5$ Billion to Help Africans Build Water Resilience #AfricaClimateHope

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Camille Marquis/UNOCHA/NRC
Makeshift tents surrounded by water at Kigaramango IDP camp. Displaced persons have been living in this camp since the floods in Gatumba in April 2020. This camp has been completely flooded in May 2021 and people who were still living there were displaced to another

Access to clean drinking water still remains a major challenge to many communities the world over and will increasingly be at the centre of dealing with the worst effects of the climate emergency.
After days of intense negotiations in Sharm el-Sheikh, history was made when countries at the latest UN Climate Change Conference, COP27, reached agreement on an outcome that established a funding mechanism to compensate vulnerable nations for ‘loss and damage’ from climate-induced disasters.

“This COP has taken an important step towards justice. I welcome the decision to establish a loss and damage fund and to operationalise it in the coming period,” UN Secretary-General António Guterres said in a video message issued from the conference venue in Egypt, underscoring that the voices of those on frontlines of the climate crisis must be heard.

Developing countries made strong and repeated appeals for the establishment of a loss and damage fund, to compensate the countries that are the most vulnerable to climate disasters, yet who have contributed little to the climate crisis.

In another milestone at the conference, the The African Cities Water Adaptation Fund (ACWA Fund) is expected to provide U.S.$5 billion toward urban water resilience in 100 African Cities by 2032. The fund will allow city leaders to directly access funding and technical support to implement water solutions, which include but are not limited to integrated governance, watershed management, improved stormwater management, more sanitation services. The fund is supported by 23 institutions, making up the ACWA Platform, which will provide the necessary assistance and support when it comes to financing and implementation.

Guterres also reminded everyone of the need of maintaining the Paris Agreement’s 1.5 degree Celsius limit and pulling humankind “back from the climate cliff” as top priorities for addressing the climate crisis. The UN chief said that while a fund for loss and damage is essential, it’s not an answer if the climate crisis washes a small island State off the map – or turns an entire African country into a desert.

In addition to reiterating his appeal for a climate solidarity pact that he made in his opening remarks at COP27, he restated the need for just energy transition partnerships to speed up the phase-out of coal and scale up renewable energy sources. With a U.S.$66 billion backlog in infrastructure investment across the continent and U.S.$9- U.S.$14 billion needed each year to secure water sources, the resources required to satisfy these expanding requirements are enormous.

Sub-Saharan Africa has received less than 1% of the $100 billion in private investment dedicated to water infrastructure since 1990. The greatest method to enhance access to safe and sustainable water services and decrease cities’ exposure to water-related risks is to combine private financing with coordinated public sector funds, aid for climate and development, and other funding sources.

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The ACWA Fund will help initiatives get off the ground by funding project preparation with grants, low-interest loans, and direct investments in the form of stock or subordinated debt. To assist in the implementation of resilient water solutions in 100 communities by 2032, the fund will provide U.S.$222 million in grants, U.S.$288 million in direct investments, and indirectly leverage U.S.$5 billion in further investments.

Together, the coalition’s goals are to increase 29 million people’s access to sustainable water services, conserve 137 million cubic metres of water, and add 64,000 jobs.

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