How to build the capacity of African territories to access climate finance?

In order to materialize the UCLG Africa’s vision to build the capacity of African territories to access climate finance with the aim firstly to train local experts to develop funding applications and secondly to provide ongoing technical assistance

two meetings were held in the month of February respectively between Mr. François Paul Yatta, Program Director at UCLG Africa, M. Pierre Radanne, an expert on energy and environmental issues, President of the association “Dossiers et Débats pour le Développement Durable” on 8 February 2017 in Paris, and Mr. Stéphane Pouffary, Director General of the ENERGIES 2050 NGO, in the city of Nice (South-East France).

Selected pieces of thekey lessons learned:

This mission aimed at materializing the request of UCLG Africa to build the capacity of African territoriesto access climate finance, in order in the first place to train local experts to develop funding applications, and, on the other hand, to provide for permanent technical assistance.

The meeting in Paris on February 08 with M. Pierre Radanne, an expert on energy and environmental issues, President of the association “Dossiers et Débats pour le Développement Durable, made it possible to set the scene and analyze avenues available to local officials. The debate highlighted the fact that local governments have not been informed of the practical modalities to access climate funds.

In the Paris Agreement, it is the United Nations members, namely the national governments, that are the decision-makers . Local governments are observers and not decision-makers.

The various countries have made commitments under  the Paris agreements. The contributions are determined nationally: each country will decide what to do by 2030. Developing countries can take mitigation measures only provided they have access to international funding and technology transfer. It was therefore decided that financial resources would be allocated within the strategy for the realization of their national contributions. The commitments shall start in 2020. Financing may not be granted to territories without consolidation  being made  nationally in terms of commitments to be achieved.

In addition, the territories have different resources and capacities. Advocating for direct access of territories to international financing  presents the risk that the money might go to capital cities and large cities and not rural areas for example.

Faced with these constraints, territories nevertheless have ways to benefit from climate finance.

Thus, it is necessary that the territories prepare projects, go and see their national bodies, and make them understand   they are essential players in order to get financing. This implies that the territories must be involved right from the beginning in the various processes. The Monitoring – Reporting – Verification (MRV) process under the Paris Agreement calls for the involvement of local authorities in the development, implementation and monitoring and evaluation of actions.This requires that the territories shouldinvoke this provision so as to beinvolved in the various processes.

The secondalternativeis for regions to use the crosscutting channel of coalitions.The UN has decided that coalitions in order to be credible must includecountries (whether developed or not), companies (eg low-carbon cement industry), NGOs, banks, scientists, and local governments.One must thereforemobilize African countries to be part of the coalition.It is crucial to file the applications sufficiently in advance before 2020.

  1. Discussionsin the city of Nice with Stéphane Pouffary,Director General of the ENERGIESNGO, dealt with the practical arrangements foroperationalizing the request of UCLG Africaconcerning access of African territories to climate finance.Three projects are proposed:

–          Advocacy document.The question of the climate approach from the point of view of the African territories requires a pedagogical effort to better explain how such an approach is different. Adaptation is best suited so that African territories – unlike the other European territories for example – can provide their populations with low-carbon services.

–          Training.It is indeed important to initiate training of African territories to climate finance.

–          Technical assistance: establishment of permanent technical assistance to help territories develop and acceptprojects under the Green Climate Fund.