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Africa crafts message of sustainability for international climate negotiations


Africa crafts message of sustainability for international climate negotiations

Africa crafts message of sustainability for international climate negotiations
Photo credit: IRIN | Gwenn Dubourthoumieu

Action on climate change and sustainable development together is the way forward for Africa. That is the top-line message that regional, public and private sector delegates will carry to international climate negotiations after a week of deliberations in the Kenyan capital.

Some 800 delegates from 59 countries, including ministers and other high-level government and international officials, together with non-state delegates, offered their insights into the challenges and possible responses to climate change, and harvested those insights for consideration in the official international climate negotiation process.

The collecting of views – under the banner of the year-long Talanoa Dialogue launched at negotiations in Bonn, Germany, in November 2017 – was a key part of Africa Climate Week that just concluded in Nairobi.

At the first regional Talanoa event since the launch in Bonn, delegates distilled their deliberations into key messages:

  • Finance – Public finance must be instrumental in unlocking private finance

  • Markets – Carbon markets are about doing more together, and doing more with less

  • Energy – Energy is a high priority, affecting everything. Financial instruments should be put in place to de-risk investment and enhance involvement in smaller and medium-sized enterprises

  • Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – Achieving the SDGs, including the climate one is the only way forward

  • Technology – Businesses are ready to pick up new technology solutions, provided there is a good business case. The voice of the private sector is needed now more than ever.

The top-line message of delegates, that action on climate change is essential for sustainable development, was echoed in remarks by Erik Solheim, Executive Director, UN Environment, at the closing of the first Africa Climate Week, and of the Week’s cornerstone event, the 10th Africa Carbon Forum.

“We are engaged across most of the Sustainable Development Goals and clearly focusing on how to create synergy between the different goals and especially with the climate goal, which is essential for achievement of all the other goals,” said Mr. Solheim.

The UN’s 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda details 17 global goals covering poverty, hunger, health, education, climate change, gender equality, water, sanitation, energy, urbanization, environment and social justice.

“Africa can, should and will be the leader of ambitious climate change action in the world,” said David On’are, a Director at Kenya’s National Environment Management Authority (NEMA), citing a key message coming out of regional ministerial discussions that took place this week in Nairobi. “There is the need to raise ambition, interest, innovation and mobilize the necessary means of implementation to address climate change.”

Countries agreed in Paris in December 2015 to limit global average temperature rise to 2 degrees Celsius and work toward a safer 1.5-degree goal. In coming to their agreement in Paris, countries also recognized that success will require broad-based climate action by all sectors of society, both public and private, and by individuals.

“To achieve our goals, we need more ambition and action. Not just by national governments – they cannot do it on their own – but by all levels of government, business, investors and everyday people working together,” said Patricia Espinosa, Executive Secretary, UN Climate Change, at a high-level session on Thursday. “The good news is that momentum is picking up and we’re beginning to see the transformational shifts we need.”

Africa Climate Week, 9-13 April, was hosted and supported by the Government of Kenya and organized by the Nairobi Framework Partnership, together with NEMA. The Nairobi Framework Partnership (NFP) is celebrating this year its 10th anniversary, as is the Africa Carbon Forum, which was launched by NFP to spur investment in climate action through carbon markets, mechanisms and finance.

The NFP members include: the African Development Bank, Asian Development Bank, International Emissions Trading Association, United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), UNEP DTU Partnership, United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, United Nations Development Programme, UN Climate Change, and World Bank Group.

Cooperating organizations include: Africa Low Emission Development Partnership, Climate Markets and Investment Association, Development Bank of Latin America, Institute for Global Environmental Strategies, Inter-American Development Bank, Latin American Energy Organization and West African Development Bank.

Quotes from the other Nairobi Framework Partnership Partners

Al Hamdou Dorsouma, Manager for Climate and Green Growth Division, AfDB:

“The African Development Bank believes that Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) are an opportunity for African countries to put sustainability at the center of their long-term development. The dialogue at this first Africa Climate Week demonstrated the ambition and determination by both state and non-state actors, as well as development partners, to push for expanding green and resilient investments, which enable Africa to leapfrog to high impact and clean technologies in productive sectors. The African Development Bank fully supports this ambition through its High 5 priorities, that, when fully implemented, will help Africa to achieve about 90% of its Sustainable Development Goals and 90% of its Agenda 2063.”

John Christensen, Director, UNEP DTU Partnership:

“We have had very interesting 3 days in Nairobi. The 10th Africa Carbon Forum shows that countries in the region are moving forward on the implementation of the Paris Agreement in spite of the still limited international climate finance resources. No doubt this will be challenging and countries in the African region will while taking the lead need support from more developed countries and a private sector that takes part of the responsibility while ensuring it happens in effective and wealth generating ways.”

Venkata Ramana Putti, Program Manager, Carbon Markets and Innovation, World Bank:

“Carbon markets and pricing has huge potential to help tackling climate change, and contributing to sustainable development, hence the need to give it attention through a strong collaboration at domestic and regional levels.”

Dirk Forrister, CEO, IETA:

“The strength of Africa’s response to the climate challenge is rooted in how well African business can become a partner in the effort. Many African businesses are interested in how the market incentives of regional cooperation can unleash important new climate business potential in the region.”

“Once again, ACF explored this market growth potential and the innovative policy ideas for accelerating climate action.”

Quotes from partners in the Africa Climate Week

Jukka Uosukainen, Director, Climate Technology and Network Centre (CTCN):

“Since the Paris climate Agreement in France in 2016, African governments have started asking for technological support in tackling climate that adversely affects the continent. By serving as a bridge between developing countries’ technology needs and the proven expertise of finance, private sector and research experts from around the world, the Climate Technology Centre and Network (CTCN) builds partnerships that achieve countries’ climate and development objectives. This forum was a great opportunity to share best practices and lessons learned in Africa.”

Tony Simon, Director General of the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF):

“As a Climate Technology Centre and Network founding consortium partner, ICRAF has contributed to knowledge resources of CTCN. Through new challenges like climate change and CTCN demands and your own wishes and needs we have seen that knowledge services that we offer is what CTCN is all about. The food system is under pressure from climate change. Locally-relevant options that enhance agricultural productivity, climate change adaptation and mitigation need to be adopted. Explore innovative finance instruments. Private equity offers a huge amount of money. Use the money from CTCN and other sources to pull in other funds and use that as an opportunity to blend financing for climate change initiatives.”


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