Climate Smart Africa: Regional GCCA+ conference tackles Africa’s challenges

The Global Climate Change plus Alliance (GCCA+) together with the Rwandan Ministry of Environment and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) partnered to hold the Climate Smart Africa 2019 regional conference in Kigali, Rwanda 15-18 Oct.

GCCA Plus group photo - Rwanda

Original article published on the website, written by Tracy, Climate Trackers

The Minister of Environment for the Government of Rwanda, Hon. Vincent Biruta, kicked off the conference with a warm welcome to the conference delegates and country representatives. He encouraged the audience to “harness the growth and protect the gains that have been made towards the Millennium Development Goals” and recognized the vital role the alliance plays in building a climate resilient Africa. One of the challenges that Hon. Vincent Biruta encouraged everyone to strive towards addressing, is the opportunity that climate smart development presents, adding that we need processes that amplify social economic growth, that are both green and resilient.

Charles Karangwa, IUCN Regional Technical Coordinator of Forests, Landscapes and Livelihood Programme emphasized the role of Nature based solutions in addressing the challenges of climate. He said: “Nature based solutions are areas where the IUCN has been working in the last 20 years. Nature based solutions mean how nature can be a solution to solve the challenges we have to face today. These Nature-based solutions are immediately available, cost-effective and can be scaled up depending on need. And every country in the world can act.” 

The conference brought together over 100 experts and leaders; senior European Union delegates, and private and public sector representatives from across the African continent to share insights about the impacts of climate change in Africa. The Global Climate Change plus Alliance (GCCA+) is currently building climate resilience mechanisms through 77 programmes being run worldwide. 

The regional GCCA+ conference was centered around exploring the most important issues that will impact how Africa will continue to combat climate change and create strategies and processes that help the most vulnerable countries from high climate variability. In most African countries, the majority of economic growth and quality of life is dependent on mostly rainfed agriculture, which intensifies the regions threat to food and water security.

With all the challenges the climate change brings, there are equal opportunities for us to help vulnerable populations. Throughout the conference, the theme of climate finance excited people as one of the ways to advocate for more green policies that can support a mass climate change movement. Stephen Rodrigues the UNDP Country Director for Rwanda talked about how to move to action. He believes that climate change is the biggest agenda for developing countries and an issue that concerns everyone, especially given the nature and scale of the impact of climate change. “This warrants a mass climate movement across countries and societies,'' said Mr. Rodrigues.

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