Africa Climate Talks (ACT!) is here again. The second session of the third edition of the highly intensive Africa Climate Talks (ACT!) concluded today, 18 May 2021.
The United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) in partnership with University of Cabo Verde hosted the elaborate two-day timetable that brought together over 120 participants, representing leading climate voices and actors in Africa.
The third Africa Climate Talks (ACT!) is part of a webinar series by the African Climate Policy Centre (ACPC) of the ECA pursuing the theme, “Climate Change and Development in Africa: African perspectives on climate resilient recovery from COVID-19”. This edition was held virtually.
Inaugurated in 2015 the African Climate Talks serves as an all-inclusive climate change and development dialogue forum. This climate meeting serves as a dialogue space for continental stakeholders to engage in open discourses aimed at catalysing emerging African perspectives on the most pressing concerns around climate change and development.
“The objective of the 3rd Africa Climate Talks explored the convergence of the COVID-19 and climate crises and what this means for vulnerable communities and global climate governance and action during and beyond the pandemic.” Jean-Paul Adam the Director, Technology, Climate Change and Natural Resource Management Division at the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) says.
According to Adam, the second session of the 3rd ACT! broke new ground especially for African Small Island Developing States (SIDS) by interrogating ideas aimed at building resilient economies through green and blue economic pathways. Africa’s island nations have braved economic downturn as their tourism sectors are depressed due to the pandemic’s travel restrictions. The island states are also contending with the threats of ocean acidification and sea-level rise.
The deliberations and resolutions from this all-engaging forum contributes to the realization of Africa’s Agenda 2063 and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through climate resilient development.
James Murombedzi who heads the African Climate Policy Centre (ACPC) noted that the ACT! brings together Africa’s academia, civil society, private sector, regional institutions and development partners to stimulate a pan-African discourse aimed at contributing to the consolidation of African narratives on how to better respond to climate change in the era of COVID-19 and beyond.
The congregation of the 2021 ACT! forum comes on the backdrop of the unprecedented social and economic challenges emanating from the Covid-19 pandemic crisis. According to Murombedzi, the centerpiece of the ACT! discussions delved on the triple global storm of Covid-19, climate change and economic deceleration. Solutions offering low-carbon, climate resilient economies, decent jobs, and alternative sustainable development pathways pursuing the goal of the Paris Agreement were highlights of the ACT! deliberations.
“There are many similarities between the Covid-19 pandemic and climate change crises, as well as significant divergences.” Murombedzi says. “Both crises pose an existential threat to Africa and are suffering the consequences of disinformation and “infodemics.”
According to Murombedzi, the third ACT! attempted to find out how the lessons and experiences of dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic can be harnessed to promote green and blue resilient recovery. It also sought to find out pathways for Africa’s climate informed post pandemic reconstruction through concerted global partnerships, solidarity, and a strong multilateral framework.
This year’s ACT is significant as the Atlantic Ocean island nation of Cabo Verde will be the host of the premier continental climate platform, the Ninth Climate Change and Development in Africa (CCDA-IX) Conference to be held from 23 to 27, August 2021.
The organizational framework of the second Session of the third Africa Climate Talks entailed five breakout groups to facilitate consolidation of key messages. The first group dealt with what Africa should seek to leverage from COP 26, and how this can be done. Africa’s voice and agency in the global climate governance and geopolitical landscape – lessons from Africa’s journey in the UNFCCC process for the COVID-19 era and beyond was the core task of the second group.
The third group mulled over building resilience and innovative ideas for African solutions to Africa’s climate and recovery challenges. The constitution of climate justice and a just recovery together with transition for Africa was the mandate of the fourth group. The final group addressed the issue of tapping the green and blue economy for African SIDS and coastal economies alongside challenges and opportunities beyond COVID-19.
How to realize and ensure the means of holistic implementation of sustainable solutions, built on the firm UNFCCC foundation of the common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities of countries also were key pillars of discussion at this session of the talks.
The enhancement of Africa’s voice and agency in the global climate governance and resulting geopolitical landscape in the era of COVID-19 and beyond is one of three expected outcomes of the second session of the third Africa Climate Talks.
The second expected outcome is a better understanding on how to leverage the linkages between climate change, the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting economic crisis to build forward for an African green and resilient future beyond the pandemic. The final anticipated outcome is for strengthened regional strategies and global frameworks for a just transition towards resilient economies and attainment of the goals of the Paris Agreement.
“The ACT! forum is a series of academia led dialogue spaces which is aimed at stimulating a wide-ranging discourse informed by emerging African common positions on pertinent issues in the Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change governance processes.” Murombedzi says.