Climate Change (202)

OPINION

NAIROBI, Kenya (PAMACC News) In line with global trends, Kenya has seen a significant temperature increase of 0.3°C to 0.6°C per decade, impacting key sectors like agriculture and water resources.

This rapid warming trend was a major focus at the inaugural Africa Climate Summit (ACS23) in Nairobi last month; which among others, highlighted the link between climate change, regional food systems and economic transformation. The ACS23 emphasized the consequences of inaction on food security and economic sovereignty, rallying an Africa's unified climate agenda ahead of the 28th UN climate change conference (COP28) in the UAE.

Concurrently, the 2023 Africa Food Systems Forum (AFS Forum 23) in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, stressed the urgent need for climate-responsive solutions by African governments to address the continent’s food system challenges. Kenya's President, Dr. William Ruto, has since come through on his promise to explore more green and environmental friendly fertilizers alongside a 10-year initiative to grow 15 billion trees by 2032, raising Kenya's tree cover to 30%, enhancing carbon sequestration, restoring 5.1 million hectares of deforested areas, and benefiting households as 30% of these trees will be fruit, nut, and fodder species.

President Ruto has also banned single-use plastic bags and initiated trials for biodegradable tubing bags in line with a United Nations resolution from UNEA 5.2. Meanwhile, Kenya is at the forefront of climate change efforts in Africa, with the Climate Change Act of 2016, and recent amendments to enhance its carbon market regime, driving its responses. The government is also actively implementing the third cycle of the National Climate Change Action Plan (NCCAP III) to promote low-carbon, climate-resilient development.

Yet even as we celebrate these great interventions, we must recognize that climate change is a complex issue that no single country can solve independently; a collaborative approach involving partnerships across national governments, the private sector and the international community is required for rapid transformation.

We are glad to report that African leaders are focusing their development strategies on sustainable solutions at both the national and continental levels. The Africa Environment Action Plan, the Africa Clean Energy Corridor, and the Africa Renewable Energy Initiative all indicate the continent’s strategic commitment to addressing the climate crisis. The actions proposed in these initiatives were restated in the Nairobi Declaration, which summed up the outcomes of the ACS23. Africa’s common position on food systems will benefit from cross-sectional collaboration to ensure resource efficiency and high-impact transformation.

The Declaration comprises 23 commitments, primarily addressing policy areas related to investment attraction, economic development (with a focus on youth empowerment), enhanced continental cooperation, increased renewable energy financing, support for small-scale farmers, and the expedited implementation of the African Union Climate Change and Resilient Development Strategy and Action Plan (2022-2032). Notably, the Declaration emphasizes the need for global collaboration to secure adequate capital for both development and climate initiatives, echoing the principles of the Paris Pact for People and the Planet, which aims to ensure that no country must choose between its development goals, climate action and the basic human right to feed people.

The time is now for environmental, energy and food systems experts to resolutely come together to help the continent fight hunger, land degradation and ensure economic prosperity,

Hence, Africa is capitalizing on the momentum of ACS23 and AFS Forum 23 to prioritize its climate discussions and facilitate decision-making areas most critical to Africa on the global front. This was evident at the recent UN General Assembly (UNGA) where Africa's key concerns, such as transitioning to a low-carbon economy and improving living standards, building resilience to climate shocks, especially for rain-fed agricultural nations, were a common theme in speeches and discussions. Coming off the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic, which exposed vulnerabilities, there is a strong focus on fast tracking climate action and development, as emphasized by Africa's delegation at UNGA.

Our countries are up against a huge task: the need to transform food systems to feed people, to rehabilitate and safeguard environment and to ensure resilient to shocks caused by the ongoing climate change. There is no doubt that African leaders are more committed than ever before to build on the lessons of the recent crisis that our continent has faced to deliver stronger resilience for people, the environment, and our economies. Certainly, not an easy undertaking which will require stronger collaboration.

AGRA has developed a suit of transferable assets in technology, system strengthening partnerships and models that can benefit women, youth, and small holder farmers in Kenya and across the continent. We are enthusiastic about collaborating with the Kenya government, like minded institutions and private sector to unlock potential here in Kenya and across the continent.

With a shared vision and united mission leveraging stronger collaboration across sectors and countries, we're confident of paving the way for growth, prosperity, and lasting change in this diverse country.

 

Hon. Tuya is the Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Environment, Climate Change and Forestry, Kenya; Dr Kalibata is the President of AGRA

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.

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