Regional high-level experts and decision-makers met in Addis Ababa on 24 October 2013 to identify new policy approaches to address the challenges from climate change to Africa, in particular regarding food, energy, water and migration. The policy dialogue took place at the United Nations Conference Centre, Addis Ababa (UNCC-AA) and was jointly organised by the Berlin-based international think-tank adelphi, the African Institute for Security Studies (ISS) and the African Climate Policy Centre (ACPC), in cooperation with and supported by the German Federal Foreign Office and the German Embassy in Addis Ababa.
“Africa’s climate is changing; the continent is getting warmer, with serious environmental and socio-economic consequences,” said Alfred Omenya, Associate Professor at the Technical University Kenya. The impacts of climate change on the African continent will be significant and widespread. More variable precipitation levels, increased temperatures and severe droughts, floods and other natural disasters are forecast for vast sub-regions in the continent. This will have enormous implications for water, food and energy security and affect trade and agriculture. Climate change is therefore one of the biggest challenges, threatening to destabilize countries with low adaptation capacities and to compromise advances in safeguarding human security.
In response to the challenges identified, new ways to integrate climate change into national, regional and international policies were discussed. Important recommendations that were developed include:
• the enhancement of knowledge and reliable data necessary to understand and predict climate change impacts on resource security in the region,
• awareness raising, knowledge and capacity building at the level of governments, institutions and populations,
• the strengthening of regional conflict resolution mechanisms and early warning systems (e.g. through the building and strengthening of transboundary river management commissions.
Participants agreed that climate change has an impact on global economic development and human well-being, emphasizing the necessity for a new profile of Climate Diplomacy. Diplomatic efforts in this context can create enabling conditions, build confidence and support negotiations. Instruments should include enhanced development cooperation, conflict prevention, humanitarian assistance, and targeted financial support for climate change adaptation and mitigation.