• Press Release

The Africa-Europe Foundation addresses climate adaptation at the UN General Assembly in New York

  • The Africa-Europe Foundation

New York, 20 September 2022: Influential women leaders from Africa and Europe have been convening together in New York on 19 September to accelerate investment in climate adaptation and unblock cross-continental action on critical issues including loss and damage.

Taking place in the margins of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA77), the in-person meeting of the Africa-Europe Foundation (AEF) Women Leaders Network marked an important milestone in the preparation of November’s Climate Change summit in Egypt (COP27). The Women Leaders Network (WLN) brings together changemakers and international policymakers committed to catalysing collaborative actions as part of a strengthened Africa-Europe partnership and in the face of the global climate emergency.

The meeting at UNGA77 was anchored by the AEF Policy Brief on Climate Adaptation, which sets out priority areas of cross-continental action, from the investment in climate resilient infrastructure to creation of a Loss and Damage Facility, from delivering on the promised $100bn target from the Paris Agreement to addressing African countries’ capacity to access funds, to ensure adaptation finance reaches the most vulnerable and marginalised people.

Speaking at the event, Amina Mohammed, United Nations Deputy Secretary-General, underlined the urgency of collaborative action involving donors, multinational development banks and private finance.

“Climate change is no longer a future crisis, it is one that is currently felt through droughts, fires, and floods which impact the most vulnerable communities and people in developing countries”

adding that “I welcome the Africa-Europe Foundation’s focused discussion on doubling adaptation finance, and loss and damage, and hope this work can help build momentum to COP27”.

Kristalina Georgieva, Managing Director of the International Monitory Fund (IMF), echoed the call to focus on climate financing for adaptation, noting that this is critical in Africa which is especially vulnerable to climate shocks.

“We welcome the work of the Africa-Europe Foundation on climate adaptation, aimed at turning cross-continental partnerships into action”

stated the IMF Managing Director, highlighting that “We’ll continue to support countries tackling climate change, through policy advice, capacity development, and financial support through the Resilience and Sustainability Trust, which is on track to be operational this Fall”.

During the discussion, WLN members emphasised the urgent need to identify ways to increase investment from private finance in building climate resilience, notwithstanding the provision of adequate technical and technological support to address adaptation action and finance in the lead-up to COP27.

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Director General of the World Trade Organization underlined that

“Trade is an adaptation tool and needs also to be part of the solution pointing out the slow progress to move towards implementation at the level of global climate negotiations.”

She argued that adaptation action can be the right levy to reinforce the cross-continental partnership and sectoral joint working, as well as to strengthen the wider influence that the two continents have on climate diplomacy.

The meeting of the Women Leaders Network was hosted at the Permanent Mission of Ireland to the United Nations and chaired by the co-Presidents of AEF, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf (Nobel Laureate and Former President of the Republic of Liberia) and Mary Robinson (Chair of the Elders and former President of Ireland).

“If Africa and Europe are to build a real climate partnership, there needs to be a step-change in understanding each other’s immediate needs, and the longer-term aspirations the two continents have set for themselves, stated President Mary Robinson”

“The Africa-Europe Foundation has a central role to play to ensure frank dialogues help pave the way for this partnership”.

The WLN meeting marked the launch of the AEF programme at UNGA77, focusing on catalysing collaboration on Agri-food systems, Climate Adaptation, Digital Economy, Investment in Youth and the Future of Health workforces. The first AEF Day is scheduled on 27th September 2022 and registration is now open.