NAIROBI, Kenya (PAMACC News) - The African Group of Negotiators on Climate Change (AGN) has welcomed efforts by the African group of Negotiators Expert Support (AGNES) to address Africa’s climate science knowledge gaps in relation to the continent’s contribution to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

AGN Chair, Ephraim Mwepya Shitima says Africa’s technical negotiators have been yearning for scientific-based evidence to be informed from an African perspective.

“The IPCC is the designated scientific voice on climate science; it is therefore critical for our continent, which contributes very little and yet suffers the most, to be well represented in this body of science,” he says. “As AGN, we support every effort that African institutions such as AGNES, are making to improve the continent’s participation in the climate science discourse. This is particularly important for technical negotiators who have been yearning for scientific-based evidence to be informed from an African perspective.”  

In an effort to close the identified science knowledge gap, AGNES, in collaboration with the Kenya Meteorological Department, Kenya’s Ministry of Environment and Forestry (MEF), the African Union Development Agency (AUDA-NEPAD) and other scientists/experts from Africa are convening in Nairobi to discuss important climate science knowledge gaps that are unique to the continent.

The meeting is seen as an opportunity for African scientists and experts to identify priority areas critical for the continent, and suggest inclusion during the Seventh Assessment Report (AR7) outline scoping plenary. The main aim is to stimulate and catalyse research activities geared towards addressing the identified knowledge gaps and provide an opportunity for greater involvement of African scholars/scientists.

Officially opening the meeting in Nairobi on Tuesday (18/04/2023), Principal Secretary at the Kenyan State Department of Environment and Climate Change, Eng. Festus Ng’eno emphasised the importance of ensuring that Africa’s voices are loud enough in the climate science discourse considering the continent’s vulnerability to negative impacts of climate change.

“The products in the 6th assessment cycle show an improvement in the representation of African issues, however there is still a major room for improvement,” he said. “It is alarming that only 11% of authors of the assessment report are from Africa despite Africa being one of the world’s most vulnerable continents to the impacts of climate change. It is crucial to ensure that African voices are well-represented when finding solutions, crucial too is the inclusion of the role of indigenous and local knowledge systems as well as adequate gender representation.”

While climate change is a global problem, Africa suffers its consequences disproportionately due to its limited capacity to cope. To make the matters worse, the continent contributes less than 4% to global warming emissions.

It is for this reason that there is a clarion call for Africa to be well supported in terms of adaptation finance as well as ensuring the continent’s voices are loud enough in the climate science discourse and on the negotiation table.

Experts across Africa have identified three main barriers to the continent’s scientists and scholars’ active participation and representation in the IPCC.

Firstly, there is limited publication by African scholars/scientists on African climate-related issues. High publishing costs, it is acknowledged, continue to keep African scientists/ scholars out of top science journals.

Secondly, there is a noted disjoint or weak link between the IPCC National Focal Points and the universities and/or research organizations.

Thirdly, serving as a contributing author is not compensated financially, and this is said to be a deterrent to the participation of scientists from countries that continue to work with limited resources.

Some of the solutions that the meeting aims to bring on board include having a common African position on the gaps identified, creation of an awareness and outreach programme to enhance National Focal Points’ link with policymakers, universities/ research institutions and putting in place a support system for African scientists to publish in peer-reviewed journals.

AGNES Team Lead and convener of the meeting, Dr. George Wamukoya noted the urgent need to fill the identified science knowledge gaps to improve representation of African issues in the IPCC assessments.

“Undoubtedly, there is an urgent need to fill the existing gaps in knowledge as well as anticipate the direction of science and research in the field of climate change and reflect this in published papers,” he notes. “This will improve the representation of African issues in the IPCC assessments. The question is, how does Africa plan to contribute towards addressing these knowledge gaps? It is my hope that this convening will get the most strategic solutions to ensure that representation is timely, accurate and inclusive.” 

Meanwhile, African Climate Research Fellow, Professor Chukwuemeka Diji is elated that such a meeting was taking place at a time when the IPCC Sixth Assessment report clearly indicates how Africa’s ability to adapt was being pushed to its limits.

“This meeting has become very important and expedient because the AR6 report shows that Africa’s ability to adapt is being pushed to its limits, calling for urgent action to create awareness and knowledge to urgently reverse the situation and reverse the dangerous direction. This week’s convening will set the groundwork to highlight the exposure and vulnerability of Africa to climate change and its multi–dimensional, socio–economic and political dimensions. Additionally, we also need to identify, scale – up and evaluate the current and future benefits of Adaptation to Africa while also including the voices of African scientists/ scholars.”

Livingstone, Zambia, 12th April, 2023- The African Group of Negotiators on Climate Change (AGN) has re-affirmed its commitment to ensuring that Climate Change adaptation remains a top agenda item for the continent.

Speaking at the first AGN Preparatory Meeting in Livingstone, which was held alongside the Young Climate Change Negotiators Training, Zambia’s Ministry of Green Economy and Environment Permanent Secretary, Eng. John Msimuko said adapting to the impacts of climate change remains one of the key challenges that Africa is facing.

“Adaptation remains a key priority as people, infrastructure and ecosystems on the continent continue to experience climate shocks and economic distress. The latest science by the Intergovernemntal Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has reported that Africa will need up to 86.5 billion USD for adaptation alone by 2030. Yet Africa only contributes approximately 4% to the global Green House gas emissions. Therefore, let us continue pursuing Africa’s special needs and special circumstances even at this year’s COP28. There is need for a transformative agenda on adaptation at COP28," he said.

COP28 will be held in the United Arab Emirates from 30th November to 12th December, 2023. An anecdotal example highlighting the importance of adaptation to Africa was provided by host city Mayor, Constance Muleabai, who fingered climate change as the reason for reduced tourist numbers to the Victoria Falls, one of the seven Wonders of the World. “Climate Change has continued to adversely affect our tourism sector which the people of the city of Livingstone heavily rely on,” she said.

 “Due to increasing temperatures, we have been experiencing low water levels in the Zambezi River, leaving the falls almost dry. The immediate resultant effect is reduced numbers of Tourists visiting the site. This means reduced incomes for the local communities.”

With a busy schedule awaiting negotiators, the meeting provided an opportunity to discuss the outcomes and achievements of COP27 and strategise on the Group’s work plan and their expectations for the forthcoming sessions; SB58 in June and COP28 later in December.

Ahead of the final stage of the Global Stocktake (GST) later this year, the subject was one of the key highlights among several important agenda items discussed. The discussions centred on the need for the Global Stocktake to take a balanced approach by removing, inherent bias for mitigation at the expense of adaptation.

“As AGN, we would like to see an outcome that is comprehensive and balanced to facilitate progress across all the thematic areas, and respect the priority issues of all Parties and stakeholders,” said AGN Chair, Ephraim Mwepya Shitima.

 “The inherent bias in favour of mitigation ought to be rectified while the needs of adaptation and recognition of adaptation actions as part of the contribution of Parties towards the global effort should be accorded sufficient attention,” he added.

The global stocktake, as enshrined in Article 14 of the Paris Agreement, is a process for taking stock of the implementation of the Paris Agreement with the aim to assess the world’s collective progress towards achieving the purpose of the agreement and its long-term goals.

The first stocktake got underway at the UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow in November, 2021 and is expected to conclude at COP28. Each stocktake is a two-year process that happens every five years.

The AGN Strategy meeting further considered the Chair’s report from his engagements with stakeholders including at the 36th Ordinary Session of the African Union Heads of State and Government Summit at which he briefed the Committee of African Heads of State on Climate Change (CAHOSCC) on COP27 key outcomes and their implications on the continent.

Some of the key issues and priorities for Africa discussed included; modalities on the operationalisation of the Loss and Damage Fund; doubling of adaptation finance and the general need for reforms of the climate finance architecture; Just transitions work programme taking into account national circumstances (Africa’s special needs and circumstances); a call for ambitious mitigation in the context of the recently released IPCC Synthesis report; Koronivia Joint work on Agriculture and food security; and implementation of the Gender Action Plan.

Gender and Climate Change According to the UBFCCC, climate change has a greater impact on those sections of the population, that are most reliant on natural resources for their livelihoods and/or who have the least capacity to respond to natural hazards, such as droughts, landslides, floods and hurricanes. Women commonly face higher risks and greater burdens from the impacts of climate change in situations of poverty, and the majority of the world’s poor are women.

Women’s unequal participation in decision-making processes compound inequalities and often prevent women from fully contributing to climate-related planning, policy-making and implementation.

Yet, women can (and do) play a critical role in response to climate change due to their local knowledge of, and leadership in sustainable resource management and/or leading sustainable practices at the household and community level.

It is for this reason that Parties to the UNFCCC have recognized the importance of involving women and men equally in UNFCCC processes by establishing a dedicated agenda item under the Convention addressing issues of gender and climate change and by including overarching text in the Paris Agreement.  In acknowledging the importance of gender equality, the AGN has been undertaking deliberate steps on gender responsiveness.

At COP27, the AGN released key findings of a Gender Responsive Climate Action study, which was undertaken through support from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). Building on that report and recognising the need to increase number of female negotiators, the AGN organized a training of young negotiators, which was attended by over 46 young negotiators from across Africa from 28-29 March, 2023 in Livingstone, Zambia.

UNDP strongly believes that having more women negotiators will strengthen the AGN and make it more impactful as a negotiating organ,” said Excellent Hachileka, UNDP Regional Climate Expert for Africa.

“Building the capacity of the new young negotiators is extremely important as we move towards 2030 and as countries enhance their climate actions through the revised and more ambitious NDCs and the associated enhanced transparency reporting commitments.”

For the AGN Chair, supporting gender responsive climate action is a key strategy aimed at addressing identified inequalities. “We support gender responsive climate action in all thematic areas. It is an open secret that women do not only suffer the most from climate vagaries but are also very committed when you get them involved in the climate discourse processes,” said AGN Chair, Ephraim Mwepya Shitima.

 

“It is against this background that as a negotiating block, we welcome initiatives aimed at empowering women and girls to be actively involved at both the negotiating table and implementation of activities in their communities.”

 

NAIROBI, Kenya (PAMACC News) - Members of the governing council of the African Forest Forum, AFF have expressed the need for ambitious transformational actions by all actors in forestry in Africa, including regional and sub-regional organizations , other stakeholders, to achieve the institutions goals and targets of raising the profile of African Forestry.

 Accordingly, one of the core functions of the AFF is to strengthen high level political engagement, with the participation of major groups and other stakeholders in support of sustainable forest management.

“ African Forest Forum commits to sustainable management, wise use and conservation of Africa’s forest and tree resources for the socio-economic well-being of its peoples and for the stability and improvement of its environment,” reads the organizations release at the 18th session of the governing council meeting in Nairobi Kenya 30-31 March, 2023.

In this regard, the governing council  and the technical support team in their working document outlined work plan blue print with proposals  that will improve forest management, reversing the loss of forest cover, enhancing forest-based economic, social, and environmental benefits and  mobilizing financial resources and strengthening scientific and technical cooperation; promoting governance frameworks to advance implementation of both local and regional projects.

According to Mcarthy Oyebo President of AFF governing council, the organization should forge ahead with its mission of information sharing and expertise,” create an enabling environment for independent and objective analysis, advocacy and advice on relevant policy and technical issues pertaining to achieving sustainable management, use and conservation of Africa’s forest and tree resources as part of efforts to reduce poverty, promote economic and social development and protect the environment”

Opening the session, the chair announced the inclusion of new members into the council from the media, research and academia.

AFF he said was the real power house in forestry thinking in Africa, calling on the body map out innovative ways to make to make forest part of the continent’s economy.

“The potential of forestry to pull investors and drive the economy of the continent is huge. The myriad of opportunities in the forestry sector should be fully exploited. Investors want to see return of their investments, so AFF should look beyond conservation and think business” Mcarthy said.

According to AFF executive secretary, the organization has since creation been spearheading a series of pan-African initiatives on how forest and trees can be better conserved to supports livelihoods, improve national  and individual incomes and the environment, adding that Africa Forest Forum main focus has always been centering on people and the environment they live in.

“The forests and trees outside the forests are resources that must be managed sustainably and used judiciously. This is the only way we can address the needs of the people and improve the environment,” Prof. Godwin Kowero said at the opening of the session.

Among other things, AFF has been looking at how African countries are integrating climate change adaptation and mitigation options in the forestry sector and how this process is progressing. It has also looked at how national forest governance is responding to the Paris Agreement and related global climate change policies and initiative, the capacity for implementing REDD+ activities sub-Sahara African countries , exploring the use of dryland resources and commodities to promote nature-based entrepreneurship opportunities that could enhance livelihoods, national incomes, and employment; specifically focusing on natural gums and resins, among others, Professor Kowero explained.

 The African Forest Forum (AFF) is a Pan-African non-governmental organization with its headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya. It is an association of individuals who share the quest for and commitment to the sustainable management, use, and conservation of the forest and tree resources of Africa for the socio-economic wellbeing of its people and for the stability and improvement of its environment.

DAR-ES-SALAAM, (PAMACC News)The Government of Tanzania intends to develop a Marine Spatial Plan to guide all economic activities within the Indian Ocean in order to reap greater benefits from a more sustainable blue economy.

The Marine Spatial Plan will encompass all activities in the ocean, including fishing (small scale and deep sea), aquaculture and marine products, seaweed farming, construction of strategic infrastructure for ports and sea transport, seafood and fish processing, oil and gas extraction, and beach tourism and water sports.

According to the Permanent Secretary, Vice President’s Office, Ms. Mary Maganga, the plan will deliver more benefits from the ocean to communities and the nation through sustainable practices while strengthening the blue economy.

To set the foundation for the plan, a pre-feasibility study has been concluded. Commissioned by The Nature Conservancy and the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, the study reviewed the current status of marine spatial planning in the country and the state of policy, legal and administrative frameworks. It proposes a roadmap for developing the plan.

Speaking at a workshop in Dar-es-Salaam to validate the pre-feasibility study, Ms. Maganga said: “The marine spatial planning is part of the solution to bring about the sustainable use of our ocean resources and open economic and employment opportunities based on proper management of the environment and dealing with climate change”.

The two-day workshop brought together ocean users, government officials, development partners, as well as local and international NGOs.

The Nature Conservancy’s Tanzania Country Director, Ms. Lucy Magembe told the workshop that 25 marine spatial plans have been implemented worldwide and have proven to be a practical approach for engaging communities, stakeholders, and governments to expand marine protection, meet conservation goals, and improve sustainability of both economic and non-commercial activities.

"We are working closely with the Government of Tanzania and other partners to manage human activities in the ocean to ensure they are sustainable. The Marine Spatial Plan will ensure that communities around the ocean benefit from it, while protecting the environment," added Ms. Magembe. 

The pre-feasibility study was funded by the German Government’s Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, and Nuclear Safety through the International Climate Initiative, as part of a five-year (2021-2025) regional project entitled 'Strengthening the Blue Economy of the WIO through the integration of ecosystem services and effective biodiversity conservation’ covering Tanzania, Kenya, Seychelles, and Mauritius.

YAOUNDE, Cameroon (PAMACC News) - The African Forest Forum (AFF) has embarked on a journey to impart relevant knowledge and skills to players in African forestry sector to be able to mobilize adequate resources for different projects.

According to Professor Louis Defo of the University of Dschang who is one of the trainers, the objective of the training was to enable stakeholders “mobilize resources by developing bankable projects whose implementation could improve the climate change resilience and livelihoods of forest-dependent communities.”

 “ AFF is hoping this will result to better understanding of climate change and the associated problems in the forest sector as well as climate finance,” Professor Defo said.

 Experts say Climate change presents a US$3 trillion investment opportunity up for grabs in Africa by 2030 with the private sector expected to lead in driving green investment and development.

According to Barbara Buchner, the Executive Director for Climate Finance Program at Climate Policy Initiative (CPI) who lent her voice to those of other experts at the Finance day event organize by the African Development Bank during COP24 in Poland, “Africa has to seize the available opportunities to obtain financing of their projects”

 Even though opportunities exist to finance climate change projects, African countries still find it hard accessing climate funding experts say.

One of the key reasons according to experts is that stakeholders in the forest sector don’t fully master what funding opportunities exist, and how to draft bankable projects to attract such funding.

“African Forest stakeholders have to be abreast with the different skills on drafting bankable project,” says  Takam Michel of Action for Equitable, Integrated and Sustainable Development, known by its French acronym ADEID.

Takam who is one of the training facilitators presented a paper under the theme,” Theorie du Changement”

AFF points out that among the constraints that impede efficient and adequate climate finance mobilization by most African countries are insufficient domestic capacity at technical, institutional and financial levels to the development of quality project proposals that respond to investment criteria of climate funds, the laying down of sound implementation mechanisms as well as the establishment of a functional reporting systems.

It is against this backdrop that AFF in collaboration with experts is training forest stakeholders on available funding openings and the techniques of drafting bankable projects.

These challenges were also highlighted by Lucie Tengoua, lecturer in the University of Dschang who also presented a paper on “Financing Climate Change”

“There is need to work in synergy and master the different avenues or pathways to climate financing to be able to succeed,” she cautions.

The participants at the Yaounde workshop are, drawn from   governmental / forest administration and non-governmental organizations.

 The  papers presented by the different resource persons all highlighted globally the multiple climate funding opportunities and institutions as well as the potential project proposals need to address to be able to attract funding.

Funding institutions among others included the World Bank,UN-REDD, LCDF( Fund for less developed countries, Multilateral Development Banks like AfDB, West African Bank, Green Climate Fund, GEF, Forest Carbon Partnership, European Union, USAID, GIZ etc.

The African Forest Forum (AFF) is a pan-African non-governmental organization with its headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya. It is an association of individuals who share the quest for and commitment to the sustainable management, use and conservation of the forest and tree resources of Africa for the socio- economic wellbeing of its people and for the stability and improvement of its environment. The purpose of AFF is to provide a platform and create an enabling environment for independent and objective analysis, advocacy and advice on relevant policy and technical issues pertaining to achieving sustainable management, use and conservation of Africa’s forest and tree resources as part of efforts to reduce poverty, promote gender equality, economic and social development and protect the environment.

 

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia (PAMACC News) - The African Group of Negotiators on Climate Change (AGN) has committed to multistakeholder engagements for the development of Africa’s unified position regarding the continent’s climate change and development aspirations as the continent looks forward to COP-28 later in the year.

Speaking at a Multistakeholder consultation and strategy for COP-28 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, AGN Chair, Ephraim MwepyaShitima said the African group remains committed to engaging with, and providing technical guidance and support to all stakeholders ranging from political leaders, civil society and other development actors to ensure Africa’s success at climate change negotiations.

Mr. Shitima noted the importance of continuous engagements among stakeholders to ensure that Africa remains united and speaking with one voice. 

“As AGN, we take stakeholder engagements and consultations very seriously as they provide us with different views and positions that we have to advance in the negotiations, thereby cementing our legitimacy to speak for the continent,” said Shitima adding that the AGN is “determined to build on the successes we achieved at COP-27 and strengthen areas where we did not do well as we head to COP-28 and will rely on inputs from all stakeholders.”

The AGN Chair also emphasised the group’s desire and strategy to increase the number of women negotiators in support of gender equality and in view of the unanimous agreement that women are on the frontlines of climate change not only in Africa but globally.

“In order to ensure that we grow the AGN and in support of gender equality, we are partnering with UNDP to host a capacity training workshop for young negotiators, focusing mostly on young women. This is important as the strength of any group lies in grooming young people. In view of the importance of gender equality, we have given priority to young female negotiators as it is unanimously agreed that women are on the frontlines fighting climate change impacts. We thus believe that increasing the number of female negotiators adds to our strength as a negotiating block,” said Shitima.

And speaking at the same function, the Pan African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA) Executive Director, MithikaMwendapaid tribute to the AGN for its continued key role in pushing Africa’s agenda in the climate change negotiation process and called on African governments to get actively involved in the technical processes to ensure unity of purpose.

Dr. Mwenda said PACJA wishes to see a unified approach at both the technical and high-level engagements to ensure that there is no misrepresentation of Africa’s interests and aspirations.

“The Africa Group of Negotiators (AGN) played a key role in the negotiations at COP27; we therefore encourage everyone to be fully involved in the negotiations so as to have a stronger voice in the negotiation rooms. This meeting is therefore important to put in place a strategy to ensure unity of purpose as Africa heads to COP28,” said Dr. Mwenda.

Earlier, United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA’s) Director for Technology, Climate Change and Natural Resources management, Jean Paul highlighted the increasing costs associated with climate change impacts in Africa and the need for an interlinked approach to addressing them.

He said an analysis by UNCEA has revealed that Africa requires in excess of USD 400 billion for climate adaptation by 2030.

“Our approach is to ensure that climate change is not treated as a single development issue but rather be tackled in a systematic and holistic manner—addressing all interlinked issues as they relate to the continent’s development and achievement of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs),” said Jean Paul.

To ensure a coordinated approach from all stakeholders, PACJA convened a two-day Continental Strategy workshop from 15th to 16th February, 2023, in Addis Ababa, on the sidelines of the 36th ordinary Session of the African Union Heads of State and Government Summit.

The meeting, which brought together key stakeholders from public, civil and private sector, was aimed at strategizing and shaping a common framework for the continent’s advocacy and participation at COP-28. The AGN Chair was part of the engagement to highlight the group’s priorities for 2023 to ensure unity of purpose for Africa.

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