The United Kingdom has announced funding for three new aid programs in Africa and South Asia as the country bids to host the United Nations climate conference (COP26) in 2020.
Speaking in Abuja, Nigeria May 1, UK Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt described commitment to tackling the causes of climate change and the threat climate change poses to the general stability in countries such as Nigeria and regions such as the Sahel.
At the meeting, the impacts of climate change in the “middle belt” of Nigeria were discussed: climate change has reduced the scale of grazing lands, becoming a driver of the violence between farmers and herders in the region. With the expectation of rising temperatures and frequent extreme events in the next decades, this tension is expected to rise as well.
The Lake Chad region was cited as being especially difficult with desertification and land degradation contributing to extreme poverty and consequent terrorism. This has left almost 10 million people without enough to eat and has forced climate-related migration of an estimated 2.5 million.
Hunt acknowledged the necessity to tackle climate change, naming Nigeria, but also expanding the effort to include the Sahel and other parts of Africa. He talked of preventing the escalation of conflict and instability by getting to the root causes and acknowledged that Africa cannot address these issues alone.
Three major new UK aid programs were announced, totalling nearly $200 Million USD, that will be directed to farmers across Africa and South Asia adapt to the effects of climate change and boost climate resilience in Ethiopia. Hunt also declared his support for a UK bid to host COP26, the United Nations climate change conference, in 2020.
The aid programs will work with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Shell Foundation and the NGO Acumen to mobilize digital solutions to improve business returns and farmers’ productivity and to develop climate-smart technologies. Finally, the UK will support sustainable access to climate resilient clean water, improved sanitation services and good hygiene practices in Ethiopia.