Climate Action

EU and Africa to step up cooperation on climate change adaptation


At the UN Secretary General Climate Summit on 23 September, EU Climate Action and Energy Commissioner Miguel Arias Cañete and Gabon’s Minister of Forest, Seas, Environment, in charge of Climate Plan, Professor Lee White, joined forces to strengthen and accelerate and scale adaptation to climate change in Africa.

Commissioner Arias Cañete and Professor Lee White issued the following press announcement:

"Climate change is impacting our world more than ever: July 2019 was the warmest month on Earth since records began, and a tangible sign that the global climate is changing fast because of human-induced emissions of greenhouse gases.

We need more action and joint efforts to meet this global threat, working on two fronts: first, taking decisive action to reduce emissions to net zero as fast as possible; and second, stepping up efforts to enhance resilience and adapt to the impacts of climate change.

With impressive economic growth rates and a growing, young population, the African continent has huge potential to embark upon a low-emission economy, while continuing to pursue the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals. However, if left unchecked, the adverse consequences of climate change risk jeopardising past and future progress.

Following the request from the African Heads of State and Government, the Africa Adaptation Initiative (AAI) aims to support African countries in raising their climate efforts to enhance adaptive capacity, strengthen resilience and reduce vulnerability to climate change impacts. This is an important step to empower African countries to respond to the challenge of climate change, in line with national priorities and plans."

Miguel Arias Cañete, European Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy said:

“The EU and Africa are long-term allies in the fight against climate change. We welcome the Africa Adaptation Initiative as an Africa-owned initiative to leverage action and partnership for climate change adaptation. Our support is part of the EU’s continued effort to enhance adaptation in particularly vulnerable countries. It will further deepen our partnership, and strengthen the continent’s response to the climate change challenge for sustainable development.”

Professor Lee White said:

“Gabon welcomes this emerging collaboration between Africa & Europe as a concretisation of EU-Africa Climate Agenda 2017 Abidjan. It’s an opportunity for our country to further reiterate His Excellency Ali Bongo Ondima’s call for the establishment of a strategic framework and action plan to systematically explore opportunities for closer collaboration on enhancing adaption ambition and concrete implementation."

The Africa Adaptation Initiative work will be done through partnerships with institutions and organisations working on adaptation actions and approaches to avert, minimise and address loss and damage in the African continent. The initiative will play a facilitative role, working with partners to scale up and replicate on-going initiative and develop proposals for new ones.

Discussions are ongoing with UNDP as partner to support the AAI. EU support will help accelerate adaptation efforts in Africa through:

  • enhancing capacity to use climate risk information and to assess and implement risk transfer mechanisms, such as insurance;
  • deepening knowledge and capacity for climate change adaptation projects; and
  • reinforcing the preparation of the State of Adaptation in Africa Report.