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Africa Climate Week 2021 builds regional momentum ahead of COP26

The Africa Climate Week 2021 (ACW 2021) Virtual Thematic Sessions are underway with calls to action from leading voices from across the region. ACW 2021 is being held through September 29 and is hosted by the Government of Uganda, with support from UN and other multilateral agencies.

Sam Cheptoris
Mr. Sam Cheptoris, Minister of Water and Environment of Uganda

A wide array of regional stakeholders gathering for the virtual meeting are showcasing climate action and sharing progress ahead of COP26 on the submission of stronger national climate plans – Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) – under the Paris Agreement.

NDCs include plans to build resilience to the inevitable impacts of climate change, including ever more severe frequent floods, storms, fires and droughts. They are complemented by National Adaptation Plans (NAPs), which are of particular relevance for Africa.

Mr. Sam Cheptoris, Minister of Water and Environment of Uganda, said, “We have seen recently that the world is not on course to limit warming to as close to 1.5 degrees C as possible as laid out in the Paris Agreement. This increases risk of severe impacts at a moment in which we are looking to grow quickly. For Africa, this is a generational crisis and one we will have to adapt to. In the face of the climate crisis, Africa must come together and chart a course to low-emission growth that is good for all Africans and the world.”

UN Climate Change Executive Secretary Patricia Espinosa praised the ACW 2021 host country of Uganda for their leadership on climate change. In addition to hosting ACW 2021, Uganda is the first African country to develop a National NDC Partnership Plan to implement their NDC through collaboration with more than 15 partners.

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“Africa Climate Week builds momentum for a successful COP26. It brings governments, business leaders and civil society together to engage in solution-oriented dialogue and showcase climate action. It’s also an opportunity to foster collaboration on pressing challenges and build resilience against growing climate risks in the region. Ambition must be the word guiding everything we do. We are in a race against time,” she said.

Hafez Ghanem, Vice President for Eastern and Southern Africa at the World Bank Group, said, “The World Bank Group’s new Climate Change Action Plan, which complements the Africa Climate Business Plan, commits that over the next 5 years, 35 percent of World Bank Group financing will directly contribute to climate action. These plans support national action and economy-wide approaches to align planning and policy with action to achieve a sustainable, low-carbon and resilient future.”

Ahunna Eziakonwa, Assistant Administrator and Regional Director for Africa of UNDP, said, “In recent months, Africa has witnessed devastating floods, an invasion of desert locusts and now faces the looming spectre of drought because of a La Niña event. Human activity is now the dominant activity shaping the planet… Africa Climate Week is about solutions. I know that we can dig deeper and emerge on the other side with rich and context relevant pathways for Africa. The road to Glasgow must offer solutions for Africa. So let us work together for a successful outcome, for people and planet.”

Mark Radka, Chief of the Energy and Climate Branch at UNEP, said, “Getting the recovery right is an opportunity to grow faster, better and greener, and bring us closer to a greener and more inclusive future for all Africa. So much more can be gained by working together, and the Africa Climate Week is an excellent opportunity to share experiences, learn from one another, and get motivated to bring about lasting change. Africa Climate Week is an excellent opportunity to share experiences, learn from one another, and get motivated to bring about lasting change.”

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ACW 2021 also aims to provide information on the UN’sRace to Zero and Race to Resilience campaigns, while ensuring that regional voices are heard in the multilateral climate process.

There are three key areas in focus at ACW 2021:

  • Integrating ambitious action in key economic sectors into national planning
  • Adapting to climate risks and building resilience
  • Seizing transformational opportunities to put the region on a low-emission and highly resilient development pathway.

Harsen Nyambe Nyambe, Head of Environment, Climate Change, Water and Land Management at the African Union, said, “Africa is suffering crippling effects of climate crisis. The lack of progress in the last COP25 on key articles that reinforce equity such as finance, loss and damage, gender and markets, is a major concern. We believe that this Africa Climate Week will explore most of the possible actions and make key recommendations particularly on loss and damage and finance as most of the impacts of climate crisis in Africa are beyond adaptation capacity of individual countries.”

Al Hamdou Dorsouma, Acting Director of the Climate Change and Green Growth Department at the African Development Bank, said, “The African Development Bank stands ready to deploy its resources to save people and planet and generate wealth for our continent. The Africa Climate Week presents us an opportunity to dialogue with partners to generate pipeline of transformative projects and programmes that will deliver Africa’s post COVID-19 recovery in line with Africa’s Agenda 2063, the SDGs and Paris Agreement goals.”

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Dr Vera Songwe, UN Under-Secretary-General and Executive Secretary of the UN Economic Commission for Africa, said, “No issue is more fundamental for African countries than climate resilience. How we address it will define sustainable development. We need the 100 billion for the most vulnerable, and we need to unlock billions more through financial innovations and de-risking private finance to kick start an African Green Recovery. We need ambition which not only allows low carbon development, but which shifts the paradigm for value addition in Africa by embracing a green African Continental Free Trade Area. And we need a global carbon price aligned to the Paris Agreement to further generate resources for African citizens who safeguard some of the world’s most important carbon sinks.”

The ACW 2021 Virtual Thematic Sessions are part of a series of three Regional Climate Weeks leading up to the COP26 UN Climate Change Conference in November. They include virtual meetings for the Asia-Pacific region, Latin America and the Caribbean (LACCW 2021) and Africa (ACW 2021). Middle East North Africa Climate Week 2022 (MENA 2022) will follow COP26.

Reporting to Ministers and the COP Presidency will ensure that outcomes from all Virtual Thematic Sessions are captured and framed within the larger context of COP26. More than 2,500 participants have registered for the Virtual Thematic Sessions of ACW 2021.

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