20-country peer review builds on lessons learned and deepens shared vision of Africa Adaptation Programme
26 Nov 2010 When the first peer review meeting of all 20 member countries of the Africa Adaptation Programme (AAP) wrapped up here today, it was with a clearer understanding among all participants of the ambitious intent of the AAP.
“The purpose of the AAP is not to do adaptation project after project after project, but to change the development paradigm,” said Veerle Vandeweerd, Director of UNDP’s Environment and Energy Group, the division that is implementing the AAP. “This presents an opportunity for you to make good use of AAP’s transformative philosophy,” she said to delegates during the final session of the meeting.
“I think everyone’s coming to the realization that the real climate challenge confronting governments in Africa is not just how to manage some adaptation projects in a few sectors but how to transform entire societies from climate vulnerability to climate resilience,” said Ian Rector, Programme Manager of the AAP.
“There are far too many ad hoc, unrelated adaptation projects, and unless something is done to deepen the capacity of governments to provide strategic oversight and coherence in managing climate change within the framework of national development priorities, it will be difficult to address climate impacts regardless as to the amount of money being pledged,” said Mr. Rector,
The AAP is a flagship programme of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), in partnership with UNIDO, UNICEF and WFP, with funding of $92.1 million from the Government of Japan. The programme is working with the governments of 20 countries across Africa (Burkina Faso, Cameroun, Congo, Ethiopia, Gabon, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Mauritius, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sao Tomé and Principe, Senegal, Tanzania and Tunisia) to strengthen their ability to identify and stay abreast of their own evolving climate vulnerabilities and develop the capacity to design and implement coherent climate adaptation and disaster risk reduction strategies that correspond with their national development priorities.
The meeting showcased some of the key initiatives available to participating countries as they implement the AAP. For example, Kenya has been piloting a visual mapping tool for AAP that will enable countries to understand the range and inter-connectedness of their existing climate change activities, documents and actors so that they can ensure the coherence and effectiveness of these varied elements. This tool will be available to all AAP countries from 2011.
Other focus areas for support include leadership transformation, organizational effectiveness, the integrated planning approach which aims to combine all UNDP climate projects within a holistic management framework and thus reducing the impact of project fatigue or simply trying to implement too many projects.
“Developing this kind of capacity may seem a bit intangible at this point, but not too far down the road the outcomes have the potential to generate more tangible results that could make the difference between the success or failure of agriculture, the presence or absence of food, the health or illness of millions of people, and the prosperity or poverty of a continent,” said Mr. Rector. “And I want to congratulate the Government of Japan for having the insight to recognize that the less tangible aspects of institutional strengthening and leadership development are essential platforms for meeting the complex and long-term challenges associated with climate change,” he said.
Over 100 people participated in the three-and-a-half-day workshop, updating each other on the progress of their work back home, sharing experiences, building on lessons learned and identifying challenges and opportunities to be factored into the AAP workplan for 2011.
“I want to thank all the participants for being so fully-engaged, and willingly working long hours. You have made full use of the opportunity and enabled all of us to take things to a new level,” said Mr. Rector.