Statement by the United States to the AU’s Peace and Security Council Open Session,
“Climate Change Funding in Line with the Africa Adaptation Initiative”
February 19, 2019
The United States recognizes the African Union, as the leading regional organization on the continent, has a significant role to play in advancing climate adaptation efforts. We applaud the AU and member states for their ownership of the Africa Adaptation Initiative.
Many of our nations have suffered some form of extreme weather or natural disaster in recent years, from hurricanes to tsunamis to droughts. They lead tragically to loss of life, destruction of property, and displacement of citizens. Secondary impacts, from food insecurity to disease outbreaks, are often even more devastating. While weather disasters do not discriminate based on GDP, developing nations are often hit the hardest economically, exacerbating vulnerabilities and instability.
Changing weather patterns have intensified food and water insecurity in many African nations. The United States’ foreign assistance helps partner countries proactively manage disaster risks. Our investment helps foster innovation. We support partner countries to sustain livelihoods and maintain critical service delivery, thereby increasing their resilience and ability to achieve self-reliance in the long term.
The vast majority of USAID’s resilience portfolio of more than $300 million a year is in Africa, and USAID resilience investments in Africa are still expanding. Current USAID resilience focus countries include Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, Somalia, Niger, Burkina Faso, and Mali. The United States is transferring new agriculture technology, facilitating climate-smart best practices, and enabling the business environment for smallholder farmers as a means to improve productivity, incomes, and resilience.
For example, in 2016, Feed the Future’s targeted resilience investments in Ethiopia helped the country mitigate drought, despite that drought’s being more severe and lasting longer than the 1985 drought that led to widespread famine.
Resilience is now a central organizing concept for USAID and a framework for understanding and addressing the underlying causes of chronic vulnerability and recurrent crises. Improving resilience requires a balanced approach of promoting economic growth, improving energy security, and protecting the environment. Resilience investments seek to help African countries on their journey to self-reliance. U.S. government investments support country-led efforts and help build the capacity and responsibility of partner governments, the private sector, and communities themselves to manage risks, build resilience, and respond to shocks.
As part of these efforts, USAID invests over $1 billion a year in infrastructure around the world. USAID’s approach to planning promotes resilience and sustainability in infrastructure through deep stakeholder engagement and a suite of risk management policy and practice controls including environmental compliance, gender analysis, sustainability analysis, climate risk management, and construction risk management. USAID policy frameworks integrate climate adaptation as a cross-cutting issue in infrastructure development and promote collaboration and engagement with stakeholders in the implementation of adaptation strategies.
The United States is committed to investing in Africa, supporting access to cleaner and more efficient energy sources, sustainable land use practices, and other activities that contribute to resilience. We encourage and stand ready to partner with AU member states to invest in measures that make your countries more resilient, such as adopting innovative technologies that strengthen food security, bring access to cleaner and more efficient energy sources, and respond to natural disasters. Together we must transform our development model to build resilience, the cornerstone of peace and security.