Increasing Food Security and Education in Africa Through Climate Action
Paul Stevers, Think Renewables Group, May 7, 202
1. No text.
2. Welcome everyone. We have heard from a range of excellent speakers this evening about how climate change is impacting people across the African continent. In this presentation, I will summarize these impacts and explain how the Africa Climate Action Initiative is good example of how we can work together to increase food security and education through actions that mitigate and/or adapt to climate change – and fund it with the very substantial money that is coming available to finance climate action.
3. Unfortunately, climate change is compounding many existing problems and is resulting in a substantial increase in food insecurity. For example, significant change in weather patterns in Africa is causing many millions of people to become food insecure. This includes both severe droughts and floods. As well, an overly wet season can create a whole new set of major problems such as the locusts that multiplied into the billions and devastated crops in east Africa this year.
Whether droughts or billions of locusts are causing food shortages, the results are same. Insufficient food is creating and/or amplifying many conflicts, which often leads to mass migration.
4. To illustrate the rapid growth of violence in some parts of Africa, here is a short video highlighting the growth of violence in the Sahel and West Africa between 1997 and 2017. After seeing this video, you may agree that problems are growing quickly and the significant action is needed.
Shown in the bottom left hand corner is the year increasing in number. Notice how the considerable more violence is shown in countries like Burkina Faso as the year approaches 2017
5. Fortunately, there is an opportunity to fund substantial action with funding designated for climate action. Therefore, we recommend some of this funding be strategically utilized to increase food security, education and job creation. For example:
Hundreds of billions of dollars are now flowing into climate action. At the same time, rapid innovation is reducing the cost of implementing technologies to facilitate food security such as solar-powered irrigation. As well, there is a substantial growth of free educational information and low cost digital devices to support education. If this strategy was implemented on a substantial scale, the impact would be very significant.
6. To give you an idea of just how much money in flowing into climate action, shown here are some reports about this funding. In 2018, World Bank Group announced $200 billion in funding over five years for climate action.
Green bonds issuance continues to grow rapidly. For example, a new report by Climate Bonds Initiative indicated that in 2019, green bonds issuance hit a record $255 billion.
Every year, the Climate Policy Initiative publish their Global Landscape of Climate Finance report. In their recent report, they indicated that finance for climate action reached 579 billion US dollars in 2017/2018. It should be noted that this amount would likely include green bonds issuance and World Bank funding for the time period it is reporting on. Therefore, all numbers shown on this screen cannot be simply added together to estimate a larger total.
8. To help encourage investors, including the very wealthy, to invest in Climate Solutions, there is a growing range of financial incentives becoming available. You can view these information about these incentives on a number of online platforms including Climate Finance Explorer by the NDC Partnership, the Financial Navigator by the International Renewable Energy Agency or also known as IRENA and finally, a grants directory about grants for projects in developing countries, which is called the Terra Viva Grants Directory.
9. Fortunately, rapid innovation is reducing the cost of technologies to increase food security such as solar-powered Irrigation. Shown here is a schematic illustrating this type of irrigation by Rainmaker Enterprises.
10. In addition, there is substantial growth of free educational information and low cost digital devices to support education. For example, last year one NGO called One Billion was awarded a 5 million dollar prize for developing an open-source, scalable software that empowers children to teach themselves basic reading, writing and arithmetic within 15 months. Some other examples include the Rumie tablet that comes with free educational apps developed by the Rumie Initiative based in Toronto and the large offline eLibrary called RACHEL by World Possible that includes thousand of videos from the website, Khan Academy and a copy of Wikipedia for Students. The RACHEL eLibrary is available in multiple languages.
11. One area that is often overlooked when speaking about climate action is education. Educating girls is one of the most effective but overlooked ways to help mitigate and adapt to climate change. Promoting girls’ education and reproductive rights has huge climate impacts through lower fertility rates. For example, research shows that a woman with 12 years of schooling has almost four to five less children than a woman with no years of schooling. In addition, girls education, participation and leadership in climate action improves societal resilience. For example, for every additional year of schooling that girls receive in a country, on average their respective country’s resilience to climate disasters can be expected to improve by 3.2 points on the Global Adaptation Index.
As well, education helps develop life skills for a green economy, non- violent conflict resolution, increased food production and job creation. If this education is implemented on a very substantial scale, we expect that it will result in increased regional stability and human security.
12. The impact of substantial climate action to prevent and/or mitigate conflicts can be significantly increased through international cooperation. This can make much better use of available funding, innovative technologies and free educational resources.
International collaboration can be done through many ways. This includes coordinated programs by UN related organizations such as UNDP and collaboration of civil society organizations and volunteers. As well, collaboration with impact investment funds including the ones who are members of Canadian forum for Impact Investment and Development or CAFIID.
13. I feel one good example of collaboration of civil society organizations and volunteers is the Africa Climate Action Initiative (ACAI). Through this initiative, several organizations, including ours are combining expertise in Canada and Africa to access funding for substantial action. Each of the participants in this initiative share information about funding opportunities, funding applications, implementations, and lessons learned. This collaboration model can be expanded to include support from more countries to increase its impact.
14. To facilitate information sharing, participants in ACAI who are developing climate related projects can use online platforms like the one shown here, which is the Blended Climate Finance Marketplace by ClimatePlace Association. Platforms like these facilitate the initial connection between a project developer and an investor. Then the organization hosting the platform also provides a range complementary services for a project developer to move his or her respective project forward.
15. It takes considerable time and effort to obtain funding for larger projects. To illustrate this, here is a story that is still underway about seeking this funding. Last year, we submitted a concept note to Global Affairs Canada or GAC for a project in Ghana that was estimated to cost about two million dollars. It was entitled “Empowering Women with Smart Irrigation, Information and Enterprise Support”.
When GAC announces their next call for similar types of concept notes, we plan to enhance our concept note and submit it again. In addition, we plan to customize and submit it to other funding organizations when possible. To expand the range of funding options, we will also explore blended finance opportunities where grant funding is combined with private sector investment and/or bank loans.
As illustrated by this example, obtaining funding for larger projects requires considerable persistence and patience. In this case, more work is needed before we are successful. Therefore, we welcome the assistance of interested individuals who have proposal writing skills to help us complete the work that is needed.
16. In conclusion, climate change is causing food insecurity for many millions of people in Africa. Fortunately, there is an opportunity to increase food security and community resilience. For example, there are hundreds of billions of dollars are available for climate action and it is possible to strategically utilize some of this money to fund projects to increase food security, such as solar-powered irrigation, and fund education, especially for girls, to help communities become more resilient climate change.
One good example of collaboration of civil society organizations and volunteers is the Africa Climate Action Initiative (ACAI) that we are discussing today. Through this initiative, several organizations, including ours are combining expertise in Canada and Africa to access funding for substantial action. We recommend this collaboration model be scaled up substantially to help Africa rise to challenge on climate change.
17. Thank you for your time. As shown on this slide, to view this presentation again and/or related information, you can visit climatesan.org/ifs .
Moved to Appendix:
7. Recently, many of the world’s wealthy investors have become very alarmed about climate change, however, I expect that many of them are not fully aware of the associated threats to global food security and stability. Therefore, if they were informed of these threats, I expect they would become more interested to financially support substantial action on climate change to protect their wealth. To provide you with an idea of the amount of collective wealth of investors who are likely very concerned about climate change, I am will highlight these three lists:
First is the list of signers of the 2019 Global Investor Statement To Governments On Climate Change, which represent more than 37 trillion US dollars in assets. This statement was prepared by a group of organizations including the Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change.
Next is the list of organizations and individuals that have pledged to divest from oil, gas and coal and re-invest in Climate Solutions. Assets of these pledgers now exceed 12 trillion US dollars. This initiative is being organized by a group called Divest Invest dot org.
Finally, is the list of signers of the Giving Pledge, which was founded by Bill Gates and Warren Buffett. As of May 2019, pledges exceeded over $500 billion. In each of the above lists, the names of wealthy individuals and organizations are identified. Therefore, a coordinated plan could be implemented to inform them about global food security and stability implications of climate change and invite them to support bold preventive action.
15. Another useful online platform that connects project developers to investors is shown here. It is hosted by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA). As of May 1, 2020, it lists a total of 274 projects with a combined value of over 13.4 billion US dollars.