THEMATIC TRACK: Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) & Common African Position


Linking the Common African Position and Post-2015 Development Agenda

As the international community prepares to assess the successes and challenges of the MDGs and finalize the SDGs, also underway is the new climate deal. Determined to be agents of change, Africa’s regional states led by the African Union Commission adopted the initiative of the Common African Position (CAP), which identifies priority areas in the post 2015 development agenda. The CAP provides a useful framework of reference for the continent to further enable the African Group of Negotiators to assert the continent’s position in the global development agenda. However, important questions to be asked are how do we align the CAP/SDGs to Agenda 2063, NEPAD and other development agenda to ensure accountability, transparency and measure achievements. Furthermore, how do we go beyond measurable levels of income and other metrics in attempts to reach the outcomes of poverty eradication and human development emphasized in the CAP? Given the power dynamics at the multilateral negotiations it is important for the continent to garner support with other negotiating structures from the Global South to integrate the CAP into majority positions in the negotiations.

What Kind of Agreement Do We Need in COP 21?

In essence, the agreement that we need in COP21 would have to ensure that the world adapts to the impacts of climate change; and mitigation is taken in hand seriously at a level that would ensure the elimination or reduction of some of the worst impacts of climate change. It would be important to highlight the costs of taking action versus the costs – both economic and non-economic – of inaction. The agreement in COP21 would have to define very specific goals that the world would have to reach in order to ensure minimization of risk to life and property as a result of climate change. As far as tackling climate change is concerned global society would have to ensure that an agreement to be reached in Paris promotes both adaptation and mitigation at the right level and within the right time frame to help safeguard the future of all living species.

Shaping Post 2015 Development Agenda and SDGs: The Role of Africa’s Non-State Actors
Towards shaping inclusive SDGs and post 2015 development agenda are continued dialogues to building partnerships between civil societies, non-governmental constituencies and state actors. It is important for African non-state actors to meaningfully contribute to shaping the content of the post-2015 agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals. There are still opportunities for Africa’s non-state actors to participate in the process through dialogues and ASDS will be one such forum to discuss the content and the means of implementation of the agenda.

THEMATIC TRACK: Structural Economic Transformation


Addressing Africa’s Energy Deficit: Role of Renewables in the Energy Mix
Accounting for over 620 million people without access to modern energy and about 730 million people using inefficient open fires for cooking, Africa is at the forefront of the global energy poverty dilemma. Assessment of the existing energy resources seem to suggest sufficiency, however, these huge renewable energy resources- solar, hydro and wind along coastal countries and geothermal in the Eastern Rift Valley largely remain untapped. The reason being uneven distribution, underdeveloped resources, a difficult climate for investment, technical and political barriers to regional trade remain at the core of Africa’s energy deficit. The World Energy Outlook (WEO) 2014 special report on Africa, reports that by building on successful electrification programmes- such as in Ghana and Rwanda, the total number of people without access starts to decline in 2020 and by 2040 about 950 million people will gain access to electricity. In addition, unlocking the region’s renewable energy potential will contribute almost half to the new electricity supply by 2040. However, with increased population growth over 230 million people mainly in rural areas will remain without electricity by 2040. Bioenergy mainly charcoal and fuelwood outweighs demand for all other forms of energy. This picture is quite bleak with projected 40% increase in bioenergy use leading to deforestation rates even with current efforts to encourage adoption of fuel-efficient stoves and sustainable fuelwood sources.

Disparities In Wealth and Income: Can Green Economy Ensure Africa’s Inclusive Growth?

Governments are moving towards incorporating sustainable and less-labor intensive energy solutions with direct consequences for the large unskilled population. For instance, there is a strong push to move towards sustainable energy sources such as renewables. However, in many places, the majority of households rely on wood and charcoal as the primary source of fuel, which is collected everyday by women. Switching to more renewable energy sources will disrupt the micro-economy and social support systems of many communities. The transformation from a labor intense society towards a more efficient industrial one will undoubtedly have both negative and positive impacts the country’s workforce. As the country transitions, the burden of cost will be shifted to individuals for the benefit of the masses. We need to look at how economic transformation will impact household economic choices and social constructions of communities. Ensuring equitable development is impossible to do without addressing key vulnerable groups. Africa’s youth population outnumbers the adult population in most African countries. Therefore, it is necessary to engage youth in the debate about climate change and sustainable development. Additionally, women, who are the most vulnerable to climate variability, are important to finding practical solutions.

Sustainable Cities and Transport (co-hosted with Africa’s C40 Cities and Addis Ababa Municipality, UN-Habitats)

Due to industrialization, and climate variability, more people are migrating to urban areas, exacerbating many of the already stressed infrastructure and public services.

THEMATIC TRACK: Building Climate Resilience


Impacts of Climate Change on Africa’s Development
Often conflicts in Africa are directly or indirectly related to the challenges of managing natural resources, which are becoming scarcer as the continent’s population continues to grow. Climate change and climate variability further exacerbates these traditional threats and poses serious threats to growth and development with significant impacts on food security, water availability and human health. Furthermore, the impacts of recent extreme weather events also demonstrate the vulnerability of some ecosystems. The geographic range, seasonal activities and migration patterns of many terrestrial, freshwater and marine species have shifted in response to ongoing climate change. The IPCC AR4/AR5 reports Africa as one of the most vulnerable regions to the impacts of climate change. However, given the interdependence amongst world countries, the impacts on Africa’s resources could impact prices, supply chains, trade, investment and political relations in other places.

Private Sector Solutions to Building Climate Resilience
The global discourse on climate change has heavily focused on governments’ role. Nonetheless, private sector engagements are critical to leverage states efforts, mobilize financial resources, and develop innovative climate change mitigation and adaptation technologies and services. The benefits of climate investments by private companies are reduction of risks posed to business from the impacts of rising temperatures and changing rainfall patterns as well as exposure to extreme weather events. For this reason initiatives such as the Private Sector Initiative, a platform established by the UNFCCC,are already engaging private sector in building climate resilience. Through this initiative companies such as Unilever, Nestle, and Enterprise Works/VITA (EWV), Cafédirect PLC and others are partnering with NGOs and or the public sector to implement climate resilient projects. With the aforementioned companies engaged in activities such as the construction of cyclone proof eco-friendly schools in Madagascar; and breeding drought tolerant tea varieties and rootstocks in Kenya and Tanzania among others.

More evidence points to increasing investments in climate mitigation, but to a limited extent in adaptation strategies. While foreign companies are involved, it is critical to engage Africa’s small and medium enterprises constituting the majority of the private sector to acceleratelocal low carbon resilience efforts.

Linking Climate Finance for Development
Climate finance is defined as new and additional financing from developed nations to assist developing nations with their climate mitigation and adaptation strategies. However, with countries increasingly mainstreaming climate change into development, climate and development finance have become more integrally linked with an increasing use of official development assistance for climate purposes. The aim to maximize climate and development results in ways that ensures both climate and sustainable development goals. The OECD 2013 climate finance reports that Africa is the second largest recipient of development finance at 30% in sub-Saharan Africa notably to South Africa, Kenya and Cote d’Ivoire, with significant commitments to Morocco and Egypt. ASDS will present a platform for Africa’s non-state to contribute to the outcomes of the third Climate Finance Conference in July 2015 in Addis Ababa. The deliberations will attempt to clarify the myriad complexities surrounding climate finance and the lessons learned from constraints faced by the region in assessing fast track financing and ways to improve these for long term financing.


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