Consequences of UNGA 77: AfDB priorities Climate finance, jobs, food insecurity

By Adedapo Adesanya

The African Development Bank (AfDB) has had several productive engagements around its strategic priorities during the just-concluded 77th United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) meetings in New York.

Highlights of the meeting included an urgent call for increased funding to mitigate the effects of climate change and food insecurity.

The group’s chairman, Mr. Akinwumi Adesina, led the bank’s delegation to meetings and played an active role in discussions leading to an international declaration to end malnutrition and stunting.

The bank’s commitments reflect its strategic priorities as the African countries it supports struggle with the lingering effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, as well as the food and fuel price spikes resulting from the war in Russia in Ukraine and climate change.

Climate change was a recurring theme in many of the bank’s UNGA discussions, particularly the need for urgent financing for countries most at risk from climate change.

Climate change has taken on greater urgency, with the next United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP27) due to be held in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, in less than two months. COP 27, or “the African COP” as it is known, presents an unprecedented opportunity for a unified African voice to demand that the global community move beyond talk to take concrete action on climate change adaptation. climate change and mitigation financing.

Speaking at the 2nd Ministerial Meeting on Climate and Development, Adesina joined US President’s Special Envoy for Climate John Kerry and other participants in urging developed countries to deliver on the commitments they made at COP26 in Glasgow last year and under the 2015 Paris Agreement.

The bank has also joined the Global Leadership Council in a new initiative to develop clean and reliable energy and fight global warming.

The Global Leadership Council comprises world leaders, including the Director of the African Development Bank, the Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, Patricia Espinosa; Achim Steiner, Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme; European Investment Bank. chairman Werner Hoyer; Norwegian Prime Minister Jonas Gahr; and Rockefeller Foundation Chairman Dr. Rajiv J. Shah, Co-Chair of the Board.

Initially, the Council will focus on efforts to remove barriers to just energy transitions in developing countries.

While developing countries are currently only responsible for 25% of global CO2 emissions, this share could reach 75% by 2050, according to an analysis published by the Alliance. Developing countries currently receive only a fraction of funding to develop clean energy, despite representing nearly half of the world’s population.

The General Assembly has enabled the African Development Bank Group to show particular leadership in efforts to end hunger, nutrition and stunting in Africa.

As part of the Presidential Dialogue Group on Nutrition, inspired by the African Union’s designation of 2022 as the “Year of Nutrition”, the AfDB chief joined African presidents in signing a landmark pledge to end stunting in children.

According to the Global Nutrition Report, considered the most comprehensive account of the state of nutrition in the world, more than 30% of children in Africa are stunted.

The Dialogue Group is an initiative of the African Leaders Nutrition Platform of the African Development Bank, the Government of Ethiopia and Big Win, a philanthropic organization. In addition to Ethiopia, the platform has among its members the leaders of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Madagascar, Malawi, Mozambique, Niger, Senegal, Tanzania and Uganda.

The banks African Emergency Food Production Facility figured prominently at the World Summit on Food Security. Senegalese President Macky Sall, chair of the African Union, praised the bank for its swift launch of the $1.5 billion facility to avert a looming food crisis. The program facilitates the production of 38 million tons of food. This represents a $12 billion increase in production in just two years.

As part of the AfDB’s Jobs for Youth in Africa program to create 25 million jobs by 2025 and related initiatives, the President of the Bank participated in a high-level session to discuss the Global Accelerator for Employment and Social Protection for Just Transitions initiative.

Various world leaders also spoke at the session, including Mr. Adesina, President of Malawi Lazarus Chakwera, Ugandan Vice President Jessica Alupo and Egyptian Minister of Planning and Economic Development, Mr. Hala El – Said.

Mr Adesina said: “We need to restructure our economies to be productive with education, infrastructure, energy and make sure we have productive sectors that can use people’s skills and absorb them into the economy. “

On the general assembly side, Mr. Adesina also led a banking delegation to the World Health Organization (WHO) for meetings. The two organizations have agreed to work on quality healthcare infrastructure, vaccines, essential medicines, nutrition and the African Foundation for Pharmaceutical Technology.

Mr. Adesina also held bilateral talks with the new President of Kenya, William Ruto; American billionaire and philanthropist Michael Bloomberg; former US President Bill Clinton and former US Senator Hillary Clinton.

The President also met with Anne Beathe Tvinnereim, Norwegian Minister for International Development and Governor of the African Development Bank. Ahead of the Global Citizen Festival, they discussed efforts to eradicate hunger, and the country will support the African Emergency Food Production Facility.

UNGA 77 brought together world leaders, civil society activists, private sector actors and young people from around the world for two weeks of in-person dialogue in New York under the theme “A Decisive Moment: Transformative Solutions to interrelated challenges.

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