Building climate-resilient infrastructure will bring an additional layer of complexity to Africa’s development and growth challenges, requiring long-term sustainability to be included as a core consideration from the earliest stages of infrastructure project planning.
But developing quality infrastructure that is resilient to climate change also offers the continent considerable opportunities, including ensuring that growth and development is both inclusive and sustainable. And by transitioning to a lower carbon economy, jobs can be created and skills improved, benefiting the continent and its people.
Encouraging the development of infrastructure that is both sustainable and resilient to climate change is a thread that runs through much of the ICA’s activity, across all sectors. For example:
- In the energy sector, the ICA’s work supports Africa’s commitment to achieve 300GW of power from renewable energy by 2030, a target set by Africa’s leaders at the UN Climate Change Conference (COP21);
- The ICA’s 2015 Annual Meeting focussed on implementing renewable energy initiatives in Africa, while a major paper commissioned by the ICA and discussed at the meeting showed that renewable energy could both unlock Africa’s energy potential and drive inclusive, sustainable, economic growth;
- The ICA’s 2016 Annual Meeting theme will be “Building Quality Infrastructure for Africa’s Development”, which will provide further opportunities for a focused discussion on climate-resilient infrastructure;
- The ICA's Water Platform works to scale-up financing for sustainable water infrastructure in Africa from public, private and public-private sources, while the ICA also sponsored African Water Week, where ensuring water security alongside climate resilience was a key theme;
- Through the Project Preparation Facilities Network (PPFN), the ICA advocates for greater financial resources for project preparation to be dedicated to planning for environmental and climate change challenges.
The ICA also financed a study on the “Water-Food-Energy Nexus”, which was commissioned by the International Water Association (IWA) in partnership with Global Water Partnership (GWP) and the International Union for Conservation Nature (IUCN). The objective of the study is to identify an action-oriented outlook for optimising infrastructure to address nexus challenges, trade-offs, possible synergies and project opportunities.
The nexus approach is being promoted to maximise allocation and efficient use of resources in order to ensure that water, food and energy security for our growing population and future generations is guaranteed. This becomes more important at a time of challenges, such as climate change, land use transformation, economic diversification and the need to develop our economies.
The ICA’s Water Platform is supporting the African Ministers’ Council on Water (AMCOW) Water and Climate Development Programme (WACDEP) through a programme (implemented by the Global Water Partnership) that aims to structure, prepare and mobilise funding for climate-resilient water infrastructure in eight countries and five river basins.