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Building resilience against climate change – the sustainable development nexus

  • By KCV
  • October 13, 2021

An emerging theme leading up to the COP 26 conference in Glasgow is the need to utilize funds for climate change adaptation in Africa. Africa’s carbon emissions are pretty low, yet the continent faces a substantial risk to the bio-physical impacts of climate change. Due to this, there is a dire need to accelerate access to funding for climate change mitigation measures. 

The climate change adaptation and development nexus refer to the linkages between sustainable development and climate change adaptation. Both sustainable development and climate change adaptation advocate for the integration of environmental issues and social equity. Essentially, through enhanced development, the underlying variables of influence on an individual’s ability to adapt to the effects of climate change are addressed. Based on this, Africa’s approach to building environmental resilience must integrate development and climate change adaptation. 

According to the OECD report on “Integrating Climate Change Adaptation into Development Co-operation”, the overlap between climate change adaptation and sustainable development exists on a spectrum. It comprises measures to enhance the population’s resilience to climate change through vulnerability reduction and response to climate change impacts. 

The measures are tailored to human development; these include challenges such as gender equality and livelihood diversification. The second component of this spectrum relates to the provision of efforts that build a populations capacity to adapt to climate change; these measures include the sustainable management of natural resources, such as forests. The third component of this spectrum is introducing measures that manage climate change risk, including activities relating to disaster management. Finally, on the latter end of the spectrum is the implementation of measures that solely address climate change impacts. 

Impact investing has the unique ability to provide the necessary capital needed to enhance the capacity of enterprises that offer solutions across the climate adaptation and development spectrum. For example, Kenya Climate Ventures (KCV) aims to finance enterprises that deliver climate-smart solutions, and their investments span the range. These include organizations like Dash Crop, which work to enhance the availability and access to drought-resilient crops. Through this process, they target communities and manage the risks of climate change while becoming more resilient. Similarly, Lentera Africa provides farmers with farm inputs and digital advisory technology that can help increase their land productivity and enhance their income; this also strengthens their ability to adapt to climate change.

An integrated approach to sustainable development that includes a focus on adaptation and development and adequate financing is instrumental in building Africa’s reliance on climate change. This enhanced resilience will enable the continent to thrive in the face of the looming effects of climate change in the future.