The world is unequivocally warming. Despite accounting for only 3% of global carbon dioxide emissions, Africa will be the most afflicted region on the planet. According to the recent report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the continent is warming faster than the global average, which is anticipated to have devastating impacts ranging from excessive rainfall to drought to coastal floods, resulting in low economic growth. This is a wake-up call for Africa to prepare for the impacts of climate change through adaptation to climate change. Adaptation is an essential element of the Paris Agreement, as it reduces countries’ and communities’ susceptibility to climate change by enhancing their ability to absorb impacts and remain resilient. While African governments have made progress in the design and implementation of adaptation projects, huge gaps remain, particularly in the financing, as initiatives such as climate-smart agriculture investments and renewable energy require significant resources.
Sustainable resource mobilization refers to the process of acquiring and managing resources in a way that meets the present needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. The ‘resource’ refers not only to funds but also to human resources, goods, and services. Government budgets, grants from international development agencies, loans from international finance institutions (IFIs), foundations, and the private sector are examples of financial resources. Human resources include professional officers, personnel from government ministries, and local partners. Vehicles, computer equipment, office space, training services such as financial and technical, and airtime (radio and TV) are examples of goods and services. Sustainable resource mobilization is vital for achieving global sustainability goals and addressing pressing issues such as climate change.
The biggest obstacles to mobilizing climate finance in Africa is inadequate of institutional capacity in two dimensions: meeting the minimum criteria set by large financial institutions, international capital markets, and climate funds, and developing technically feasible and economically viable climate change projects. Furthermore, Africa is deficient of an enabling environment to incentivize green investments, which contributes to low private-sector participation, which is also a barrier. In addition, there is insufficient coordination among stakeholders who provide financing, project design, or capacity building. Further, the availability of technical experts required for implementing adaptation initiatives in Africa is low, which might deter investors.
Climate change is a complex and ongoing challenge that requires continuous efforts over the long term. A sustainable resource mobilization strategy ensures that the project has consistent and effective access to essential funding, technology, and expertise throughout its lifecycle. Let’s explore some of the strategies.
Capacity building is critical for strengthening technical skills in climate finance because it improves technical skills in negotiation, private sector engagement, tracking and reporting, fiduciary management, data collection, monitoring, and research, transparency, access to finance, and governance and regulation. Training with sustainability consultants, research, teaching, certification, and the establishment of public-private partnerships (PPPs) could help build the required capacity.
African governments need to create conducive environments for attracting funds and stimulating public and private investment in climate change adaptation projects. This can be accomplished by promoting favorable and targeted fiscal, investment, and regulatory policies on public spending and investment, public-private partnerships, carbon pricing, climate quantitative easing, and climate risk analysis integration into collateral frameworks and central bank portfolio management.
When mobilizing resources, project managers need to explore innovative finance mechanisms. Green bonds, for example, can be issued to attract conscious investors keen to support climate-related projects. Climate funds established by governments, development banks, and international organizations could also be accessed. Furthermore, they should explore revenue-generating mechanisms for carbon pricing, such as carbon taxes or emissions trading systems.
Project managers need to enhance the capacity of developing projects to ensure that the climate change adaptation projects are developed to co-benefit the communities or countries involved. Participatory development is needed to ensure community ownership and to enable a flow of climate finance that has positive impacts on local communities. This can be achieved through engaging local communities in project design and decision-making processes to ensure their needs are met. This way the community can also make contributions in terms of finances and in-kind resources.
Payment from ecosystem services may be utilized for running the projects. To achieve this, institutions need to develop projects that provide ecosystem services such as water management and carbon sequestration to industries through services such as geologic sequestration and receive payments from beneficiaries.
Climate change adaptation project developers should also consider mainstreaming climate adaptation. Integrating climate adaptation considerations into existing development programs and projects eliminates the need for standalone funding and ensures that adaptation is integrated into all sectors.
Sustainability consultants can guide climate change project owners to develop customized sustainable resource mobilization strategies by providing their expertise in sustainability, resource management, environmental impact assessment, and stakeholder engagement.