COP23 provided a framework for the presentation of the report produced by UCLG Africa and ENERGIES 2050 entitled, ‘Challenges and Opportunities for the Territorializing of Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) in Africa: Role of cities and governments in Africa in the implementation of national strategies to fight climate change.
The realization of this document by the two organizations culminates from the conviction that in order to achieve the implementation of the Paris Agreement on Climate the involvement of cities and territories is essential to transform the “forecasts” in concrete actions. Indeed, studies show that even if all the NDC commitments were met, they would not assist in maintaining the level of temperature warming at 2°C and even less at 1.5°C, by 2100. The challenge is therefore not only implementing, but also raising the level of ambition of the stakeholders.
“If the central governments succeed in decentralizing their NDCs and it is in a positive complicity with the local governments, one can imagine that not only the developing countries will achieve their goals, they will also provide better living conditions for the people and can even contribute to achieving an ambition which is greater than the one set by the central governments,” declared Dr. Stéphane Pouffary, President of ENERGIES 2050.
The Director of Programs of UCLG Africa, Dr. François Yatta, emphasized the two major reasons that motivated UCLG Africa to produce this report. “In 30 years, Africa will be the main human home and the main urban home of the world. The continent will be one of the heavyweights of these issues on climate. Cities account for 70% of emissions in Africa. It is therefore important to take cities into account and to territorialize the implementation of NDCs. These are two major reasons that prompted UCLG Africa to produce this report to achieve not only the SDGs but also to contribute to the reduction of emissions under the Paris Agreement.”
The report addresses 5 dimensions that help to anchor the role of cities and territories in the implementation of NDCs. These are “governance that recalls both vertical governance and horizontal governance, the issues related to sensitization and information that UCLG Africa has already been providing through its climate taskforce, the dimension of development of the integrated climate compatible territorial plans, the issue of funding, the climate change measurement issues at the local level and the MRV (Measurement, Reporting and Verification) monitoring systems,” explained Dr. François Yatta.
Extract from the Foreword to the report
The role of local governments and other subnational authorities is unanimously considered to be crucial, particularly with regard to their greenhouse gas emissions (especially in the cities), their vulnerability to the impact of climate deregulations, as well as to their knowledge of the specificities of their territories and the opportunities for potential actions to be carried out in the areas of both mitigation and adaptation.
On the occasion of the Summits held on the sidelines of the Climate Conferences of Paris in December 2015 (COP21 / COP21); of Marrakech in November 2016 (COP22/ COP22); and of Bonn in November 2017 (COP23 / COP23), the local and regional government leaders from the five continents reiterated their willingness to support central government efforts in the field of international climate action. They also emphasized their determination to contribute to raising the level of ambition in order to achieve the goals set in the Paris Agreement.
UCLG Africa, ENERGIES 2050 and their partners have been advocating for some years now, for a territorialization of central government commitments. This message is now promoted by a considerable number of institutions. The participants in the Regional Dialogue on NDCs in Africa, organized by the United Nations Development Program in Rabat in September 2017, in collaboration with the Government of Morocco, the UNFCCC Secretariat, the NDC Partnership, GIZ, and UCLG Africa, did insist on the need to territorialize NDCs and to involve the local and regional governments of the African continent in their implementation.
This report has been produced to contribute to these different dynamics. It is structured around two major parts. The first aims to provide a non-exhaustive analysis framework of the involvement of local governments in climate policies, with special emphasis on the place reserved for cities and territories in the NDCs of African States, on the increasing role of non-state stakeholders in the international climate negotiations, or on the experiences conducted by the various African local governments in the field of climate.
The second part of this report is intended to be more “operational” and proposes an analysis of the potential levers of actions that may enable African local governments to strengthen the design and implementation of territorial policies and strategies integrated into the NDC processes. These areas of action include notably improved governance processes, the need to involve all stakeholders, the implementation of integrated climate strategies that meet the measurement, reporting and verification (MRV) requirements prescribed by UNFCCC and the access to international funding to support implementation at the territorial level.
This report is also intended to be an invitation to a greater involvement of local and regional governments in the implementation of the climate agenda in African countries. It highlights the pressing need to build up the capacities of these local and regional governments and provide them with technical and financial assistance, particularly through climate finance and more specifically the Green Climate Fund, which are necessary to enable them to fulfill fully their role in mitigating GHG emissions as well as adapting to climate change.
Finally, this report lays emphasis on the existing window of opportunity for African local governments to fit in with the NDC processes in order to redefine fundamentally their models of operation, and promote sustainable economic and low carbon social and economic development strategies, which best meet the development challenges of their territories
This study was conducted by UCLG Africa and ENERGIES 2050. It fits in with the framework of a package of publications that aims to support the implementation of NDCs by the cities and territories. In view of the complexity and multiplicity of considerations to be taken into account, this document should serve as a basis for a broader work for all stakeholders. The authors are grateful to all those who, through their comments and suggestions, will contribute to its improvement.