INDCs: Absence of data, means of implementation may affect Africa

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Although the objective of the Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) is definitive, most of them lack both practical and technical methods of implementation.

The INDCs combine the top-down system of a United Nations climate agreement with a bottom-up system through which countries put forward their agreements in the context of their own national circumstances, capabilities and priorities, within the ambition to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions enough to keep global temperatures from rising beyond 2 degrees Celsius.

Touted as most ambitious climate action plans, most INDCs from data- and tool-scarce countries of Africa do not have a clear means of implementation. This, according to a group of experts who have analysed them, is the deterring factor in achieving mitigation targets in relation to land use and agriculture.

Speaking during the side event at the Africa Pavilion of the COP21 conference in Paris, Youba Sokona, who is Vice-Chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), said that climate data is important in addressing climate change.

Making his presentation on harnessing mitigation and adaptation and co-benefits in INDCs, Alexandre Meybeck of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations said that most countries have not included adaptation in their INDCs especially countries in Annex I, while most African countries have included adaptation and agriculture.

According to the assessment of the INDCs, Meybeck said in adaptation most countries mention that the most vulnerable sectors are agriculture, water and ecosystems.

“As a means of achieving their goals, out of the 122 parties, 113 mention agriculture while 98% mention forestry and land use change as tool for addressing climate change. Forests and land use are often attached to agriculture,” he said.

Award-winning author and Yale University lecturer Eric Toensmier of Perennial Solutions said carbon farming is one tool that can be used to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Carbon farming helps capture and hold carbon in vegetation and soils. It is one way of managing land, water, plants and animals to meet the triple challenge of landscape restoration, climate change and food security.

Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) have submitted their climate action pledges that aim to cut down greenhouse gas emissions.

The INDCs not only contain steps taken towards emission reductions, but also aim to address steps taken to adapt to climate change impacts, and what support the country needs or will provide to address climate change.