African countries must work closer together when implementing national climate action plans under the Paris Climate Change Agreement and mobilising climate finance, whilst better integrating climate action into sustainable development planning. This was the key conclusion of ministers and key delegates who convened for the Africa Carbon Forum which ended on Friday, June 30, 2017 in Cotonou, Benin.
Over 600 practitioners, experts and policy makers, including ministers from governments across Africa and other high level participants, met in Cotonou to take stock and align strategies on how financial resources should be mobilised to ensure sustainable development and emissions reduction on a continent-wide scale.
“Africa is the continent most affected by climate change. Two thirds of Africans make their living off the land, consequently, it is critical that the continent secures a climate-resilient economic and development path. Hosting this Africa Carbon Forum on the topic of collaborative climate actions for sustainable development demonstrates Benin’s own commitment to the national climate action plans and the broader concern of Africa to promote collective actions for the climate,” said Abdoulaye Bio Tchane, Senior Minister in charge of Planning and Development of Benin.
With ambitious commitments already made by countries under the Paris Agreement, and with more commitments expected, African ministers and other leaders stressed the importance of building momentum that will enable the transformational shift towards low carbon and greater resilience to climate change. They also highlighted the need for new partnerships to develop and further spur sustainable development.
Speaking to delegates in Cotonou, the Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), Patricia Espinosa, said: “Africa will see explosive growth through to the middle of the century. Not only that – Africa is one of the most important engines for growth worldwide in the coming years. African people are at the core of this growth. But the growth needs to be shaped on the basis of related climate and sustainable development criteria.
“Africa’s nationally determined contributions to the agreement are blueprints for attracting private sector investment and pushing forward. Implementation of the Paris Agreement is the foundation for stability, for security and prosperity as the population grows to nine billion people or more by 2050. It is food and water and energy for everyone. It is good jobs. It is the foundation for building sustainable, resilient communities powered by clean, renewable energy.”
Moving forward, the Africa Carbon Forum is developing into the regional climate action event supporting, in conjunction with Global Climate Action events, non-government (“non-Party”) stakeholder action in the run-up to the annual UNFCCC Conference of the Parties.
Delegates at this year’s Africa Carbon Forum confirmed that non-Party stakeholders, including private sector and cities, stand ready to enhance ambition on climate action and welcomed the event as a unique regional event, which facilitates knowledge and new partnerships which are key to allowing Africa to realise its potential and meet the ambitions goals set in the Paris agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Delegates discussed crucial themes ranging from climate policy options to the future of the existing and widely use mechanisms that are suitable to the different domestic context and can be scaled up at regional level in Africa. Many discussions centered on how to strengthen cooperation between Parties and non-Party stakeholders in key sectors for Africa – notably energy, agriculture and human settlements – including the role of future carbon markets in boosting climate action for sustainable development.
“The private sector is vital in bringing climate finance to Africa,” says Dirk Forrister, IETA’s CEO and President. “Markets are the most efficient way of driving that investment, which in turn aids African nations to grow in a cleaner, more sustainable way.”
“This meeting shows that many countries in the region are advancing on the domestic policy front and a number are finding new innovative ways of engaging their local private sector in project development and finance,” said Miriam Hinostroza from UNEP DTU.
The Forum was organised under the umbrella of the Nairobi Framework Partnership and partners and cooperating organisations involved in this year’s Africa Carbon Forum include the UNFCCC, World Bank, United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), International Emissions Trading Association (IETA), UNEP DTU Partnership, United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), Africa Development Bank Group, Low Emission Development Strategies Global Partnership (LEDS Partnership) and Climate Markets and Investment Association (CMIA). The event was supported by the West African Development Bank (BOAD).
The Nairobi Framework Partnership was launched in 2006 by then UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan to assist developing countries, especially in sub-Saharan Africa, to improve their level of participation in the Kyoto Protocol’s Clean Development Mechanism.