Digital Tech can Assist African Small Island Growing States Deal with Local weather Change

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Investing in digital technologies can help African small island developing states, vulnerable to extreme weather events, cope with growing impacts of climate change, says the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa

Zaman-Allah Mainassara Abdou, a maize scientist with CIMMYT demonstrating an UAV utilized in knowledge assortment on the CIMMYT Chiredzi analysis station, Zimbabwe. Credit score, Busani Bafana/IPS

BULAWAYO, Zimbabwe, Aug 27 2021 (IPS) – Investing in digital applied sciences may also help African small island creating states (SIDS), weak to excessive climate occasions, deal with rising impacts of local weather change, says the United Nations (UN) Financial Fee for Africa (ECA).

Cape Verde, Comoros, Guinea-Bissau, Mauritius, Sao Tome and Principe and the Seychelles are the African members of the SIDS, a grouping of 38 international locations situated within the Caribbean, the Pacific, the Atlantic, Indian Ocean and South China Sea.

The elevated threat of pure disasters, coupled with sea degree rise, which accompanies local weather change makes African SIDS notably weak as a result of their economies are anchored on tourism and fisheries, in line with Jean-Paul Adam, Director of Know-how, Local weather Change and Pure Useful resource Administration on the ECA.

Whereas African international locations threat dropping as much as 15% of their GDP to local weather change by 2030, a serious local weather catastrophe may fully wipe out the economies of African SIDS
Jean-Paul Adam, ECA

In an interview, Adam added that alternatives for financial diversification are restricted for African SIDS attributable to their distance from markets and lack of economies of scale. Apart from, entry to improvement finance within the type of grants and loans from establishments just like the World Financial institution and bilateral donors is difficult. This kind of finance is decided by the GDP per capita — the quantity of revenue generated by a median individual in a given space in a particular 12 months.

Owing to their small populations, Adam famous, SIDS are deprived from accessing this funding as a result of they’re extra more likely to have a better GDP per capita. One excessive web price particular person in such a small inhabitants can skew the general outcome rather more than in a big one.

Whereas African international locations threat dropping as much as 15 p.c of their GDP to local weather change by 2030, in line with an evaluation by the ECA’s African Local weather Coverage Centre, a serious local weather catastrophe may fully wipe out the economies of African SIDS, Adam stated. “In the identical means that within the face of Covid-19 nobody is protected till all are protected, the identical applies to the local weather disaster. As such, SIDS illustrate the intense vulnerability of all African international locations to local weather change.”

The UN, which recognised SIDS as a particular case for atmosphere and improvement on the 1992 UN Convention on Atmosphere and Growth, describes these international locations as going through distinctive social, financial and environmental vulnerabilities. With a complete inhabitants of simply over 4 million, African SIDS are situated in distant, low mendacity areas which can be weak to sea degree rise and cyclones.

Local weather change impacts and unmanageable excessive inhabitants development signifies that African SIDS might not meet a number of Sustainable Growth Targets (SDGs) by 2030, in line with the UN’s report on World Inhabitants Prospects 2019.

Whereas local weather change impacts the event of all nations no matter location or financial system dimension, SIDS – which contribute just one p.c of world greenhouse gasoline emissions — are essentially the most weak to its devastating impacts, the UN Growth Programme warned.

“Digital methods are a part of the means by which SDGs implementation could be accelerated,” stated Adam.

“Digital methods can facilitate efficiencies by way of investing in resilience in addition to efficiencies by way of financial returns,” added Adam. He famous that synthetic intelligence (AI) utilized in digital applied sciences for evaluation of local weather change knowledge may also help African SIDS higher perceive the affect of local weather on key industries like fisheries, and to measure environmental impacts.

The ECA is supporting African international locations, together with SIDS, to enhance their local weather data providers by tapping into potential digital applied sciences like remote-sensing AI to measure environmental impacts. This might be completed by means of remotely deployed cameras and drones, in line with Adam.

“Digitisation methods can even enhance the monitoring of environmental dangers by means of the usage of distant sensing gear, and these methods may also be deployed to enhance funding in key sectors akin to tourism, permitting less expensive and focused advertising, for instance,” he added.

Adam stated the ECA is supporting the institution of a regional centre on AI in Brazzaville, Congo, to discover alternatives for the usage of the expertise to deal with environmental impacts.


Investing in digital technologies can help African small island developing states, vulnerable to extreme weather events, cope with growing impacts of climate change, says the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa

Tourism is a key financial sector for Seychelles, a small island creating state weak to local weather change. Credit score, Busani Bafana/IPS


Digital applied sciences are already getting used extensively by international locations like Seychelles and Mauritius to focus on their essential tourism markets extra successfully, he added.

African international locations have a singular alternative to make use of digital applied sciences to drive massive scale transformation and competitiveness, in line with the US coverage analysis assume tank, Brookings Establishment. Brookings stated that AI, which is projected so as to add 15.7 trillion {dollars} to international GDP by 2030, presents avenues for the private and non-private sectors to optimise options to essentially the most essential issues going through Africa at the moment.

Past digital applied sciences, Adam stated that by adapting financial methods that prioritise local weather resilience, African SIDS could be higher positioned to answer local weather change, and in addition create extra jobs and worth addition.

“Specializing in the blue financial system method, for instance, can construct long run financial multipliers by way of improved yields from fisheries assets, and in addition construct extra inclusive worth chains that carry extra advantages to native populations,” he stated.

A blue financial system method makes use of the ideas of a inexperienced financial system, the sustainable use of assets based mostly on the flexibility to regenerate them, in an atmosphere the place the primary assets are aquatic. For instance, fisheries are managed based mostly on the standing of fish shares, and measures are taken to guard areas essential for fish replica akin to mangroves and coral reefs.

African SIDS have entry to very restricted land area however massive ocean space, and the right administration of this area can yield quite a few advantages,” Adam noticed, together with as sources of financing.

“Seychelles efficiently raised a 30-million-dollar blue bond from the worldwide market on the idea of sustainable administration of its fisheries sector,” stated Adam, including “the sustainable administration of oceanic areas can even result in alternatives for potential carbon pricing transactions though that is one thing on the early phases of exploration.”

Different potential monetary improvements to mobilise funding, he added, embody SDG-linked inexperienced or blue bonds and proposals for debt swaps — refinancing debt on higher phrases and investing the financial savings in local weather resilience.



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