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Bank Assists African Countries Better Understand and Prepare NAMAs

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Even though Africa contributes roughly 7% of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, the continent can play an important role in mitigating the GHGs emissions and reducing the harmful impacts of climate change. Determining which actions to take is a complex process, but developing nations have been given latitude to propose nationally appropriate measures to contribute to global mitigation efforts while taking into account their development objectives.

These could be achieved through the implementation of Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions (NAMA). Understanding the NAMA concept and submitting proposals to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) has been a challenge for many African nations, but the African Development Bank (AfDB) is currently helping ensure the continent is in good position to take advantage of the opportunities that NAMAs present.

As of July 2011, only 20 African countries had submitted NAMAs to the UNFCCC. To raise the number, the Bank hosted a side event and a one-day training workshop during the Africa Carbon Forum (4-7 July 2011 in Marrakesh, Morocco) to help 24 regional member countries (RMC) better understand and prepare NAMAs. Training focused on building capacities to design and implement NAMAs that can take advantage of the green climate fund when it becomes effective.

Eleven countries that attended the Marrakesh training have gone on to submit their NAMAs to the UNFCCC. The Bank is now supporting an additional 13 countries in their efforts to develop frameworks, to be approved at the national level, summarizing their national policies and key strategies for reducing GHG emissions. The goal is to complete this work before the UN Climate Change Conference of Parties (COP 17) in Durban, South Africa in December 2011.

Following COP17, the Bank proposes to continue supporting the development of NAMAs in Africa with additional capacity building initiatives for RMCs and a series of case studies to analyze the challenges and opportunities to strengthening the implementation of NAMAs in certain sectors, particularly energy, transport, agriculture, forestry and waste management. Results will be broadly shared to help inform the continuing dialogue on NAMAs. The Bank’s NAMA efforts are being led by its Agriculture and Agro Industry Department and its Quality Assurance and Results Department.

NAMAs Still Evolving

While NAMAs provide a vehicle to recognize African countries’ mitigation efforts and create a platform to support these actions, the concept is still evolving. Originally introduced in 2007 at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Bali, negotiations have since then failed to clearly define what NAMAs are. Views also differ on the institutional structure needed to support NAMAs, as well as ways to measure, report and verify actions. There is also no consensus on the modalities of elaboration and registration of the NAMAs, technology transfer, or financing modalities.

Despite the lack of clarity related to NAMA’s implementation modalities and procedures, Africa cannot afford to lag behind as it did with the Clean Development Mechanism, while developing nations in Asia and Latin America have generated substantial revenues from sales of certified emission reductions (CERs). As the future of the CDM remains uncertain, NAMAs will likely take a prominent place in international negotiations for mitigating GHG emissions.

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