Climate Change (201)
NAIROBI, Kenya (PAMACC News) - Investments in forest conservation for carbon removal and enhancement are key for climate change mitigation. African forest experts are pushing to better use demonstrably high-quality forest carbon credits as a crucial tool in the urgent fight against climate change.
President of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), Razan Al Mubarak noted that "climate change can be seen as symptom of man’s mismanagement of nature, (and therefore) nature-based solutions must be taken seriously to drive the fight against climate change."
"The importance of forest and pitland in the fight against climate change cannot be over-emphasised. We need synergy of efforts to raise awareness and ambition, push the drive for a fair carbon mechanism," she said during a side event at the Nairobi Climate Summit under the theme; ‘Forests and carbon credits, opportunities and challenges in tapping climate finance for investment in Africa."
Panelists at the discussions agreed on growing investor interest in forest-based climate mitigation, including forest carbon credits and benefits through reducing greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+) in Africa in general and the Congo Basin in particular.
But they also acknowledge the problem of financing these forest and nature based solutions to climate change.
"Countries of the Congo-Basin like the DRC are putting up strong pitland policies amidst challenges of inadequate financing for the required research. We need to work with scientists and other stakeholds to better understand the full potential of the rich pitland ecosystem. But we must have the finances to achieve this " says Jean Jacque Bambota head of pitland unit with the Ministry of Environment and sustainable development , DRC.
He challenged scientists in Africa to embark on incisive research to discover the carbon potential of the pitlands in their different ecological zones.
IUCN President noted that nature is the critical infrastructure through which the needs of Africa can be met if well invested in, harnessed and protected.
Africa according to IUCN statistics she said has 40 million hectares of pitland and 670 million hectares of forest. "These rich natural endowments come with significant return if we invest right and protect sustainably," Razan said.
Some government authorities at the panel discussions, called for faire carbon mechanism and increased public sector engagement for the interest of population, especially the local communities.
According to the Minister of Environment and nature protection of Congo Brazaville, Arlette Soudan-Nonault ,many African universities are working together to foster research of the real potentials of pitlands like the case of Congo Brazaville.
" We are working with the different scientific communities to establish real data. But we also need clear guidance on good policy implementation practices, " she said.
Reforming methodologies for constructing and measuring reference levels, such as deforestation rates, could improve integrity and credibility in REDD+ projects that, in general, can require millions of dollars in upfront investments, she noted.
Panelists argued the need for a just forest transition and consensus is carbon price fixing between the supplier and the buyer.
Standards for ‘high-integrity REDD+’ could include the evaluation of counterfactual baselines, new remote sensing capabilities, address atmospheric integrity, leakage, biodiversity impacts, and equity, the panelists agreed.
According to a concept note on the event by the African Forest Forum,AFF,the realization of the benefits of Art 5.2 of Paris Agreement are in congruent with Art 6.2 of same document that will enable Parties and other actors in the forest value chain capitalize on cooperative approaches such as Internationally Transferred Mitigation Outcomes (ITMOs) for carbon trading.
"This is expected to catalyze investments in developing nations towards realization of their sustainable development goals, " the note stated.
In Africa, for example, there are series of piloted forest and tree-based carbon projects that Parties and actors in the forestry sector can draw key achievements, challenges and lessons learnt to advance investment in forestry for carbon removal and enhancement.
Some of the case studies include: Mai Ndombe REDD+ Project in Western Democratic Republic of Congo; Bale Mountains Eco Region and Oromia REDD+ project in Ethiopia; Kasigau Corridor Phase I&II and Chyulu Hills REDD+projects in Kenya; Making REDD+ Work for Communities and Forest
Conservation in Tanzania; and Kariba REDD+ in northwestern Zimbabwe along southern shore of Lake Kariba among others. long-term Global Comparative Study on REDD+ (2009-2023), involving some 14 years of research across 22 countries, it revealed.
Experts called for progress both at level of evaluating carbon credits and the of non- carbon benefits.
“While we see a lot of improvement and a lot of discussion on how to advance the methodology to evaluate carbon credits, I think the progress in terms of non-carbon benefits has been much slower in comparison " says Julie Mulongo of Wetlands Uganda.
They also expressed the need for accurate and transparent measurement, reporting and verification of emissions as vital part of the forest carbon market.
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.
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) - 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.