Can developing countries fund adaptation programmes?

Adaptation has become the developmental buzzword the world over, particularly in developing countries.

By Peter Makwanya

The main troubling factor is that adaptation always comes with costs, as such, many developing countries are struggling in confronting enormous costs littered on their developmental pathways.

Financial challenges are ever inherent in Africa’s funding discourse and mechanisms.

Also, the begging syndrome is quite common among many developing nations, therefore, they always expect that assistance should always come from elsewhere, which is a narrow and tunnel vision way of approaching livelihood issues.

While some African or other developing countries have the necessary human capital development skills, the challenge to adapt appropriately and sufficiently is also a human challenge, which need to be handled proactively.

Although climate change is everywhere around the world, it is felt more in Africa, because of its vulnerability status and the lack of seriousness by African leaders to invest in development.

The concept of adaptation is still not yet quite clear at grassroots level in developing countries.

Adaptation is a phenomenon that is twisted and manipulated by media houses in attempts to confuse the audience, who are largely climate illiterates and laypersons.

While the concept of adaptation is critical and a matter of urgency and survival, it is not taken seriously by the affected countries.

Adaptation frameworks and scenarios are loosely and carelessly articulated to the public as well as being weakly invested at national policy levels.

Therefore, Africa’s weakest point is that it always cries and expects too much from developed countries, paving way for abuse by these countries.

Africa’s other adaptation cause for concern is its inability to manage its water affairs properly, be it underground or surface water sources.

There are water bodies that have contributed to the decline in water safety and quality, while they have allowed polluters to go scot-free.

Because of the water safety and scarcities, the majority of people in developing countries bear the brunt of travelling long distances in search of water.

There are many other adaptation challenges that are militating against Africa’s efforts to adapt, chief among them being finance to fund adaptation programmes and poor climate literacy, misinformation, double-speak and corruption.

Because adaptation requirements are many, Africa cannot cope, not because it lacks information, but it continuously suffers from a dependency syndrome.

While infrastructural development is lagging behind and is characterised by being obsolete and dangerous, there are challenges associated with poor weather interpretation and monitoring systems.

The other factor that is threatening to tear developing countries apart is that of rapid destruction of forests, uncontrolled burning of forests, and burning wood for household use and cutting down wood for sale.

This is an environmental factor that requires urgent attention.

Deforestation and burning of wood is stalling efforts of the role of forests mitigating climate change as carbon sinks and biodiversity protection.

The problem of wood is that despite being threatened by illegal logging, firewood and charcoal business, it still remains a popular fuel choice for the majority in any country, including the countries that are good at lecturing others on climate change and adaptation issues as well as dishing out green discourse doctrines around the world.

Finally, as winter approaches, in other parts of the world, wood has become more than a threatened species for cooking and warmth requirements.

For that reason, the environmental regulatory book is always thrown into the dust bin of climate and environmental ignorance.

Peter Makwanya is a climate change communicator. He writes in his capacity and can be contacted on:

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