Climate for Development in Africa Committee Vows Partners Will Stay the Course
The 4th Session of the Steering Committee Meeting of the Climate for Development in Africa (ClimDev-Africa) Initiative opened in Tunis, Tunisia, on Wednesday, March 6 with a strong commitment from partners to do whatever it takes to ensure that the program contributes effectively towards the fight against climate change impacts on Africa.
The African Union Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture, Tumusiime Rhoda Peace, told the opening session of the two-day meeting that, despite the immense challenges climate change poses to the continent, the united front mounted by partners within the ClimDev-Africa Program would be equal to the task.
The three lead partners of the ClimDev-Africa Initiative are the African Union Commission (AUC), the UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) and the African Development Bank (AfDB).
AfDB Vice-President Sector Operation in charge of Governance, Agriculture and Human Development, Aly Abou-Sabaa, reassured members of the Bank’s unwavering support and continued readiness to work against climate change impacts within the ClimDev-Africa Initiative.
Fatima Denton, Coordinator of the African Climate Policy Centre (ACPC) and Acting Director of ECA’s Food Security and Sustainable Development Division, unveiled the 2013 work plan for ClimDev-Africa, stressing the new focus for the three partner institutions to deliver as one.
ACPC hosts the secretariat of ClimDev-Africa. In that capacity, Denton presented a comprehensive report on the ClimDev-Africa activities for the 2011–2012 period, highlighting successes in the areas of research, support to pilot projects at country level as well as in the provision of strategic support to the African Group of Negotiators (AGN).
Denton also told the session of the challenges that ClimDev-Africa and, indeed, ACPC face as a result of multiple and incessant demands for assistance that the centre receives from countries, regional entities and civil society organizations.
Committee members lauded the progress report presented by Denton, but called for extra effort to ensure that ClimDev-Africa works within its original mandate, despite the extensive ramifications that climate change has on Africa’s development.
Abdirahman Beleih, Acting Director of the Agricultural and Agro-Industry Department of the African Development Bank, underscored the uniqueness of ClimDev-Africa and said the AfDB has extensive activities on climate change.
ClimDev-Africa could tap into lessons learnt from some of these activities as it sharpens its focus across the continent, he said.
Abebe Haile Gabriel, Director of Agriculture and Rural Economy at AUC, who is chairing the session took the opportunity to welcome Denton, who recently came on board as the Coordinator of the African Climate Policy Centre.
Members called on the ClimDev-Africa Secretariat to urgently put in place a vigorous communication strategy for a sustained campaign exercises, not just to inform the general public on the program activities, but also to keep partners informed on progress and challenges that ClimDev-Africa faces.
Within the ClimDev-Africa family, the Climate Change Desertification Unit (CCDU) of the AUC is responsible for leading the activities under the “build political will” action. Political will behind the improvement of climate information for development at the level of AUC member states and supra-national level of the African Heads of States and Ministerial councils is of paramount importance to the success of ClimDev-Africa.
The African Climate Policy Centre (ACPC) at ECA is tasked to “establish the policy basis” for actions and investments in climate information and climate resilient policy development. Without this policy basis – that extends to making the economic case for investments in, and policy use of, climate information services – it is unlikely that African countries will adhere to and prioritize the objectives that ClimDev-Africa promotes.
The ClimDev Special Fund (CDSF), which is located at the AfDB, provides the financial resources and through grants the incentive structure for national agencies, regional bodies and other stakeholders to design and implement climate information services and policy projects. The CDSF will manage the investments through the challenge fund and, in so doing, provide the major point of leverage available to ClimDev-Africa.
These partners are united in the belief that for each of the actions to succeed, there needs to be a lead core organization, but the other two core partners will support each other’s actions.