While Africa enjoys unprecedented economic development and strong demographic and urban growth, large parts of the continent are also highly vulnerable and already face the dramatic consequences of climate change. Local governments, civil society and the youth are getting increasingly vocal, asking more commitment at all levels to fight climate change. This makes Africa a key player in the global challenge to meet goals set in the Paris Agreement to cut greenhouse gases (GHG) emissions and to adapt to climate change. Across the region, cities and local authorities are moving forward.
The first-ever conference for exchange and cooperation between national and local authorities in Africa to address climate issues and support decentralisation territorial approach of Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), kicked off on Wednesday, May 15, 2019 in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire.
Ministers, mayors and heads of African municipalities will explore opportunities for cooperation and mutual assistance in a “Structured Dialogue” conference convened by the Climate Task Force of the United Cities and Local Governments of Africa (UCLG Africa) in partnership with the European Commission and the African Development Bank.
The two-day meeting from May 15 to 16, 2019 held at the bank’s headquarters brings together presidents of local government associations and technical and financial partners.
“The African Development Bank is committed to assisting African countries to implement their NDCs through the Africa NDC Hub,” Anthony Nyong, Director for Climate Change and Green Growth of the African Development Bank said. “We are delighted to host this conference that brings together key players at the central and sub-national levels to agree on decentralization territorial approach of the implementation of the NDCs.”
In Africa, the European Commission with the Covenant of Mayors in Sub-Saharan Africa Initiative (CoMSSA) and the Clima-Med project support African Cities in their efforts to plan and implement sustainable energy and climate action plans and regional activities in line with the framework of the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy.
The UCLG Africa Climate Task Force brings together key partners, including some involved in the Global Covenant of Mayors, and with technical support from ICLEI Africa, who are joining forces with the African Development Bank to step up their climate support for cities in Africa. The first Structured Dialogue will explore concrete opportunities to enhance multi-level governance, with a specific focus on inclusive and participatory development for African countries, cities and regions to manage the risks of a changing climate while unlocking new investment opportunities.
Recognizing that Climate Change is a major threat to Africa’s efforts to meet all the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the importance of aligning the NDCs with the broader national development agenda, the European Commission is increasing its efforts to support partner countries in mainstreaming climate change considerations and NDCs into all their policies and plans. Through the EU-funded Covenant of Mayors in Sub-Saharan Africa (CoM SSA) cities and municipalities receive technical support to develop Sustainable Energy Access and Climate Action Plan (SEACAPs) as well as direct financial support to implement actions at local level. With additional EUR 25 million the third phase of the CoMSSA aims to scale-up the initiative’s impact by expanding and sustaining the network and reaching a greater number of beneficiaries, bridging the gap to finance investments and fostering coordination. SEACAPs will be an instrumental tool to the decentralization of Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs).
At this occasion, the Mayor of Accra, Mohammed Adjei Sowah, a signatory of the CoMSSA, has been appointed to represent cities participating in the regional covenant for Sub-Saharan Africa on the GCoM Board. This is a recognition of the involvement of African cities in the global fight against climate change and in promoting collaboration on research, innovation and investment between local governments, national governments, academia and private sector through the Global Covenant of Mayors and regionally through the Covenant of Mayors in Sub-Saharan Africa.
“It is a real honour to join the Board of the Global Covenant of Mayors and to sit with peers from across the world. The direct link that we, mayors, have with our citizens and the impact cities can have on people’s daily life make it one of the most relevant levels of action to fight climate change,” said Sowah.
“What makes the difference is the vision that we carry as Mayors, but also the support and collaboration that cities and municipalities can contribute to discussions like the Structured Dialogue with the AfDB. It is at the heart of climate action and we should endeavour to amplify it in Abidjan and beyond, to the whole Sub-Saharan Africa region,” he added.