Africa demands independent agenda item on adaptation for COP28 deal to stand


December 12, 2023

As COP 28 climate talks in Dubai end, the African negotiators have vowed not to agree on the final document unless Africa’s priorities are met.

They are asking for an ambitious Global Goal on Adaptation framework with time-bound targets and clear means of implementation support.

“Africa cannot accept a GGA framework without means of implementation from developed countries, especially on the targets,” said  Collins Nzovu, the Zambian Minister of Green Economy and Environment, on behalf of the Africa Group of Negotiators (AGN).

“If we are serious about saving lives and livelihoods and protecting ecosystems, then the GGA framework must have ambitious, time-bound targets with clear means of implementation support.”

The GGA is a collective commitment under Article 7.1 of the Paris Agreement aimed at “enhancing (the world’s) adaptive capacity, strengthening resilience and reducing vulnerability to climate change.”

‘Must address thematic  and dimensional targets’

The AGN’s sentiments on adaptation were echoed by the African Civil Society Organizations under the umbrella of the Pan Africa Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA). “We lament the lack of a tangible outcome on the Global Goal on Adaptation and any strong commitments to ‘more than double” adaptation finance flows to Africa,’ said Dr Mithika Mwenda, the PACJA executive director.

Dr Mwenda observed that COP28 generated a paltry 156 million dollars in pledges for adaptation finance, compared to billions of dollars pledged for mitigation-centric initiatives, falling short of the commitments made at COP26 in Glasgow to double adaptation finance to 40 billion dollars annually.

“Adaptation remains the most important priority for Africa because of the disproportionate vulnerabilities and adverse impacts on its populations and economies,” he said.

According to AGN, the GGA outcome at COP28 must address thematic and dimensional targets on equal footing. The targets must be measurable and time-bound for easy progress tracking.

Outcome that promotes equity and fairness

Nzovu observed that despite the strained budgets in African countries and the increasing debt burden, many governments have committed significant domestic resources to adaptation during and after hurricanes, floods, droughts, and landslides, among many other climate-led calamities.

“We demand a standing agenda item on GGA and further work on metrics and indicators for tracking progress, including inviting input from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) at a workshop and a longer-term task force for adaptation beyond the GGA framework,” he said.

The AGN called for a Global Stock Take outcome that promotes equity and fairness in allocating policy space and should ensure that the energy transition will be just, equitable, and orderly.

Nzovu insisted that Africa must be allowed to continue exploiting her natural resources and renewable energy endowments to achieve universal access to energy as per Sustainable Development Goal number 9 (SDG 9), given the insignificant amount of greenhouse gases emitted from the continent.


Isaiah Esipisu is an independent journalist and a media consultant. He is the continental Coordinator for the Pan Africa Media Alliance for Climate Change (PAMACC).