When the final figures are tallied over the coming months, we expect to find that very close to 100% of the AAP budget will have been spent by the 20 countries participating in this programme. This is an extraordinary achievement when you consider the large amount of money made available to each country was used to make progress in very specific, highly technical, ground-breaking areas where capacities to drive transformational change agendas varied, at times considerably, within and across all countries. The challenge to all of us at the regional and national levels was to turn around those capacity deficits, enabling governments to devise adaptation strategies that respond to their development vulnerabilities and set trajectories along more climate-resilient and therefore sustainable paths.
Behind the financial numbers is evidence of some very compelling progress. In countries such as Gabon, Lesotho, Ethiopia and Nigeria we have seen national adaptation strategies and plans approved. In Burkina Faso, Morocco and Mozambique millions of dollars in climate related development funding has been accessed. And in Congo, Nigeria and numerous other countries climate data and information is being generated and shared for use in long-term planning.
There are many other examples, yet like that expenditure figure, the multitude of in-country success stories still does not tell the whole story of the AAP. Our official and anecdotal successes belie the sweeping investment that the Government of Japan's funding has made in the future of this continent. More powerful evidence of this movement is found in the multitudes of well-placed people with whom we have had the pleasure and privilege of working—many of whom can be seen in the poster in this issue—and the many thousands more to whom they have in turn reached out and engaged in various ways. These include the hundreds of government officials who took part in our trainings and are now instituting specific actions relating to climate resilient development; the 10,000 people trained in climate analysis and planning; the leaders everywhere who are reviewing the outcomes of successful pilot projects; and the 500-plus journalists now inspired and informed about reporting on climate and development.
It is these people, along with the countless more who will be touched by the processes we have collectively put in motion over the past three–and-a-half years of this programme, who constitute its true legacy and success. And it is they who will do much of the future heavy lifting in the development work that should aim to protect and sustain the lives and livelihoods of their people in the face of climate change and other threats.
By engaging these people the AAP has enlisted and empowered a diffuse army of individuals who can collectively shift the direction of their countries, and indeed this continent, from risk to resilience.
Of course there have been challenges along the way; this is inherent in development and in building capacity where the capacities are often under pressure from many sources or absent. And of course there is much more that needs to be done. But many bold advances are now possible in countries across the continent thanks to the strategic platform the AAP has established. We look forward to next month’s ‘Celebrating our Successes’ regional conference in Dakar where we will hear more from and about the people who are making the AAP a success.
In December 2012 the AAP train will pull into the station for the final stop; however, there will be other forms of transport to enable you to continue the journey. Your challenge is to remember where you have been and what you have learned, as these are the critical navigational points that will help scope and plan your journey forward.