African countries get support to combat climate change

African countries get support to combat climate change

Environment

The UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), through its African Climate Policy Centre (ACPC) says it is fully committed to supporting member States in their efforts to implement their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs).

NDCs embody efforts by each country to reduce national greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to the impacts of climate change.



Speaking ahead of the 24th session of the Conference of Parties (COP 24) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) which will be held from 2-14 December 2018 in Katowice, Poland, ACPC Officer-in-Charge, James Murombedzi, said the NDCs were important and at the heart of the Paris Agreement.

“The ECA is fully committed to supporting member States regarding the NDCs, taking into account the need for urgent and adequate climate action while staying on course to achieve the goals of Agenda 2063 and the sustainable development goals,” he said.

Mr. Murombedzi said the recent Seventh Conference on Climate Change and Development in Africa (CCDA-VII) which was held in Nairobi, Kenya, under the theme; ‘Climate change and development in Africa: policies and actions for effective implementation of the Paris Agreement for resilient economies in Africa’ had helped Africa prepare for COP24.

Preparatory meetings continue ahead of the crucial meeting which is expected to adopt guidelines for the implementation of the Paris Agreement on climate change by finalizing the Paris Agreement Work Program (PAWP).

“The rule book is particularly important because it will guide every country’s action on the ground and help them to enhance their climate action pledges, especially the NDCs, by 2020. The rule book will also be useful to hold accountable parties who committed to adopt those rules by this time,” Mr. Murombedzi said, adding the ACPC was working with member States and others on the continent in preparation for COP24.

COP 24, the most important COP since the signing of the Paris Agreement in 2015, is being held against the backdrop of a year of record-breaking climate impacts, and the landmark special report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC); “Global Warming of 1.50C” which unequivocally concluded that the world is not on track to limiting global temperature rise to below 1.50C.

The more salient aspects of the IPCC Report for Africa include:

i. Global average warming of 1.50C will probably imply 30C or greater warming for Africa

ii. That global warming is already at around 10C warming, and Africa is already experiencing unprecedented disruptions of rainfall and temperature patterns and sea level rise

iii. The impacts of these on economies and livelihoods include droughts, flooding, displacement, climate induced migration, food insecurity and significant losses of infrastructure and investments.

COP 24 will also seek to make progress on the ongoing implementation of the UNFCCC including mitigation, adaptation, finance, technology and capacity building support; the political phase of the Talanoa Dialogue; and the stock-take of climate action before 2020.

A High-level ministerial event on climate finance will take place during COP24.

Mr. Murombedzi said Africa was preparing well for COP24, adding some of the key issues the continent wants discussed include whether rules on NDCs should be common to all or split into differentiated versions for developed and developing countries. China and the G77 have also advocated for a “two-tier” rulebook.

The ECA has carried out a detailed survey of the status of implementation of the NDCs in Africa, and has designed a programme to support member States to streamline their NDCs in line with their national development goals, as well as with the SDGs and Agenda 2063.

African countries also want to discuss climate finance which they argue is key to helping developing countries meet their obligations. Current flows of finance are not yet sufficient to meet a promised $100 billion per year by 2020.

Africa and other developing countries want to start discussing a new climate finance goal, which is due to kick in from 2025.

The ECA, the African Development Bank, AUC and NEPAD will host “Africa Day” at COP24 under the theme; “Operationalization of the Africa NDC Hub: Going further and faster with NDC implementation for resilient economies in Africa”.

The Africa NDC Hub, which intends to leverage technical and financial assistance to African countries to implement their NDCs, was launched by the ECA and its partners at COP23 in Bonn and at COP24 they will focus on operationalization of the hub.

The day will provide a platform and opportunity for member States, development partners, private sector, civil society and various key stakeholders to dialogue and discuss ways of supporting coordinated partnerships and approaches to support member States with implementation of their NDCs through the Africa NDC Hub.

Discussions will focus on how to ensure developed countries and development partners go beyond partnerships and commitments of intents to concrete actions and resources towards effective and adequate means of implementation – finance, capacity building, and technology development and transfer – of the Paris Agreement in Africa.

It is estimated that climate change could displace between 50 and 200 million by 2050 and Africa hopes COP24 will be a success, especially in finalizing the Paris Agreement Work Program given the challenges the continent is facing due to climate change.