Africa Knowledge Exchange Shares Perspectives on Protecting Forests, Fostering Climate Resilience and Empowering Communities
The Africa Knowledge Exchange Shares Perspectives on Protecting Forests, Fostering Climate Resilience and Empowering Communities. In March 2023, the Climate Investment Funds (CIF), the Government of Côte d’Ivoire, and the African Development Bank Group held a four-day event to share knowledge from 15 years of the Fund’s interventions in Africa. The event focused on experiences from the Forest Investment Program and the Pilot Program for Climate Resilience. It also previewed CIF’s Nature, People, and Climate Investment Program.
The occasion brought together over 200 participants from CIF recipient countries, contributing states, the private sector, civil society, local community groups, and the Fund’s international partners.
Mafalda Duarte, Head of CIF, opened the event: “After about 15 years, CIF has learned a great deal about what works in climate finance. We’re a fund and a learning laboratory. Here in Côte d’Ivoire, CIF and African Development Bank are proudly bringing countries together to exchange lessons and lay the groundwork for even greater impact.” She reiterated that CIF would continue to mobilize resources to support African countries.
Kevin Kariuki, Vice President of Energy, Power and Climate at the African Development Bank, said: “CIF was created by MDBs and for MDBs and its member countries. As a financing mechanism that provides concessional resources to support climate change projects, CIF is one of a kind and a partner of choice for the Bank and the African continent.”
Africa has contributed the least to global warming, and has the lowest emissions, but it is most vulnerable to the implications of global warming under all climate scenarios over 1.5 degrees Celsius. The CIF event highlighted the perspectives of African governments and donor countries on the urgent need to scale up climate finance, particularly for adaptation in Africa and how the Fund can lead this process.
Commenting on efforts to reverse Côte d’Ivoire’s declining forest cover, currently estimated at 2.5 million hectares compared to 16 million in the 1960s, Ivorian Minister of Environment and Sustainable Development Jean-Luc Assi indicated: “Côte d’Ivoire has requested and obtained funding from the CIF to operationalize its strategies for forest management and the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions due to deforestation and forest degradation.” He added that CIF provided $177 million for the first two phases of Côte d’Ivoire’s Forest Investment Program and the Dedicated Grant Mechanism.
To share knowledge and showcase innovations and outcomes, the Africa Knowledge Exchange invited participants to a knowledge fair to learn about experiences in implementing work concerning sustainable forestry, climate resilience, and Indigenous People and Local Communities through the CIF projects over the past 15 years. The knowledge fair featured exhibitions by seven African countries — Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ghana, Niger, Republic of Congo, and Zambia—as well as the African Development Bank and the CIF.
There were sessions dedicated to International Women’s Day 2023, focusing on social inclusion and women’s leadership. Women are leading frontline climate action and activism. Climate finance in Africa is key to supporting women and youth climate entrepreneurship to scale up interventions driving climate actions in local communities. Climate leadership of women requires interrelated approaches to ensure their empowerment and influence in decision-making processes, participants heard.
“The African continent needs it, and the world needs it. Climate finance needs to reach those most in need and those on the ground. It’s not difficult, and the proof is that CIF has dared,” said Cécile Bibiane Ndjebet, Founder and President, African Women’s Network for Community Management of Forests. She is the 2022 Wangari Maathai Forest Champions Award Recipient and UNEP Champion of the Earth.
The participants also visited an energy wood production site in Ahua, Department of Dimbokro, developed by the MALEBI Association, an Ivorian women-led organization that produces and sells of sustainable charcoal.
The event provided a platform to discuss key just transition challenges in Africa. The transition to a green economy will create new economic and social development opportunities, but it also poses new risks and losses. How these risks and opportunities are mitigated and distributed among different populations and regions will determine if the transition to a low-carbon and resilient economy is just.