YAOUNDE, Cameroon (PAMACC News) - Environment experts are touting the REDD+process as one of the most promising opportunities to address the most compelling challenges of climate change in Africa.

However the question by stakeholders on the accessibility of REDD+ finance at scale if countries deliver on their promises and how capacity building will be supported to address expectations from it, lingers on.

It is against this backdrop that the African Forest Forum (AFF) and the UN-REDD Programme are co-organizing an innovative four-week long Community of Practice (CoP) approach, “to catalyze a good understanding of REDD+ finance types and sources, as well enhance knowledge of the result-based financing architecture including carbon markets and associated standards, Article 6 of the Paris Agreement, other financial instruments supporting the REDD+ process in Africa,” says a press statement from AFF.

The CoP approach that will run from 15 April to 10May, 2024 accordingly, will integrating both web-based discussion and a series of webinars on the theme “Unlocking sustainable solutions for effective REDD+ Result Based finance in Africa.”

The discussions are expected to bring to fruition the exigencies of designing REDD+ Strategies with a wide national lens and efforts to acquire financing, according to the release.

“It will  help to explore opportunities to support countries in deepening their engagement with forest carbon markets, that could contribute to harnessing carbon finance as part of their National climate Action strategy.It aims to ensure a comprehensive and insightful exploration of the critical dimension of REDD+ process and finance, stimulate experience sharing among community members, invited guest speakers and experts. The sharing of country and experiences and learning from other members of the community will better improve understanding of the REDD+ process” the release stated.

According to UN REDD+, many countries in the Africa have made tireless efforts to integrate REDD+ into their National planning policy and financing processes. Cote d’Ivoire, DRC, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Uganda, and Zambia, among others, recognize investments in key sectors of the economy and the need to realign investments in these sectors to REDD+. Through an analytical mapping exercise related to land-use investments, Cote d’Ivoire has been able to re-align investments to REDD+. Ethiopia has positioned REDD+ in its Climate Resilient Green Economy (CRGE) Strategy and Zambia has integrated REDD+ into the implementation matrix of its 7th National Development Plan.

The CoP discussions on REDD+ process accordingly will provide unprecedented opportunity to engage in dialogues at continental and national scale to weigh into what type of policies and measures based on the discussions around the drivers of forest changes, are needed within REDD+ Strategies and how these can be achieved.

Among other expectations, the discussions the release notes “will, enhance knowledge of the REDD+ process and the implementation status in Africa,improve understanding of the importance of REDD+ finance within the framework of the financial instruments for nature-based solutions to climate change,improve understanding of the REDD+ finance types and sources including public upfront finance and results-based finance,equip participants with knowledge of available forest carbon markets (compliance or voluntary),enhance understanding of different carbon schemes and standards (such as the Verified Carbon Standard (VCS), the Climate, Community and Biodiversity Standards (CCBS), ART-TREES, LEAF process etc) as well as requirements including costs.”

The African Forest Forum is an association of individuals with a commitment to the 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.

It provides independent analysis and advice to national, regional and international institutions and actors, on how economic, food security and environmental issues can be addressed through the sustainable management of forests and trees.

NAIROBI, Kenya (PAMACC News) – KyoGreen, an online platform, which is a tool that helps calculate carbon footprint is the latest winner of the prestigious award for the Global Excellence and Innovation as announced at the Qatar Financial Expo 2024.

Hosted by Kyoto Network, a global leader in the Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) arena, bringing together expertise in Environmental Management Systems (EMS), sustainability reporting, and market advisory services,  KyoGreen allows users to quickly calculate their carbon footprint as well as the ability to offset it in the click of a button.

The platform allows both individuals and enterprises to seamlessly gauge their carbon footprint, invest in carbon offsets, and foster a harmonious relationship with the environment. With its cutting-edge solutions and intuitive design, KyoGreen equips its users with the means to make impactful decisions and engage in actions that promote environmental conservation.

"This global recognition is a testament to our team's relentless dedication and hard work,” said Sheraz Malik, the Founder and the Chief Executive Officer at the Kyoto Network. “It's a reflection of our collective effort to make a significant impact on sustainability practices worldwide," he added.

Malik noted that the honour not only celebrates KyoGreen as a pioneer in environmental leadership and sustainable business models but also aligns with Kyoto Network's mission to forge a sustainable future.

According to Amro Zakaria, the Middle East & Africa Director for Kyoto Network, the fight against climate change is no longer an option. "Achieving carbon neutrality is no longer optional but a crucial component of any future-proof business strategy. It's about building resilience and staying relevant in a world where sustainability is at the forefront," he said.

The award was lauded by Suhair Alashqar, the CEO of AFAQ Group of Companies and the organizer of the Qatar Financial Expo. “We extend our heartfelt congratulations to Kyoto Network for their groundbreaking achievement in sustainability with their innovative carbon footprint and offsetting dashboard, KyoGreen,” she said.

“The (team’s) commitment to environmental stewardship sets a remarkable example for the industry and inspires us all to strive for a greener, more sustainable future," added Alashqar.

“As we are determined to spearhead the movement towards environmental sustainability, we extend an open invitation to individuals and companies alike to join in this crucial endeavour to combat climate change,” said Malik

So far, a Swiss Company Climeworks has identified Kenya as a suitable site for a constructing a major carbon capture facility.

“As we move towards COP 29 later this year, we must have tangible solutions or techniques that will help us reduce the carbon emissions as envisioned by the Paris Agreement,” said Ben Lang, the East Africa Regional Project partner for Kyoto Network. “We are pleased to see Kenya taking the lead under the leadership of President William Ruto,” he noted

Sham El Sheikh, Egypt (PAMACC News) - The African Group of Negotiators on Climate Change (AGN) has re-affirmed its commitment to Africa’s climate and development aspirations.

Addressing a high-level stakeholder post-COP28 meeting taking place on the margins of the African Union (AU) summit, AGN Interim Chair, Alick Muvundika said the group will continue to represent and defend Africa’s priorities and aspirations in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) multilateral processes.

Dr. Muvundika said the AGN stands ready and eager to continue receiving guidance from the African Ministerial Conference on the Environment (AMCEN) and the Committee of African Union Heads of State on Climate Change (CAHOSCC) to ensure that the continent’s climate interests are safeguarded.

He cited the historic establishment and operationalisation of the loss and damage fund at COP27 and COP28 respectively, as an outstanding outcome where the AGN was a key player in reaching the decision and ensured that Africa’s interests were well articulated.

“As we start the year, looking back at COP28 and planning for 2024, I wish to re-affirm our commitment to the continent’s cause. The group, guided by AMCEN and CAHOSCC, has in the presented Africa, and remain a strong and united group of technical negotiators ready to safeguard and defend Africa’s interests in the UNFCCC processes,” said Dr. Muvundika. “As always, we remain committed to the guidance of our policy makers at the level of the AMCEN and CAHOSCC to ensure that we keep in tune with relevant policies guiding the continent’s development agenda.”

The AGN Interim Chair highlighted key decisions from COP28 which include; operationalisation of the Loss and Damage Fund where; operationalisation of the Global goal on adaptation; the first Global Stocktake (GST); and the Just Transition Pathways work programme.

In highlighting the multifaceted nature of climate change and its impacts on various sectors most African countries, Dr. Muvundika said the group is looking at innovative ways of how to constantly engage and enhance synergies between climate negotiators and policy makers from the environment sector and other climate sensitive sectors such as agriculture, water and health among others.

“Climate change is a development issue beyond the environment sector. For example, climate impacts on health and agriculture have widely been articulated. For the first time, we had a health day at COP28 where climate and health issues were discussed. As negotiators, we therefore need innovative approaches to engage with these climate sensitive sectors in order to expand not only our own understanding but also be of support to the entire development spectrum which is impacted by climate change,” said Dr. Muvundika as he addressed the AGN LC post-COP28 meeting in Sham el Sheikh, Egypt, supported by United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Egypt.

Speaking during the same meeting, UNDP Egypt Resident Representative, Alessandro Fracassetti, highlighted the importance of partnerships and lauded the existing partnership between UNDP and the Egyptian government, and by extension, the AGN.

“I would like to take a moment to highlight the fruitful partnership between UNDP and the COP27 Presidency over the past couple of years. The designation of COP27 as both the "Implementation COP" and the "African COP" has been instrumental in shaping the outcomes of this conference, and acknowledge the substantial efforts and resources dedicated by the Government before and during COP27,” said Fracassetti.

And representative of the Arab Republic of Egypt, Ambassador Mohammed Nasr commended UNDP for consistently supporting Egypt and AGN and emphasised the importance of the AGN to Africa’s unified approach to climate change negotiations in the interest of the continent’s development needs.

“This meeting comes after a crucial conference, COP28 in Dubai, where critical decisions were reached. This meeting will discuss several critical issues that will feed into key decisions at various levels and meetings such as CAHOSCC and UNEA. We are therefore happy to support continued efforts around a united approach to Africa’s development challenges,” said Ambassador Nasr.

DUBAI, UAE (PAMACC News) - Climate finance supports various climate change mitigation and adaptation activities, as well as efforts to enable the transition towards low-carbon, climate-resilient development environment stakeholders have stated at COP28 in Dubai.

The Pan African Climate Justice Alliance, PACJA who joined other stakeholders to clamour for the doubling of adaptation finance by industrialized countries also hammered on the need for private sector finance as catalyst for green growth in Africa.

“Mobilizing private sector financing for climate and green growth in Africa imperative. The should be crucial collaboration between banks and civil society to drive this agenda,” Mithika Mwenda, PACJA CEO said at side event relating to finance mobilization.

He notes that the continent holds immense potential for sustainable development, calling on the need for stakeholders to work together to better achieve positive results

Mithika also explored the pivotal role of civil society in driving meaningful change and stressing the importance of a united front for effective climate action.

Despite its growing political commitment toward green growth and its rich natural capital endowment, the continent lags behind other regions on many green growth dimensions, in particular on the provision of green economic opportunities, participants at the side event said.

 Progress on efficient and sustainable resource use and on the promotion of social inclusion has not been sufficient to catch up with other world regions, it was noted. Thus the need to mobilize funds the meet these voids, it was resolved.

According to a document by the African Development Bank,  Africa will require about $1.3 trillion annually to meet its sustainable development needs by 203 and thus to achieve green growth.

“Most of this finance is expected to be met through private finance. To meet these needs and given the current levels of public climate finance, private climate finance should increase by about 36 percent each year until 2030,” the document stated.

Leaders attending this year’s global climate change conference in Dubai urged a more global response to the continent’s adaptation financing needs to tackle the impact of climate change and build resilience.

Speaking during the Adaptation Finance Summit for Africa on the second day of the COP28, African leaders said climate adaptation funding, currently at 39% of all climate finance flows to Africa, must rapidly increase.

“ The climate adaptation funding for Africa is quite insufficient. It’s the responsibility of funding institutions and governments to provide the needed funds,” Kenyan President William Ruto said.

‘’The Nairobi Declaration adopted by the African leaders in September reimagines Africa’s future as a thriving, resilient continent that embraces Climate-Positive Growth. The essence and ambition of APRA are encapsulated in this. We need a holistic approach that delivers on both climate and development priorities, tailored to our needs and communities. We need plans that account for all elements: starting with infrastructure, through policy and regulation to institutional and human capacity,” he declared.

The high-level session also included Comoros President and African Union Chairman Azali Assoumani, Tanzanian President Samia Suluhu Hassan, Senegalese President Macky Sall, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, UK Foreign Secretary David Cameron, African Development Bank Group President Dr Akinwumi Adesina, and philanthropist Bill Gates.

In his remarks, the President of the African Development Bank Group, Dr Akinwumi Adesina, highlighted initiatives by the institution in response to the climate adaptation needs of Africa, including the launch of a Climate Action Window to mobilise up to $14 billion to support adaptation for 37 low-income countries.

According the African Development Bank, many investment opportunities in climate action and green growth could unlock private finance despite the barriers observed in Africa. It notes that “sectors that will rely on climate-smart and lowcarbon technologies such as renewable energies and electric vehicles, energy-efficient buildings, climate-resilient infrastructure, improved dryland crop production, and water resource resilience—present Africa’s trillion-dollar market opportunities for the private sector.”

 He recommends the implementation of appropriate regulatory, policy, and institutional frameworks as essential for turning these sectors into booming markets for private investors.

“Sustainable development, economic growth, and climate action are critical for Africa, and achieving them requires commitments to green growth,” AfDB boss said.

To help support smallholder farmers in Africa  who are facing severe consequences from global warming, the Gates Foundation, the charitable foundation of Microsoft founder Bill Gates, and the UAE together committed $200 million.

In a first for blended finance, bringing together public and private lenders, leading climate-focused donors including the Bezos Earth Fund joined forces to launch the Allied Climate Partners investing platform. The aim is to generate $11 billion in investments in developing countries, the COP28 organisers said.

DUBAI, UAE (PAMACC News) - As COP 28 begins in Dubai, the Pan African Climate Justice Alliance, PACJA is seeking for transparent and just measures to address climate change challenges.

At a press conference organized by civil society actors various speakersraised concerns on the credibility and trustworthiness of the different actors on the negotiation table.

“We need to amplify the voices of the vulnerable communities in this climate change talks, that of inclusiveness, transparency and justice . The developed countries and their leaders have to show real commitment and honour their pledges,” Dr Mithika Mwenda, PACJA CEO said at the press briefing.

 The African Civil Society emphasizes the importance of fairness, openness, and impartiality. They firmly urge all stakeholders to adhere to these principles to ensure that the decisions made during COP28 UAE align with the global commitment to combat climate change.

“We need a leadership that reflects these values and upholds the promise of a collective effort in addressing environmental challenges. The interest of the vulnerable communities, women, youths, indigenous population have to be protected” notes Dr Augustine Njamnshi of PACJA and CEO ACSEA.

Meanwhile at side event by PACJA prior to the official opening of COP 28, civil society actors in a panel discussion called for greater and sustainable production of a variety of minerals that are central to de-carbonization in Africa.

“We have clear opportunities not only from the global green mineral boom but also from our domestic achievements, such as the African Continental Free-Trade Area to facilitate the development of regional value chains for our green economy products in Africa," says Dr Linus Mofor, Senior Environmental Affairs Officer African Climate Policy Centre, ACPC at the panel discussion

Africa experts say is home to multiple minerals. The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), for example,  produces over 70% of the world’s cobalt. DRC and Zambia together supply 10% of global copper while Mozambique and South Africa hold significant reserves of graphite, platinum metals, lithium and more.

Linus Mofor deplored the fact that about 70% of the Africa’s exports are unprocessed commodities, a situation that can change with the right policies that prioritise industrialization and value-addition in mining and other resource sectors.

GOOD NEWS AT OFFICIAL OPENING

However there was some good news at the official opening of COP 28.

The President of COP 28, announced loss and damage fund forvulnerable countries  on the first day of the UN climate conference with a total commitment of over $420 million. The UAE host country and Germany took the lead contributing $100 million each to the fund.

“We’ve delivered history today. The first time a decision has been adopted on day 1 of any COP. And the speed at which we have done so is also historic. Getting this done demonstrates the hard work of so many, particularly members of the transitional committee who worked tirelessly to get us to this point. This is evidence that we can deliver. COP28 can deliver,” said Dr Sultan Al Jaber, president, COP28.

He said that the threshold today was to establish and operationalise a $200 million fund. “We reached north of $420 million and over the next couple of days, many more pledges are going to be made. I thank Germany, the UK, the EU, the US and Japan for their pledges earlier today,” he said.

The funds accordingly was first agreed upon during COP27, held in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt, and became operational on Thursday November 30,2023 following the agreement reached by parties during 5 transitional committee meetings.

He said the COP28 team approached this task in a completely different and unconventional way.

“The fact that we have been able to achieve such a significant milestone on the first day of this COP is unprecedented. This is historic. The fact that we were able to get the agenda voted and agreed on without any delay is unprecedented. We have been able to deliver what was promised in Sharm al Sheikh and activate and operationalise and pass the threshold have been associated with this fund is historic.”

For Madeleine Diouf Sarr, Chair of the Group of the 46 Least Developed Countries much is still expected as outcome of the ongoing COP 28.

“COP28 is a moment to take stock of progress towards achieving the goals we all set in Paris. But we know since then, emissions have kept increasing and the impacts of climate change have intensified. The world is not on track with efforts needed to adequately address this climate crisis and the window of opportunity for limiting temperature rise to 1.5°C is rapidly closing. A meaningful decision is needed at COP28 that provides a clear path forward for deep emissions reductions and scaled up finance, which governments are held accountable to,” said at opening event.

DUBAI, UAE (PAMACC News – The United Nations Climate Change Conference COP28 will open tomorrow with a resounding call to accelerate collective climate action. The conference takes place in what is already known to be the hottest year ever recorded in human history and as the impacts of the climate crisis wreak unprecedented havoc on human life and livelihoods around the world.

COP28 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE), from 30 November to 12 December 2023, is a decisive moment to act on climate commitments and prevent the worst impacts of climate change. UAE has the presidency for COP28, with Dr Sultan Al Jaber as this year’s president.

This year’s COP marks the conclusion of the “global stocktake”, the first assessment of global progress in implementing the 2015 Paris Agreement. The findings are stark: the world is not on track to limiting temperature rise to 1.5°C by the end of this century. It does recognize that countries are developing plans for a net-zero future, and the shift to clean energy is gathering speed, but it makes clear that the transition is nowhere near fast enough yet to limit warming within the current ambitions.

report recently published by UN Climate Change shows that national climate action plans (known as nationally determined contributions, or ‘NDCs’) would collectively lower greenhouse gas emissions to 2% below 2019 levels by 2030, while the science is clear that a 43% reduction is needed.

The global stocktake must be a catalyst for greater ambition in meeting the Paris Agreement’s goals as nations prepare to submit revised national climate action plans by 2025. It lays out actions on how to accelerate emissions cuts, strengthen resilience to climate impacts, and provide the support and finance needed for the transformation.

“Over 160 world leaders are headed to Dubai, because only cooperation between nations can get humanity back in this race. But COP28 cannot be just a photo-op. Leaders must deliver – the message is clear,” said UN Climate Change Executive Secretary Simon Stiell. “And as leaders leave Dubai after the opening summit, their message to their negotiators must be equally clear: don’t come home without a deal that will make a real difference.”

Climate finance stands at the heart of this transformation. Replenishing the Green Climate Fund, doubling financial resources for adaptation and operationalizing the loss and damage fund are key to keeping 1.5°C within reach while leaving no one behind.

“The reality is that without much more finance flowing to developing countries, a renewables revolution will remain a mirage in the desert. COP28 must turn it into a reality,” Stiell added.

Progress on climate finance at COP28 will be crucial to build trust in other negotiation areas and to lay the groundwork for an even more ambitious “New Collective Quantified Goal” for climate finance, which must be in place next year. It will also set the stage for a just and inclusive transition to renewable energy and the phasing out of fossil fuels.

In the face of rising conflicts and tensions worldwide, Stiell emphasized the need for collaborative efforts to combat climate change, an area in which nations can work together effectively to ensure a sustainable future both for people and the planet.

“We don’t have any time to waste. We need to take urgent action now to reduce emissions. At COP28, every country and every company will be held to account, guided by the north star of keeping 1.5°C within reach,” said COP28 President Dr. Sultan Al Jaber.

“All parties should be prepared to deliver a high ambition decision in response to the global stocktake that reduces emissions while protecting people, lives and livelihoods,” Al Jaber added.

Egyptian Minister of Foreign Affairs and COP27 President Sameh Shoukry said: “It is of crucial importance to continue building on previous achievements, but more importantly to implement what we already agreed upon. We cannot achieve our common goals without having everyone on board, most importantly the Global South. We need to start delivering on climate justice and provide the needed tools that we already agreed upon in Sharm el-Sheikh for funding loss and damage, including the establishment of a fund. One of the major outcomes that has to come out of COP28 is for the fund to be fully operationalized and funded.”

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