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Operationalising the NDCs in Africa: "Think in terms of development opportunities, not obstacles or challenges"


To make a success of the implementation of the nationally determined contributions (NDCs) in Africa, consideration must be given to adopting special legislation on climate and the fight against corruption. This may be a quite a challenge, but it also promises great opportunities.

This was the conclusion of a panel discussion hosted on Monday 10th December, 2018, on Day 7 of the 24th Conference of the Parties (COP24), by the African Development Bank in its Pavilion. The session was jointly organised by the Africa Low Emission Development Strategies Global Partnership (LEDs) and the Pan African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA), a continent-wide coalition of African civil society organizations.

The African Development Bank was able to share its experiences of the value and potential of shared practices as part of the implementation of the NDCs and low-carbon development strategies. PACJA has worked with the Pan-African Parliament (PAP) to strengthen the commitment of African parliamentarians in the fight against climate change and to integrate these strategies into their policies, plans and programmes at national and continental levels.

Legislate and compensate

Alain Kouadio, representing the Côte d’Ivoire Ministry of Environment, underlined the need for African countries to find the right balance between achieving the NDCs and their own development, since restrictions imposed on the use of fossil fuels could potentially impede economic development. He called for the establishment of a mechanism for compensation, particularly financial, so that Africa can develop quickly without harming the environment in the process.

He took the opportunity to remind the meeting of the Côte d’Ivoire NDC: to achieve a 28% reduction in the use of fossil fuels by 2030, in the knowledge that currently only 22% of the country's energy is from renewable sources and 78% is from kerosene and paraffin.  

Mr Kouadio also stressed the need for monitoring climate funding, raising the issue of corruption and calling for specific climate legislation. "The greatest plague in Africa is corruption, and that is why our laws have to be clear, precise and transparent." .

"Think in terms of development opportunities, not obstacles"

Carl Wessenlink, director of SouthSouthNorth, emphasised the importance of dialogue between policy makers and civil society for the successful implementation of the NDCs. Mithika Mwenda, director of the PACJA network, referred to the need to create ‘a meeting platform' where members of civil society could question politicians, investors and economic operators on the decisions and policy measures taken by politicians and on the business development models adopted by investors and economic operators, in regard to the fight against climate change.

Carl Wessenlink also stressed the need to be free from aid dependency: "We need to put an end to the mistaken logic of the hand-out. Instead, we must develop the capacities of African communities to communicate regularly with their peers, to strengthen partnerships and connections, and promote regional trade. We need to think in terms of development opportunities, not obstacles or challenges."

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