Calls grow for climate finance to support adaptation of sustainable livestock systems in Africa as millions of herds die due to climate change shocks
- More than 13 million head of livestock in the Horn of Africa died last year from climate change shocks.
- The continent got only 11% of its total climate finance needs in 2022, with less than 1% going to livestock.
- There are calls for adapting Africa’s livestock sector with climate change as a top goal at COP28.
Millions of livestock including camels, cows, donkeys, goats and sheep died last year in Africa due to climate change shocks.
Going into COP28, there are growing calls for climate finance to support adaptation for sustainable livestock systems on the continent.
In the Horn of Africa alone, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, communities suffering from the impacts of five consecutive poor rainy seasons have lost more than 13 million heads of livestock.
In Niger, thousands of livestock died this year due to flooding and the spread of disease.
The biggest worry for communities across the continent, where the livestock sector contributes between 30% and 80% to their agricultural output, is that it could take at least five years for farmers to recover.
Josefa Sacko – the African Union Commissioner for Agriculture, Rural Development, Blue Economy and Sustainable Environment – in a letter she wrote with other experts, argued that livestock loss due to climate change had left “more than 1.4 million children under the age of five without a daily glass of milk”.
The experts challenged African leaders to direct a sizable chunk of what they will get from wealthy nations at COP28 towards the adaptation of sustainable livestock systems.
We urge high-income countries to meet their commitment to provide U$100 billion (R1.9 trillion) per year in climate finance for developing countries. And we urge African countries to adapt livestock systems as a core part of their climate strategies.
Last year, Africa received only 11% of its total climate finance needs, totalling R570 billion, with less than 1% of climate finance reaching the livestock sector.
The experts argued that adapting Africa’s livestock sector to climate change must be a top goal at COP28 to ensure the long-term viability of a continent that has contributed less than 3% of historic world greenhouse gas emissions.
This, they said, should be done through “developing more reliable forages and feed, more resilient breeds of indigenous livestock, and more resilient animal health systems and support services such as digital information tools, finance and index-based livestock insurance”.
For its part, the African Development Bank has run some pilot projects in parts of the continent under the Climate Resilient Livestock Management Project.
In Zambia, between 2017 and 2022, the project was a success that can be emulated with the right funding, and which can sustain the lives of Africa’s more than 800 million smallholder farmers and their beneficiaries.
“In short, for Africa to feed itself, we need to invest in livestock. It is not only an economic issue but a form of climate justice. For many of Africa’s 800 million herders and smallholder farmers, a future without livestock is a future without life,” the experts said in their letter.
The News24 Africa Desk is supported by the Hanns Seidel Foundation. The stories produced through the Africa Desk and the opinions and statements that may be contained herein do not reflect those of the Hanns Seidel Foundation.
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Publish date : 2023-12-01 12:54:42