Agency advocates efforts to tackle climate impacts in Africa

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The UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) has stressed the urgent need to build African countries’ capacity so as to effectively cope with and adapt to climate impacts. The call was made by James Murombedzi, Officer in Charge of the African Climate Policy Center (ACPC) at the ECA. He emphasized the need to initiate a series of initiatives to support the integration of climate information services and climate change considerations into resilience building in climate-sensitive sectors of African economies.

“African economies, ecosystems and societies are highly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change and variability and have the least capacity to cope and adapt to climate impacts,” an ECA statement quoted Murombedzi as saying.

The ECA official also emphasized that “building resilience will positively impact disaster risk preparedness and response.”

Murombedzi noted that the underlying causes of African countries’ vulnerability to the impacts of climate change mainly include high levels of poverty, national indebtedness, poor infrastructure and low levels of capacity to generate and use climate information, including early warning systems.

According to the ECA, food shortages and higher domestic prices caused by flooding further increase the national poverty headcount rate by almost 1 percent each year.

It, however, emphasized that with the adaptation of science and evidence-based planning, the damage could be limited.

The ECA, which recalled the devastating impacts of Cyclone Idai that hit Southern African countries in March this year, also underscored the crucial need to share experiences by affected countries so as to build preparedness for futurity.

In Malawi, Mozambique and Zimbabwe, more than 1,000 people had lost their lives, while hundreds of thousands remained in need of aid, following the devastating battering by Cyclone Idai, in which the World Bank estimates the affected countries will need over 2 billion U.S. dollars to recover.