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Building Partnerships to deliver Africa’s Paris Agreement commitments


African countries made ambitious commitments to respond to climate change in their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) - a set of commitments necessqry for determining progress and raising ambition since the Paris Agreement came into effect in November 2016. As of November 2018, 189 Parties to the UNFCCC had ratified their NDCs, including 90% of African countries.

During the NDC’s Implementation Thematic Day at the African Development Bank Pavilion at COP24, a diverse range of sessions were held covering topics such as Integrating Gender into NDCs and National Climate Actions in AfricaSupporting Regional NDC Hubs (Africa, Pacific and the Caribbean NDC Hubs), Communities of Practice, policy formulation & implementation for supporting electrification and implementation of scalable NDC-related interventions and the GGGI/AfDB Green Growth Assessment Report.

The urgency of action has become critical as latest scientific findings indicate unprecedented levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere; the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in its recent report, Global Warming of 1.5°C,  gives the sternest warnings on the urgent need to stem global temperature rise and consequent adverse effects of climate change.

The African Development Bank has established the Africa NDC Hub which brings together key partners to support NDC implementation in Africa. This is in line with the Paris Agreement (para 45) which calls for strengthening of regional cooperation and the establishment of regional centres and networks, in particular in developing countries.

Most NDCs submitted by African countries were hastily put together and in most cases did not take long term effects on national development goals into consideration. Consequently, they do not truly reflect national needs and potential to fully contribute to global targets for achieving a low-carbon and climate-resilient pathway by mid-century. 

The Africa NDC Hub particularly focuses on three areas, including fostering long-term climate action, mobilizing means for implementation and coordination, advocacy and partnerships.

Anthony Nyong, the African Development Bank’s  Director for Climate Change and Green Growth, pointed out that there is still a lot of work to be done to make these NDCs effective for Africa:

“These NDCs do not address most of what is required for mitigation for poor African countries, most of whom are just not getting the funds they need. Finance is a major issue in the implementation of the NDCs. Africa will need about 3 trillion dollars; how do we make this happen? This money does not lie in the public office. It’s money from the private sector.

We need to unlock these critical resources to support the development of every African country. We are working to see how we can create an enabling environment to attract the right funding. Partnerships will help us go further, faster - no institution sitting here can do it alone.”

One particular issue that was highlighted as critical to the successful implementation of the NDCs was gender equality. Mafalda Duarte, Head of the Climate Investment Funds, pointed out that integrating this into all NDC activity is vital if we are going to achieve the change we need to.  “We need to recognise in advance the role of women in national climate goals and investment plans and either we integrate this into every single programmme or that we propose, fund, implement and monitor. When we talk about women’s leadership, we mean at every level - from communities to national climate negotiations. We need to build up gender-positive practices that extend beyond the life of these programmes.”

Raymond Kasei of the African Group of Negotiators Expert Support (AGNES), mentioned that gender inequality still exists in many areas because it is deeply rooted in social systems.

Kasei, along with many others during the panel, mentioned the lack of data around gender being a real issue: “If there’s no data then there’s no baseline or tracking of progress.”  He concluded by saying that “once gender is put into planning stage and budgeted, action is taken. Otherwise it will be get lost on the way.”

Across the board, countries admitted that the NDCs could only be achieved if more investment is made available to African countries. Crispin d’auvergne, from OECS wondered : ‘How do we incentivise adaptation efforts? We need to convert the NDCs into key bankable projects.”

The Hub will ensure effective transformation of NDCs into bankable and implementable projects that are underpinned by rigorous analytical work and which significantly draw upon the synergies of ongoing regional, national and sectoral efforts.

The Africa NDC Hub builds on the Bank’s solid active participation in Africa’s development including managing climate initiatives and climate funds.

Click here for the best of the day in photos. 

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