Africities Kisumu: Africities Climate Day “Mobilizing intermediary cities to win the race towards carbon neutrality and the race towards resilience”

Context and objectives – Africities Climate Days

The Africities Summits have been held every three years since 1998, when the first meeting was held in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire. This 9th edition is being held for the first time in an intermediary city, in Kisumu, Kenya, under the theme of “The role of intermediary cities in Africa in the implementation of the United Nations’ 2030 Agenda and the African Union’s Agenda 2063”.

The choice of an intermediary city in Africa is in itself a real organizational and logistical challenge, which was however successfully met.

During this edition, the Climate, Biodiversity and Food Systems Department’s mission was to organize the second edition of “Climate Days” on May 17 and 18, 2022, under the theme “Mobilizing intermediary cities to win the race towards carbon neutrality and the race towards resilience”.

The work organized within this framework takes place in a context marked by the climate emergency repeatedly underlined by the IPCC, which calls for immediate implementation of the Paris Agreement. Indeed, despite the fact that COP26 made it possible to record significant progress in the implementation of the international climate agenda, in particular by finalizing the rules of the Paris Agreement, it nevertheless highlighted the urgency to act according to a holistic approach and strengthened multilevel collaboration.

In this context, and with a view to strengthening Africa’s position in the implementation of the Climate Agenda, the priority themes targeted in the Climate Days were in line with the issues and concerns expressed by local communities, following a long consultation process that targeted the 5 sub-regions of Africa, in order to strengthen their resilience and their capacity to adapt to climate change. These key priorities are closely linked to the African Union’s Agenda 2063 and the position of the African group in charge of climate negotiations.

The main goal of these climate days was to provide an opportunity to develop a clear roadmap towards COP27 to place the challenges of African cities and territories at the heart of the climate agenda. The goal was also to foster the conditions for structured multi-level collaboration supported by policies, programs, and actions for local governments, in order to win the race towards carbon neutrality “Race to Zero” and towards increased resilience “Race to Resilience”.

The specific goals were:

To unify and strengthen the voice of the actors of the networks of cities and territories with a view to:

– amplify and maximize the power of advocacy for a holistic approach and a multi-level implementation framework in the process of operationalizing the Paris Agreement,

– Put in place a joint roadmap to include the imperatives of the territorialization of adaptation/resilience measures and access to financing at the subnational level at the heart of the COP27 priorities.

To strengthen the operational framework for the intervention of local authorities through a renewed partnership framework through:

– The signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Pan-African Climate Justice Alliance – PACJA and the Caisse des Dépôts et des Consignations du Gabon – CDC Gabon;
– The operationalization of the MoU between UCLG Africa and the Global Center for Adaptation – GCA;
– The establishment of a partnership for the implementation of the initiative “Building Climate Resilience for the Urban Poor”( BCRUP)
– The launch of consultation and corporate partnership for the launch of the Roster of African Experts on Climate Change (REACC);
– The consolidation of the structuring and mobilization of the Mayors’ commitment framework: “Race To Zero” and “Race To Resilience”;
– The organization of the Round Table of African Mayors for Water Security;
– The launch of a prefiguration phase of the waste initiative, in partnership with the United Nations Environment Program – UNEP.

– To strengthen the capacities of local authorities by launching a “Readiness” initiative for the East and Southern Africa region.

Schedule of activities

The work of this day, which mobilized a large number of personalities and participants, including mayors and local elected representatives representing the 5 sub-regions of Africa, constituted an essential milestone in the Action Agenda of the Partnership of Marrakech, insofar as the priority focus areas have been identified and shared with the presidency of COP27, in particular the Champion Mr. Mahmoud Mohieldin, namely:

Multilevel governance;
Adaptation / Resilience;
Capacity building;
Access to Climate Finance, including through carbon offsetting.

Climate activities during the Africities Summit in Kisumu:

High Level Political Segment

This segment saw the participation of the US Special Presidential Envoy for Climate, Mr. John Kerry, the Executive Secretary of the Framework Convention on Climate Change, Ms. Patricia Espinosa, and the CEO of the Global Center on Adaptation (GCA), Mr. Patrick Verkooijen, who delivered video messages of great strategic significance.
(Videos of Mr. John Kerry’s speech here)
( Videos of Ms. Patricia Espinosa’s speech here)
(Videos of Mr. Patrick Verkooijen’s speech here )

The debate was structured around 3 sessions:
– Structured dialogue around multilevel governance;
– Issues of Local Governments and their link with the position of the African Group of Negotiators;
– Advocating for direct access of local authorities to climate finance.

This segment was marked by a contribution from the COP27 Champion, who presented the roadmap of the Marrakech Agenda for Action and the place of local authorities in its implementation; this presentation was followed by a press conference (See the video of the Press Conference here).

Participants in this segment reaffirmed the role and central position of Local Governments in accelerating the process of achieving the Goals of the Paris Agreement as sub-national actors are essential to help bridge the gap between ambitious national objectives and the concrete actions required on the ground. Therefore, climate action can no longer be seen as a top-down and bottom-up (NDCs/LDCs) approach. Thus, multilevel governance is in this respect the cornerstone for succeeding in the challenge of carbon neutrality and the race towards resilience.

The exchanges and the sharing of experiences have shown the importance of grasping the context of the extreme climate emergency to reactivate and strengthen a structured dialogue for vertical and horizontal cooperation and to work towards greater integration and inclusiveness according to an approach holistic for the implementation of climate projects. In this context, and in order to strengthen the exchange and sharing of experiences and to make the voice of local authorities more audible during the various negotiation processes during the Conferences of Parties (COPs), it was recommended to organize a solutions forum dedicated to local authorities at the next COPs.

All the participants also pointed to the need to strengthen the weak link between planning and implementation, which is most often the direct access of local and regional governments to climate finance.

The issue of capacity building took an important part of the debate insofar as it was recommended to set up a “Readiness” program targeting local authorities in the 5 sub-regions of Africa in order to better fit into the dynamics of implementation of the climate agenda.

The development of nature-based solutions was also highlighted, which will allow an alignment of the climate agenda and the protection of biodiversity.

High Level Technical Segment

The goal of the technical segment was to translate the priority axes into concrete actions on the ground. To do this, priority themes have been identified, namely:

– The Territorialization of the Nationally Determined Contributions – NDCs through the concept of Sustainable Energy Access and Climate Action Plan LDC (SEACAP LDC).
– Decentralized cooperation on climate and energy access through the Covenant of Mayors for Sub-Saharan Africa (CoM SSA)
– Sustainable waste management,
– Air quality,
– Water security in the context of adaptation to Climate Change,
– Climate finance for the benefit of resilient infrastructure in intermediary cities.

The course of the various sessions saw the participation of the 4 key players in the implementation, namely the Ministers, the local elected officials, the development partners, and the non-governmental organizations – NGOs. At the end of the proceedings, important recommendations were issued, in particular:

– The formalization of the consideration of SEACAP issues, which should lead to the strengthening of the Bottom-Up approach and multi-level governance;
– The structuring of decentralized cooperation around the two central themes of water and waste according to a circular economy approach. As such, cities should be mobilized around the “Roundtable of Mayors for Water Security” initiative launched by the OECD and UCLG Africa;
– The removal of barriers to direct access by local authorities to climate finance;
– Strengthening of coordination between the various actors of city networks such as: ICLEI – C40 – Climate Chance – UCLG Africa…
– The mobilization of cities to join the air quality program piloted by C40;
– Allowing local and regional governments to benefit from the carbon market, following the example of Gabon.

The climate day was crowned by the adoption of the Kisumu declaration on climate which calls for taking into account the imperatives of the climate emergency to position local governments at the heart of the priorities of the COP27 goals, and reaffirms the need to strengthen the dialogue between the various stakeholders and in particular the development partners for direct access to climate finance for local authorities. (Read the Kisumu Climate Declaration here)

See photos of the climate day sessions here
See the interview of Mr. Mahmoud Youssry Shaarawy, Egyptian Minister of Local Development