African Scientists Face Difficulty Utilizing Climate Change Mitigation Funds

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Nairobi — As the world marks Earth Day, activists in Africa are calling for wealthier countries to take responsibility for climate change and do more to help developing countries cope with the repercussions.

In Africa, the climate crisis is threatening the livelihoods of millions and the availability of food and water. In recent years the continent has seen economic and population growth that has led to environmental degradation while suffering extreme climatic events such as floods, heatwaves and drought.

Speaking online at the Exponential Climate Action Summit, Susan Chomba, head of Vital Landscapes for Africa at the World Resource Institute, said regulation of land use needs to be prioritized to preserve nature.

“For instance, most of the remaining areas with high biodiversity are the same areas that are increasingly receiving a lot of pressure from farming to produce food for people to eat not just locally in Africa but via local supply chain,” Chomba said. “That emphasis on the issue of how we address the demand for luxury products, demand for overconsumption of things that are driving deforestation, that are driving land degradation is critical.”

Much of Africa’s climate crisis is blamed on heavy atmospheric pollution by developed countries. Although developed countries pledged to give $100 billion to developing countries to help them adapt to the effects of climate change, that funding, combined with eligibility requirements to receive, is not adequate.

John Recha, a climate scientist with the International Livestock Research Institute, said the priorities of donor and receiving countries are different when dealing with climate mitigation strategies. He said the funds come with conditions and restrictions that make it difficult for the nations to use them in ways they would prioritize.

“Instead, they must use the funds to sometimes do what the donors think is a priority,” Recha said. “That may not be necessarily what is a leading priority within the country.”