 times cost-effective. They will also create jobs, raise incomes, improve living standards and ensure peace and stability for the region.”
Reiterating the EU’s commitment to sustainable development in Africa, he added that “30% of European budget will be allocated to climate action which means a minimum of 29 billion Euros dedicated to Africa in grants only. The financing gap requires strong political will and ambition for new ideas. Time is not on our side, we must all act now to make most of it. The EU had been and is a trusted partner of ECOWAS and Africa.”
Therefore, member states and the private sector should “embrace the goodwill efforts by stakeholders to integrate all the national contributions into a regional strategy. Together we can make a difference.”
The validation workshop will be launching its final report on Friday, 29th April, 2022 at Alisa Hotel.