Ministers from governments across Africa have renewed their call for a strong, new universal climate change agreement and increased flows of funds, including through market and finance opportunities, sufficient to fulfill Africa’s development aspirations.
With countries set to approve a new climate change agreement under the UN in Paris in December, African Ministers stressed the region’s readiness and requirement for accelerated private and public financing of low-carbon development. Africa, with its vulnerable populations and vast potential, has perhaps the most to lose from climate change and the most to gain from an effective climate change agreement.
“I agree with Ministers that the last 10 years in the implementation of the Clean Development Mechanism is a very valuable asset and that market mechanisms can play a significant role in raising the level of ambition, and supporting climate action”, said Hakima El Haite, Minister in Charge of Environment ofMorocco.
“In these last eight months before Paris, focus must shift from restating negotiating positions to finding common ground solutions,” said UNFCCC Deputy Executive Secretary Richard Kinley at a day-long ministerial segment at Africa Carbon Forum 2015 hosted by the Kingdom of Morocco. “All countries have something to gain from the Paris agreement and it is in everyone’s interests to reach a strong conclusion as soon as possible this year. If Heads of State come to Paris, it must be to adopt an agreement that is robust and ready for them.”
Clean energy to unlock African sustainable development potential
The African Carbon Forum 2015, which ran from April 13-15 in Marrakech, focused on programmes to unleash private sector finance, such as through the Clean Development Mechanism, and scale up other forms of climate finance to strengthen the sustainable development of African countries.
According the International Energy Agency over 620 million people in Sub-Saharan Africa, about two-thirds of the
population, are without secure access to electricity. Some 730 million people in the region, about four-fifths still rely on cooking mostly with wood, harming health and destroying vital forest cover.
“The coming months provide African countries with a significant opportunity to align their contributions to the Paris climate agreement with their own long-term sustainable development priorities,” said Kinley
Countries are busy detailing their Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs), which they will submit as their input to the Paris agreement. INDCs for 35 countries have been submitted to date. OnApril 1, Gabon became the first African country to submit an INDC.
During the closing session of the forum on Wednesday, April 15, Kurt Lonsway, AfDB Manager of Environment and Climate Change, said “The 7th Africa Carbon Forum reiterated the need to have adequate, predictable, sustainable climate finance resources to address Africa’s challenges in transitioning to low carbon development, promoting smart agriculture, and sustainable urban development – sectors which are at the core of Africa’s development. How these sectors are integrated into the countries’ Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) will help determine the successful implementation of INDCs. We all know current climate financial flows are currently insufficient to meet all of Africa’s climate change challenges, but it is also critical for African countries to demonstrate the ability to effectively deploy those resources that are available to help contribute to the global climate change goals.”
Forum participants say results-based climate finance and strong CDM keys to success
Two clear messages emerged from participants at the African Carbon Forum. First, climate finance linked to results is essential to stimulate greater funding for both mitigation and adaptation to climate change. Second, developing countries, including those in Africa, need tools like the Clean Development Mechanism and Paris provides the continent with a unique opportunity to anchor carbon markets in the long-term climate agenda in line with scaling up climate action and sustainable development based on their national priorities.
A consistent theme during the ACF was the need to preserve and improve the CDM beyond 2020 as a tool for providing continued climate finance and technology to developing countries, especially in Africa. This would capitalize on the capacity and infrastructure already built up by countries and stakeholders. It is widely expected that this will be one of the issues to be resolved in Paris.
Participants particularly highlighted the usefulness of the CDM’s established rules in measuring, reporting and verifying results and its possible role to help define and clarify the content of INDCs. The workshop also concluded that African countries could look at how best to link and leverage finance through the Green Climate Fund at the same time as increasing use of the CDM.
The Forum noted that the INDCs provide Africa with an ideal vehicle through which public policy developments can be transparently displayed by countries to shift toward a low-carbon and sustainable development path.
Participants particularly highlighted the usefulness of the CDM’s established accounting rules in measuring, reporting and verifying results and its possible role to help define and clarify the content of INDCs. The workshop also concluded that African countries could look at how best to link and leverage finance through the Green Climate Fund at the same time as increasing use of the CDM.
This year’s Africa Carbon Forum attracted over 600 participants of 53 countries, including 23 Ministers or Deputy Ministers, policy-makers, project developers and investors, and built on the success of last year’s forum in Windhoek, Namibia. Discussions centered on international and national policies and operational issues related to carbon markets, mechanisms and finance.
The forum is organized under the umbrella of the Nairobi Framework by the UNFCCC, United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), along with the UNEP-DTU Partnership, World Bank (WB), African Development Bank (AfDB) and International Emissions Trading Association (IETA).
The Nairobi Framework was launched in 2006 by then Secretary-General Kofi Annan to assist developing countries, especially in Sub-Saharan Africa, to improve their level of participation in the Kyoto Protocol’s Clean Development Mechanism.