Africa Crafts Message of Sustainability for International Climate Negotiations

Action on climate change and sustainable development together is the way forward for Africa. That is the top-line message that regional, public and private sector delegates will carry to international climate negotiations after a week of deliberations in the Kenyan capital.

April 16, 2018

Some 800 delegates from 59 countries, including ministers and other high-level government and international officials, together with non-state delegates, offered their insights into the challenges and possible responses to climate change, and harvested those insights for consideration in the official international climate negotiation process.

The collecting of views was a key part of Africa Climate Week that just concluded in Nairobi. The climate week seeks to strengthen cooperation and investment in ambitious climate action across the continent creating benefits for both environment and development issues.

Part of the climate week was the first regional Talanoa event since the launch of the initiative in Bonn last year, where delegates distilled their deliberations into key messages:

  • Finance – Public finance must be instrumental in unlocking private financeMarkets – Carbon markets are about doing more together, and doing more with less
  • Energy – Energy is a high priority, affecting everything. Financial instruments should be put in place to de-risk investment and enhance involvement in smaller and medium-sized enterprises
  • SDGs – Achieving the SDGs, including the climate one is the only way forward
  • Technology – Businesses are ready to pick up new technology solutions, provided there is a good business case. The voice of the private sector is needed now more than ever.

The top-line message of delegates was that action on climate change is essential for sustainable development, and it was a message echoed in remarks by Erik Solheim, Executive Director for UN Environment, at the closing of the first Africa Climate Week, and of the Week’s cornerstone event, the 10th Africa Carbon Forum:

“We are engaged across most of the Sustainable Development Goals and clearly focusing on how to create synergy between the different goals and especially with the climate goal, which is essential for achievement of all the other goals,” he said.

Africa is moving forward

Through the Nairobi Framework Partnership UNEP DTU was part of hosting both the African Climate Week and the Africa Carbon Forum, which served as a cornerstone event in the week. The Nairobi Framework Partnership is celebrating this year its 10th anniversary, as is the Africa Carbon Forum, which was launched to spur investment in climate action through carbon markets, mechanisms and finance.

UNEP DTU, has contributed to every carbon forum since the centre was part of creating the Nairobi Framework Partnership 10 years ago. Director John Christensen has seen significant progress through those 10 years:

“The 10th Africa Carbon Forum shows that countries in the region are moving forward on the implementation of the Paris Agreement in spite of the still limited international climate finance resources.”

For developing countries, implementing climate action however can be a challenge, but a challenge that can and must be overcome, he says:

“Countries in the African region will while taking the lead need support from more developed countries and a private sector that takes part of the responsibility while ensuring it happens in effective and wealth generating ways”

We need more ambition and action

In coming to the climate agreement in Paris, countries recognized that success will require broad-based climate action by all sectors of society, both public and private, and by individuals. It is this action, that the Africa Climate Week seeks to promote.

“To achieve our goals, we need more ambition and action. Not just by national governments—they cannot do it on their own—but by all levels of government, business, investors and everyday people working together,” said Patricia Espinosa, Executive Secretary, UN Climate Change, at a high-level session on Thursday. “The good news is that momentum is picking up and we’re beginning to see the transformational shifts we need.”

A broad partnership

The Nairobi Framework Partnership members include: UNEP DTU Partnership ,the African Development Bank, Asian Development Bank, International Emissions Trading Association, United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, United Nations Development Programme, UN Climate Change, and World Bank Group.

Cooperating organizations include: Africa Low Emission Development Partnership, Climate Markets and Investment Association, Development Bank of Latin America, Institute for Global Environmental Strategies, Inter-American Development Bank, Latin American Energy Organization and West African Development Bank.