Addis Ababa — During the recently concluded African Union Summit, the African Climate Policy Centre (ACPC) partnered with the Pan-African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA) in hosting an event on Low-Carbon, Climate-Resilient Development.
The event attracted more than 100 participants drawn from the civil society, the climate research community, practitioners and international organizations. Deliberations over the three days of the event were structured into three themes: i) African regional post-COP23 review and dialogue; ii) agriculture in negotiations and trends in a divided world; and iii) sustaining conversations on renewable energy and energy transition: what's the progress on flagship renewable energy initiatives in Africa?
As an opportunity to enrich the discourse around low-carbon, climate-resilient, green development pathways, the Summit presented a defining moment to share perspectives and emerging developments particularly after the UNFCCC-COP23 in Bonn, Germany.
At the opening ceremony, James Murombedzi, ACPC's Officer in Charge, outlined the ACPC's mandate since its inception in 2011 and underscored the centre's commitment and role in the side event, in pursuit of the objectives of Goal 13 of the SDGs - taking urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts.
On his part, Mithika Mwenda, PACJA Secretary General, reiterated that climate change is a development issue in that it impacts sectors such as agriculture, water, energy, health and transport.
In recent years, climate change has acquired major political attention among other pressing priorities of top African leadership. It is essential that the gains so far achieved be safeguarded through continuous engagement at the Summit, along other platforms such as African Ministerial Conference on the Environment and ClimDev-Africa Programme.
In this respect, the Committee of Heads of State and Governments on Climate Change (CAHOSCC), mandated at the highest level and currently coordinated by the Gabonese President, becomes the central political lever for coordination during the Summit, to ensure that decisions of the leaders embrace an inclusive paradigm.
As the first Pan-African convergence after the COP23, and based on the cross-section of stakeholders present during the Summit, the event provided an opportunity to exchange ideas and reflections on Africa's victories during the Bonn Climate Change Conference, with a view to charting a collective path towards subsequent global dialogue processes on the subject.
Indeed, this was urgent in view of the highly-anticipated global stock-take exercise on the Paris Agreement, which will be at the centre-stage of all climate change discourses across the globe in 2018.
Highlights of the side event included i) Modalities for financing smallholder and women farmers; ii) Addressing agriculture, food security, and climate change under the UNFCCC; iii) Christian Aid's big shift campaign - Africa (which seeks to catalyze development of clean energy) and Africa Women Energy Entrepreneurs Framework- AWEEF.
The event culminated in the following recommendations which were sent for consideration by the Heads of States Summit:
Deeply concerned about the challenge on access to information on governments' work and engagement in the climate change discourse including the climate change negotiations at the decision-making levels, the Pan African Parliament consider designing and facilitating through appropriate mechanisms easy access to information by stakeholders in Africa.
Call upon African leaders and the African Group of Negotiators (AGN) to consider a shift in climate change negotiation processes that ensures active and effective involvement of African parliamentarians in such processes at various global and regional negotiation fronts.
Call upon the African Group of Negotiators (AGN) to engage key stakeholders in Africa as parties define critical issues within the Paris Rulebook this year and deeply internalize and maintain common position within the purview of the Talanoa dialogue process.