GABORONE, Botswana (PAMACC News) - Chair of the African Group of Negotiators on Climate Change (AGN), Ephraim Mwepya Shitima has called for African countries to put in place measures to encourage active participation of legislators in climate action.
Mr. Shitima notes the important oversight role that Parliaments play in policy making and implementation through their legislative and oversight mandates such as approval and monitoring of national budgets.
“Under the Paris Agreement, Parties have made commitments through Nationally Determined Contributions. These national commitments require resources, and our Parliamentarians are critical as they not only approve national budgets but also provide the oversight role of monitoring budget performance and implementation. As AGN, we therefore believe that our law makers across the continent must actively be involved in climate processes. We are grateful to partners such as AGNES for their initiative to engage our parliamentarians, and welcome efforts from other partners to get law makers involved,” said Mr. Shitima.
According to the African Group of Negotiators Experts Support (AGNES), despite their critical role, parliaments in Africa are least prepared to effectively participate and play their oversight role on implementation of climate response actions.
While legislation has a crucial role to play by capturing political momentum and establishing strong systems to drive delivery of the desired national and international climate commitments, only a few countries in Africa have so far put in place relevant climate change legislation (Kenya, Nigeria and Uganda).
Similarly, Parliaments have a fundamental role in budget approval (public expenditure and revenue-raising) decisions and holding government to account.
“However, in most countries, there is very little relationship between the NDCs and the national budgets, yet most countries have indicated in their NDCs domestic financing contribution in the implementation of their NDCs,” notes George Wamukoya, AGNES Team Lead. “It is against the foregoing that AGNES has been convening regional parliamentary meetings to engage law makers and raise awareness on their critical role in supporting climate action at international, regional, national and local levels.”
After the regional parliamentary meeting for West Africa held earlier in the year, the latest meeting to be convened is the Southern African regional meeting, which opened in Gaborone, Botswana, on 25th September, 2023, organised in with the Ministry of Environment and Tourism of Botswana, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Botswana, the African Union Development Agency (AUDA-NEPAD) and other partners.
Officially opening the meeting, Botswana’s Acting Minister of Environment and Tourism, Mabuse Pule said climate change legislation must be part of a larger policy framework that supports equitable, sustainable, and inclusive development, Acting Minister of Environment and Tourism, Botswana, Hon. Mabuse Pule.
“Climate change action presents numerous significant challenges for legislators,” said Hon. Pule. “For starters, this phenomenon is inextricably tied to a wide range of other challenges and development goals. Climate change will have an extreme and long-term influence on agriculture, food production, energy availability and production, health and water security, to name a few. As a result, climate change legislation must be part of a larger policy framework that supports equitable, sustainable and inclusive development.”
In recent years, the international response to climate change has become increasingly elaborate and prominent, requiring countries to prepare, communicate and maintain a five-year-cycle of nationally determined contributions (NDCs). Countries are thus encouraged to align NDCs with their long-term low greenhouse gas emission and climate resilient development strategies (LTSs).
And this was a point emphasised by United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Resident Representative for Botswana, Balázs Horváth, who also highlighted the importance of Africa’s unified voice as the continent prepares for COP28.
“This workshop has come at an opportune moment, when the international community is preparing for COP 28…and the importance of articulating a common African voice at COP28 and arguing for allocation of responsibility for financing the transition toward a net-zero world according to each country’s share in cumulative GHG emissions to date,” said Horváth.
Speaking earlier, Dr. Unity Dow, Chair of the Botswana Parliamentary Committee on the Environment highlighted some of the climate change vulnerabilities that the Southern African region faces, and the need for law makers to be actively involved at all levels.
“…the SADC region is extremely sensitive to climate change impacts…floods and other natural disasters continue to plunge more people into poverty. This will require our capacities as legislators to adopt necessary legislative and administrative measures to enhance adaptation and advocate for financial and technical support from different sources to advance climate action,” said Dr. Dow.
The SADC Parliamentary meeting on Climate Change has brought together Chairs of Parliamentary Committees responsible for climate change, Chairs of Parliamentary Committees responsible for agriculture, parliamentary staff supporting the parliamentary committee responsible for climate change matters and other relevant resources persons.
“We are aware of the frequency and magnitude of climate risks including tropical cyclones in within the region. This has a cost on our people and the economy. Therefore, as MPs, you have a responsibility to our people. We hope this is the beginning of our conversation and assure you of our readiness to support and work with you,” concluded Dr. Geroge Wamukoya.
YAOUNDE, Cameroon )PAMACC News) - Stakeholders have been enjoined to reinforce adaptation policies and actions as pathways against climate change.
The call was made by environment experts at two day workshop to empower youths, women, small-scaled farmers,fath-based groups on climate adaptation policies and actions in Cameroon.
The workshop took place at the Mvolye Church Centre in Yaounde September 12-13, 2023.
Organised by the African Coalition for Sustainable Energy & Access (ACSEA), the workshop seeked to developing participants’ skills to better interact with stakeholders and decision makers therough effective communication, negotiation and advocacy techniques.
According to the CEO of ACSEA, Dr. Augustine Njamnshi, “the workshop was also to strengthen knowledge on processes and policy mechanism related to climate change adaptation at national level.”
“Faith-based organizations, small-scale farmers, youth and women groups often have a strong moral imperative to act on climate change, but they may lack the knowledge and skills to effectively advocate for climate adaptation policies and actions,” Njamnshi added.
The training centered on topics like climate change impact on food systems in Cameroon, Cameroons climate change adaptation and resilence strategies, mapping local climate change impacts and adaptation staregies, climate information and adaptive uses in Cameroon amongst others.
Climate experts say transforming lives means having the right policies in place and the enabling environment for climate investments to yield the right results.
“We need to empower the community on the issues sot hey can question and push government and non-governmental organisations, NGOs,to put in place the right policies. Community actors should be able to know, the problems their communties are facing and to see whether solutions proposed by some NGOs are not flawed” noted Eugene Nforngwa, head of programs ACSEA.
According to the World Bank,Cameroon has an opportunity to turn the climate crisis into an opportunity for a more green and resilient future for all, taking a people centered approach to climate action. The country’s poverty rate could be reduced five-fold by 2050.
Experts say climate change is impacting social and economic gains in the country and and stakeholders must get to work with the right actions to address it.
“Climate change in a reality and we are all living witnesses of its disastrous effects. The floods, landslides, droughts are affecting agriculture, water resources, health and the environment in general. It will take our collective efforts to get the right solutions to address this crisis” says Professor Amougou Joseph Armathée, director general of the National Observatory on Climate Change.
According to World Bank 2022 report,Climate change is a big threat to the country’s dependence on natural resources and agriculture for livelihoods and subsistence.
The report says under current climate conditions, about two million people live in drought-affected areas.
Tropical forests cover almost 40% of the country and provide an estimated 8 million rural people with traditional staples including food, medicines, fuel, and construction material.
“Changes in temperature, rain, and droughts are putting these populations at greater risks for increased poverty and famine.”
The socioeconomic impact of climate change shocks is hurting both the structural poor and the close to 40% of vulnerable households in Cameroon. Women, especially those living in conflict areas or indigenous groups, are more severely hit by climate change because they are accounting for 75% of workers in the informal agricultural sector and are primarily responsible for the welfare of their households and food security, the World Bank report indicates.
Experts say communities need to be trained on the climate change challenges sot hey can better step up actions to address the crisis.
“With the climate threats worsening, the National Observatory on climate change is collecting data and sharing alerts and early warning information that can help communities take the necessary measures to either prevent or adapt to the effects of climate change” says Professor Amougou.
It should be recalled that the recently released Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report underscores the urgency for rapid, deep and sustained action on climate adaptation to ensure the world’s poorest countries are not caught off guard by worsening climate impacts.
The report assesses the impacts of climate change, looking at ecosystems, biodiversity, and human communities at global and regional levels and notes that “actions are most urgent in Africa, where accelerated effort is required to adapt to climate change to avoid mounting loss of life, biodiversity and infrastructure.”
This seminal report offers new insights on possible pathways for policymakers, business leaders and others to ramp up their efforts to tackle the climate crisis at the scale and urgency required.
DAR ES SALAAM, Tanzania (PAMACC News) - Despite the historical inadequacy of commercial banks in supporting agriculture across Africa, stakeholders are optimistic. This was a major talking point at the 2023 Sustainable Food Systems Forum (AGRF 2023) in Dar es Salaam.
Speaking at the event, Binta Touré Ndoye, a seasoned banker and AGRA’s Board Member, expressed concerns about the financial sector's hesitation to support agriculture. "Banks have not been able to effectively support agriculture on the continent, particularly due to many risks involved," she stated.
Yet, all is not bleak. Carolyne Gathinji, Associate Partner at McKinsey & Company Ltd, highlighted the success of blended finance and other pioneering models. Among them is the warehouse receipting system and the budding partnerships between telecommunication companies and banks benefiting smallholder farmers.
“The share of blended finance going into agriculture has more than doubled over the past five years,” remarked Gathinji. However, she added a caveat: “the big concern is the scale at which it is happening,” noting that many of these initiatives are localized, serving small communities across different African countries.
Blended finance is gaining traction as it fuses public and private sector funds to back ventures with societal or environmental agendas. Such projects often struggle to find private financiers exclusively. AGRA’s application of the blended finance model has notably aided small agri-businesses in weathering challenges, including climate change and calamities like COVID19.
In another progressive move, AGRA is acquainting numerous African farmers with the warehouse receipting system. This mechanism enhances the transparency and efficiency of agricultural commodity storage and trade.
On the ground, examples of effective agricultural financing abound. In Kenya, the Cash Transfer model, driven by UN Women, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), Village Enterprise, and the County Government of West Pokot, stands out. Their initiative, named the Women Economic Empowerment through Climate Smart Agriculture (WEE-CSA), targets impoverished women, educating them on climate-resilient farming. Furthermore, these women are granted seed capital for agri-business ventures, and many have achieved financial stability and food security within just a year.
They are also educated about savings, where and after accumulating tangible amount; members are allowed to borrow twice their savings to scale up their agribusiness ventures. This has given women a new source of livelihoods because some have delved into poultry keeping while others are now keeping goats and sheep.
Gathinji believes that the key lies in scaling up such agricultural finance models across Africa, given their proven success. The momentum at AGRF 2023 suggests that a paradigm shift in African agricultural finance may well be on the horizon, but in small quantities.
Generally, agriculture can be a high-risk sector due to factors such as weather, pest infestations, and market volatility, and that is why many commercial banks may be hesitant to provide loans to farmers or agricultural businesses because of the uncertainty involved.
Addressing this challenge often requires a combination of financial innovations, policy reforms, and capacity-building efforts to make agricultural finance more accessible and sustainable for farmers and agribusinesses.
NAIROBI, Kenya - The Africa Climate Week 2023 (ACW) is set to convene policymakers, practitioners, business leaders, and civil society representatives from September 4 to 8, 2023, in Nairobi. This event runs in parallel with the Africa Climate Summit scheduled for September 4-6, both hosted by the Government of Kenya. As the world grapples with the urgent challenges of climate change, ACW aims to address this pressing crisis through cooperation and forward-thinking initiatives, fostering transformative change.
ACW also plays a pivotal role in building momentum towards the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP28), to be held in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE) later this year. COP28 represents a milestone as it concludes the inaugural Global Stocktake, offering an opportunity to critically assess the world's progress on climate action. The objective is to chart a course forward, emphasizing increased ambition and action to limit global warming to 1.5°C. Key priorities in the UAE include scaling up climate finance, enhancing adaptation support, and operationalizing the fund for loss and damage.
"In the face of the profound challenges posed by climate change in Africa, we stand unwavering in our commitment to confront this existential threat to all of humanity," declared President William Ruto of Kenya. "Africa’s abundance of wind and solar energy can power our development, creating jobs, protecting local economies, and accelerating the sustainable industrialization of the continent. But for us to lead the way toward a sustainable and prosperous future for our continent and the world, finance and technology must be provided to our developing countries. As we come together at the Africa Climate Summit and the Africa Climate Week, we aim to weave a single, resounding African voice that will carry the outcomes of these crucial events to COP28 and beyond."
Despite Africa's per capita emissions being significantly lower than the global average, the continent bears a disproportionate burden of rising global temperatures and escalating climate consequences. Drought, desertification, and cyclones, among other issues, are causing food shortages, displacement, and migration.
Simultaneously, Africa boasts abundant resources such as renewable energy, minerals, agriculture, and natural capital, positioning it to lead its green growth.
"Africa accounts for just four percent of global emissions. Yet it suffers some of the worst effects of rising global temperatures: The people of Africa — and people everywhere — need action to respond to deadly climate extremes. I’m convinced that Africa can be at the heart of a renewable future. Now is the time for all countries to stand as one in defense of our only home," emphasized UN Secretary-General António Guterres.
African nations have the potential to become pioneers in renewable energy, sustainable land use, and innovative technologies. This entails attracting investment, facilitating technology transfer, and establishing themselves as leaders in the global transition to green development.
Simon Stiell, Executive Secretary of UN Climate Change, articulated, "The world is asking a lot: Develop, but don’t do it in the carbon-intensive way that we did. It is a global responsibility to collectively work out how we do that. And that’s exactly what we’re here to do. So that African nations can come to COP28 leading in action and ambition. The discussions taking place here will inform the global stocktake about the challenges, barriers, solutions, and opportunities for climate action and support within the context of Africa. The UNFCCC Secretariat can work with you to identify the solutions to attain those opportunities."
Africa Climate Week presents a timely opportunity ahead of COP28 for regional stakeholders to exchange experiences regarding challenges overcome and opportunities realized in different countries. This showcases how Africa's industrial growth can align with the climate goals of the Paris Agreement, driving economic progress while mitigating environmental impacts.
"Africa Climate Week must be the place where we accelerate climate action across the African continent and finance a just transition to a climate-resilient future – a transition that empowers Africa to take control of its own destiny and become a green leader and economic powerhouse," asserted Inger Andersen, Executive Director of the UN Environment Programme.
Achim Steiner, Administrator of the UN Development Programme, stressed the importance of addressing climate change, saying, "Climate change is reshaping economies and impacting lives and livelihoods. The Africa Climate Week will show the implications of climate change for Africa, but also the solutions emerging from across the continent. Enhanced collaboration can drive progress by integrating climate considerations into economic and development planning, ensuring inclusive, sustainable growth through low-emissions pathways."
While opportunities for cooperation across African borders, sectors, and disciplines are abundant, effective climate action requires active engagement from all sectors. Governments and multilateral institutions hold central roles, yet civil society, academia, local communities, and the private sector are crucial contributors as well.
"The Africa climate story is about solutions for sustainable growth, and about innovation and opportunities to bring people out of poverty," highlighted Axel van Trotsenburg, Senior Managing Director of the World Bank. "Clean energy is key to this story. It lifts underserved communities; powers businesses, schools, and hospitals; and creates jobs for young Africans. There is much to be done to get financing flowing and help countries leapfrog to low-carbon and clean energy opportunities. Africa is part of the new climate economy in action."
ACW is poised to amplify the voices of African Parties, bringing their collective voice to the negotiation table at COP28 and pushing for positive outcomes that drive meaningful shifts on both regional and global scales.
ACW is the first of four Regional Climate Weeks in 2023. These events provide a platform for governments, businesses, practitioners, and civil society to showcase ongoing projects, policies, and practices that are already effecting positive change, inspiring others to follow suit.
NAIROBI, Kenya (PAMACC News) - Africa must swiftly harness its rich mineral and natural resources to drive a clean energy revolution and accelerate sustainable development amidst the current climate crisis, the Acting Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), Antonio Pedro, has urged.
“Africa is a solutions powerhouse for saving the climate, Mr. Antonio Pedro, said at the opening of the 11th Conference on Climate Change and Development in Africa (CCDA) in Nairobi, Kenya, ahead of the inaugural Africa Climate Summit to take place from 4-6 September themed: Driving Green Growth & Climate Finance Solutions for Africa and the World.
Mr. Pedro pointed out that Africa has abundant renewable energy resources, including 40% of the world’s solar irradiation potential, making it a great location for advancing green hydrogen.
Already, multiple low-carbon hydrogen projects are in development in Egypt, Mauritania, Morocco, Namibia, and South Africa. Africa is also rich in cobalt, manganese, platinum, lithium, and copper – critical minerals for producing batteries and other green transition products.
The drive toward achieving net-zero emissions is expected to trigger a 40-fold increase in lithium demand and a 25-fold increase in cobalt demand. Furthermore, Africa is home to rich natural capital, such as the Congo Basin which contains some of the largest tropical rainforests in the world.
Mr. Pedro said that using nature-based sequestration alone, African countries could provide up to 30% of the world’s sequestration needs. A key challenge, however, was in “effectively and sustainably harnessing Africa’s abundant resources for the benefit of its people.”
“To mobilize the necessary funding, a paradigm shift is necessary,” said Mr. Pedro, emphasizing that Africa’s renewable and non-renewable resources were assets for mobilizing climate finance and investment.
“The ecological services provided by Africa to the world need to be monetised through carbon markets and other innovative instruments including debt-for-climate swaps,” he added.
Studies show that African countries could mobilize up to US$82 billion annually by participating in well-functioning carbon markets. Besides, more income could be generated from value chains around non-renewable resources such as critical minerals crucial for battery production.
“Our renewable and non-renewable resources must be harnessed to secure the continent’s human, energy, food, mineral, environmental and climate security, meeting basic needs and fostering sustainable structural transformation,” Mr. Pedro urged.
For her part, Soipan Tuya, Kenya Minister of Environment and Forestry noted that Africa’s sustainable development hinged on the successful adaptation and mitigation of climate change impacts because the continent’s growth depends heavily on climate sensitive sectors and natural resources.
She stressed, in her opening remarks that Africa was capable of overcoming climate change challenges and turning them into development opportunities through innovation, clean technologies and a paradigm shift that unlocks Africa’s huge natural resource and human potential.
“Harnessing these rich enormous resources, however, requires mobilization of financial resources from both domestic and international sources to enable Africa tackle climate change and facilitate the option for clean and low carbon development pathways,” she said.
Africa is bearing the brunt of climate change more, despite contributing the least to it. Increased droughts, intensive tropical cyclones, high temperatures and extensive floods have affected lives and livelihoods across Africa, limiting the continent’s ability to achieve sustainable development.
Huge financing gap
Estimates indicate that, by 2030, Africa could spend 5% of its annual GDP on climate crises based on a warming scenario of 2 degrees, with the Sahel region paying as much as 15%.
The African Group of Negotiators on Climate Change estimates that Africa will require between US$65 and US$86.5 billion annually for adaptation alone up to 2030. Currently, the continent receives a mere $11.4 billion in adaptation financing per year.
Present at the opening were high-level representatives from key institutions including Josefa Correia Sacko, Commissioner for Agriculture, Rural Development, Blue Economy, and Sustainable Environment (ARBE) at the African Union Commission; Anthony Nyong, Director for Climate Change and Green Growth at the African Development Bank; and Mwenda Mithika, Executive Director, Pan-African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA) made remarks.
NAIROBI, Kenya (PAMACC News) - Ahead of the inaugural Africa Climate Summit (ACS) to be co-hosted by Kenya and the African Union Commission (AUC) in Nairobi from 4-6 September 2023, the African Group of Negotiators on Climate Change (AGN) Lead Coordinators are meeting in Nairobi to deliberate on key issues in relation to Africa’s interests and expectations for COP28.
The ACS, which will be held under the theme: “Green Growth and Climate finance for Africa and the World”, is envisaged to ensure Africa’s voice is elevated globally and integrated into existing international fora such as United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), G7/G20 processes and COP 28 among others.
The Summit will be held concurrently with the Africa Climate Week (4 - 8 September 2023), an annual United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) led event to promote actions that allow to course-correct and achieve the Paris Agreement goals and objectives.
The meeting is expected to bring together leaders from Africa and beyond; development partners; intergovernmental organisations; private sector; academia; civil society organisations; women and youth to design and catalyse actions and solutions for climate change in Africa by providing a platform to deliberate on the nexus between climate change, Africa’s development reality, and the need to push for increased investment in climate action globally, and specifically in Africa.
In addition to the African common position on the various climate thematic negotiating streams, AGN Lead Coordinators are also deliberating on the Nairobi Declaration, a key outcome document expected at the end of the summit.
Speaking during the opening session of the meeting, AGN Chair, Ephraim Mwepya Shitima urged the Lead Coordinators to continue playing their “critical role as technical advisors to policy makers on Africa’s effective participation in the global climate negotiations in relation to the continent’s development realities and aspirations.”
And gracing the occasion, United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Regional Office Director for Africa, Rose Mwebaza appreciated the AGN’s role over the years, to Africa’s effective participation in the climate processes and urged the group to remain focused.
“I am particularly delighted to be with you not only in my new capacity here at UNEP, heading the Africa regional office but also as one of you, having been an active participant in the climate change negotiation processes for the past 20 years,” said Mwebaza. “I believe these are exciting times as the continent prepares to host the inaugural Africa Climate Summit. As technical negotiators, I urge you to remain focused and provide the necessary guidance in relation to the continent’s development needs.”
Opportunity for Africa
Africa is believed to be the continent of the future. As the youngest and fastest urbanizing continent with a population set to double to 2.5 billion by 2050, Africa has immense potential in clean energy, arable land, critical minerals, and natural resources. While the continent is already demonstrating strong momentum in driving green growth, it is needs to capitalise on this existing momentum by (a) driving a holistic Green Growth Agenda that takes advantage of its vast resources, and (b) securing Climate Finance tailored to Africa’s needs to achieve its growth ambitions.
Africa’s renewables potential will be fifty times the global anticipated electricity demand in 2040. However, renewable energy accounts for 10% of electricity generation mix, and only 20% of the total installed electricity generation capacity in Africa.
Whereas Africa is home to 30-40% of the world's minerals - including those needed for green energy transition/batteries (e.g.,over 40% of global reserves of cobalt, manganese, and platinum), the continent has little to show for in terms of clean energy and mobility.
Similarly, while Africa has 60% of the world’s remaining uncultivated arable land, that, when sustainably exploited can help the world attain food security, the continent is a net importer of food. The summit is thus looking to address the need to change Africa’s narrative on climate change to be a growth agenda by harnessing opportunities that exist for economic transformation.
This Agenda will focus on 5 core growth thrusts; energy transition/ renewable energy; green minerals and manufacturing; sustainable agriculture, land and water/ ocean use; sustainable infrastructure and urbanization; and natural capital supported by two important cross-cutting levers (Adaptation and resilience to climate risk and Climate finance and Carbon Credits).
The outputs from the Summit will also aim to provide important input and direction to the ongoing work on global financial institution reforms to support such a growth agenda with corresponding shifts in their own pathways.