Integrate climate change in planning and design of power and water infrastructure projects, says ECA expert

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Addis Ababa, 11 May 2017 (ECA) – The 6th World Hydropower Congress (WHC), a multi-stakeholder forum bringing together leaders and specialists with hydropower-related responsibilities from government, industry, finance, United Nations agencies, academia and civil society, continued in Addis Ababa Thursday with Senior Expert in the ECA’s African Climate Policy Centre, Linus Mofor, delivering a paper on climate resilience.

Mr. Mofor, whose paper was titled; “Harnessing the resilience dividend for long-lived infrastructure investments in Africa” with a special focus on the Africa Climate Resilient Investment Facility (AFRI-RES), said there was need for the world to develop methodologies that will incorporate practical assessment and mitigation strategies around the identified risks of climate change without impeding projects.

He said failure to integrate climate change in the planning and design of power and water infrastructure could entail losses of hydropower revenues of between 5 and 60 percent in the driest climate scenarios.

He said increases of up to 3 times the corresponding baseline values in consumer expenditure on energy could also be experienced as a result of failing to integrate climate change in the planning and design of power and water infrastructure, adding in the wettest climate scenarios business-as-usual infrastructure development could lead to foregone revenues in the range of 15 to 130 percent of the baseline value.

“We need to make good investment decisions today so that infrastructure can deliver both in today’s and tomorrow’s climate,” Mr. Mofor said.

He said many countries are seeking a better understanding of climate change impacts - both positive and negative - and are beginning to build strategies and approaches to incorporate climate resilience into their plans, adding AFRI-RES seeks to do just that by supporting climate proofing of Africa’s long-lived infrastructure investments.

AFRI-RES, an Africa-based facility, is aimed at strengthening the capacity of governments and institutions including river basin authorities, Regional Economic Communities and power pools as well as the private sector to plan, design, and implement infrastructure investments that are resilient to climate variability and change.

Partners in the facility aim to come up with climate resilience guidelines to ensure that both existing and future hydropower projects are resilient to climate change, among other things.

The session was an opportunity for participants to hear about good practices from key global players and proposed guidelines or tools for building climate resilience into both planned and existing hydropower projects were introduced. Representatives from various developing countries gave their perspectives on how climate resilience will play a central role in hydropower development in their respective areas.

Mr. Mofor also spoke about Africa’s new development outlook in particular the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development whose motto is ‘leave no-one behind’ and the African Union’s Agenda 2063 which focuses on the ‘Africa We Want – a peaceful, prosperous and integrated Africa’.

“Agenda 2063 emphasises world-class integrative infrastructure that criss-crosses the continent as a key requirement for attaining the new African renaissance,” he said, adding better hydro is an integral part of this outlook requiring billions of dollars in investment in an uncertain and changing future climate.

The 2017 World Hydropower Congress was organised by the International Hydropower Association in collaboration with the Economic Commission for Africa, the African Development Bank, the African Union Commission, the Global Energy Interconnection Development and Cooperation Organisation and the World Bank Group.


Issued by:
Communications Section
Economic Commission for Africa
PO Box 3001
Addis Ababa
Tel: +251 11 551 5826