Nairobi — Africa will not successfully implement the sustainable development agenda and it's 50-year development plan, Agenda 2063, if urgent climate actions are not taken now, Mr. James Murombedzi, Officer in Charge of the Economic Commission for Africa's African Climate Policy Center (ACPC), said Monday.
Speaking ahead of the 7th Climate Change and Development in Africa (CCDA7), which opens in Nairobi on Wednesday, Mr. Murombedzi said the continent needs to urgently adopt climate resilient development pathways if it is to survive the adverse impacts of climate change.
The CCDA-VII is being organized in partnership with the Kenyan government and the PanAfrican Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA).
Mr. Murombedzi's comments come in the wake of the Special Report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) on a global warming of 1.5 degrees centigrade published on October 8, 2018.
The report calls for urgent action to phase out fossil fuels and warns that there is only 12 years to be kept to a maximum of 1.5C and avoid catastrophic environmental breakdown.
"Africa is already suffering from the adverse impacts of climate change even though it contributes far less to greenhouse emissions," said Mr. Murombedzi.
"We need a global approach towards climate resilient development pathways to ensure that warming is limited to 1,5 degrees Celsius and hence not derail Africa's development renaissance and aspirations."
Mr. Murombedzi said the IPCC report means that climate actions are not only urgent for Africa but also for those responsible for the warming.
"This report is particularly important because a global 1.5C warmer world (compared to pre-industrial) will see several regions worldwide experiencing temperature higher warming - 3 degrees in the case of Africa," he said.
He added concerted efforts are needed globally, especially to ensure the effective implementation of the Paris Agreement.
"That is why at CCDA-VII we believe that that countries have to start planning for a warmer climate than previously expected so this means we need to review all the different climate actions and proposals to ensure that we can in fact not only survive in a 3C warmer environment but still be able to meet our sustainable development objectives and our Agenda 2063," said Mr. Murombedzi.
He added; "We also need urgent action to ensure there's an enabling environment for the participation of key actors, that is non-state actors, like civil society, private sector and subnational entities in the climate change discourse."
The CCDA-VII is this year focusing on the theme; 'Policies and actions for effective implementation of the Paris Agreement for resilient economies in Africa.'
Its main purpose is to explore ways through which State and non-state actors, particularly civil society, private sector, subnational entities and academia, can support the implementation of the Paris Agreement, said Mr. Mithika Mwenda, Secretary General of the PanAfrican Climate Justice Alliance
"So for Africa we would really like to explore ways by which state and non-state actors can ensure that the ambition of the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) is increased so that the continent can achieve the sustainable development goals and Agenda 2063," Mr. Mwenda said.
"From this meeting we seek to come up with strategies for increasing the resilience of African economies, particularly in the sectors of agriculture, energy, water, infrastructure and ecosystems in order to reduce impacts of climate change. This means we need to move beyond negotiations between the parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and start focusing on green growth strategies from different stakeholders," he said.
Mr. Murombedzi said the CCDA will look at ways of ensuring that the global climate governance framework becomes responsive to challenges that have already been experienced by Africa in terms of climate change and also focus on building partnerships for coordinated engagement on climate change and sustainable development.
The deliberations from CCDA-VII will also contribute to the 2018 UNFCCC reflection and dialogue on where parties are with climate action, where they want to go and how they get there (Talanoa Dialogue), particularly with regards to means of implementation which are finance, capacity building, technology transfer and partnerships.
Stakeholders who will attend the CCDA-VII include representatives from national governments, local governments, civil society organizations, private sector, farmer organizations, climate scientists, researchers and policymakers.
The youth will also attend the conference as a key constituency that can help in the development of climate policies and strategies at all levels and also exploring potential youth contribution in climate innovations.