No fewer than 2,000 representatives of African cities, local and regional governments and non-state actors gathered in Accra, Ghana from October 16 to 18, 2018 for the 2nd African Climate Chance Summit, featuring the Conference of the Covenant of Mayors in Sub-Saharan Africa (CoM SSA).
On Wednesday, October 16, CoM SSA was opened by the Ghanaian Minister for Local Government and Rural Development (MLGRD), Hajia Alima Mahama, under the theme: “Towards the Institutionalisation of Local Climate Action and Access to Finance.”
The CoM SSA initiative, it was gathered, employs a bottom-up approach, pioneered by funders European Union, that mobilises local actors for sustainable energy access to elaborate and implement climate action plans.
As such, the objective of the conference was to inspire and enable policy makers, donors, local governments and key actors involved in the implementation of CoM SSA to accelerate the pace and scale of transformational change and the mobilisation of cities. Officials see working with national associations and civil society organisations (CSOs) as critical for the acceleration of action on the ground.
Jean-Pierre Elong-Mbassi, Secretary General of the United Cities and Local Governments of Africa, chaired the first day’s opening and highlighted four key messages from the conference. They are listed to include:
- Correct the imbalance in financing climate adaptation to enable Africa to achieve it ambitious climate action plans, with Africa demanding more adaptation finance;
- Ghana to position itself as Africa’s Climate Hub and champion the localisation of Nationally Determined Contributions. The Mayor of Accra, who is also a Global Covenant’s Executive Board member and UCLG Africa’s Climate Task Force champion, is said to be well positioned to take these messages to the international stage;
- The Climate Chance Summit Africa to become the preparation conference for COPs representing cities, local governments and non-state actors in Africa to formulate and deliver their messages, declarations and recommendations at an international level where these ambitious climate plans are now called “The Accra Climate Dialogue”; and
- The most critical of messages from the conference is to ensure climate finance is accessible at the local level.
President of Ghana, Nana Addu Dankwa Akufo-Addo, officially opened the Summit on October 17, in the presence of former President, John Kuffour.
President Nana Akufo-Addo highlighted: “We, in Africa, suffer the most because our weak economies are most susceptible to the effects of climate change and our capacity to withstand its damage is low.
“Africa is the region of the world with the lowest access to energy and the least equipped to face extreme climate events brought about by climate change.”
He singled out the work of CoM SSA over the last four years as testimony to the benefits the initiative has had on cities and municipalities.
During the closing ceremony on October 18, the challenge of access to finance was further reiterated by Mahama, who called for the establishment of a dedicated financing window for local authorities to implement their climate change priority action plans.
“The imbalance between mitigation actions represents an effort of over 600 billion dollars put by the international community compared to 200 billion for adaptation that must be addressed,” she noted.
The Declaration, read by Mr. Bismark Baisie Nkum, President of NALAG, also highlighted access to finance as a key recommendation.
The CoM SSA initiative, officials disclosed, would continue to support cities and local governments through vertical integration and political advocacy; technical assistance and capacity building for cities and supporting organisations such as national associations of local governments, civil society organisations (CSOs); and the promotion, communication, dissemination, awareness raising and visibility of the initiative.