On 10 and 11 June 2021, the Regional Forum on “Strengthening the Resilience and Increasing Climate Ambitions of Local Governments in Africa” was held at the Hôtel 2 Février in Lomé (Togo).
Placed under the High Patronage of His Excellency M. Faure Gnassingbé , President of the Republic of Togo, the meeting for local and regional governments of the WAEMU area was organized by United Cities and Local Governments of Africa (UCLG Africa), in collaboration with the Government of Togo, the Economic Union and West African Monetary (WAEMU), the West African Development Bank (BOAD), UNDP, and Expertise France.
As part of the activities of the Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy in Sub-Saharan Africa (CoM SSA), the Forum registered the participation in a hybrid format of more than two hundred delegates.
The proceedings were opened by His Excellency Mr. Payadowa Boukpessi, Minister of State, Minister of Territorial Administration, Decentralization and Territory Development of Togo, representative of the President of the Republic of Togo, and included the participation of HE Mr. Joaquín Tasso Vilallonga, Head of Delegation of the European Union in Togo, Mr. Mohamed Yassine Daoudi, representative of the President of UCLG World, Mr. François Amichia, President of the CCT of WAEMU, Mr. Serge Ekué, President of West African Development Bank (BOAD), Mr. Aymeric Lorthiois, First Counselor of the Embassy of France in Togo, representative of the Ambassador of France, Mr. Markus Wagner, Director General of GIZ Togo, Mr. MacDonald S. GOANUE, Director of the Research and Strategic Planning Department of EBID, representative of the President, Mr. Kossi Dzinyefa Atabuh, Prefect of the Golfe district (in Lomé), and Mr. Jean Pierre Elong Mbassi, Secretary General of UCLG Africa.
Call for greater involvement of local authorities
The various speeches highlighted the essential role that local authorities must play in the fight against climate change. This requires in particular a paradigm shift as underlined by the President of BOAD, Mr. Serge Ekué. “The WAEMU countries are among the 50 countries most exposed to global warming. We will not be able to cope with climate change without a real paradigm shift in the financing of African economies. It would be wise to involve local authorities as key players to understand and deal with the difficulties encountered by municipalities. It is crucial to include them in the process of planning, preparing, and budgeting for investment plans. Access to financial resources by local authorities should be improved. We stand ready to support local authorities in the context of robust, transparent issues allowing investors to gain the confidence of investors around the world “, he pleaded.
The Togolese government is of the same opinion. “Our local governments must become vanguard actors in the fight against climate change and the acceleration of the continent’s climate ambition. The holding of this forum represents for us an opportunity to strengthen cooperation and convergence of the territories of the WAEMU countries in terms of operational solutions and the search for the necessary financial resources in support of low-carbon growth, in a quality environment”, declared Mr. Payadowa BOUKPESSI, Minister of Territorial Administration, Decentralization, and Territorial Development of Togo.
For the EU, “the regional forum marks the start of the implementation of the national approach of the CoM SSA in Togo, through which the EU intends to support inclusion, an environmental, energy and climate dimension in the decentralization process. We appreciate the efforts of the CoM SSA and of UCLG Africa to rightly promote the action of local governments with other donors, so as to give them the means to access climate finance alongside their national governments”, said HE Mr. Joaquín Tasso Vilallonga, Head of the Delegation of the European Union in Togo.
WAEMU welcomes the opportunities presented to local and regional governments. “This forum rightly reminds us that the territories are partners in the new agenda of resilience and of the fight against climate change. This is an opportunity for us to salute and congratulate the community of technical and financial partners for the many initiatives and projects undertaken in this area by relying on local governments through UCLG Africa. Among these initiatives, we note with great interest the preparation of a climate – energy portfolio and the mobilization of climate finance through the Readiness program, for the benefit of local and regional governments in the WAEMU area with the Green Climate Fund”.
“Local governments must be our active partners to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement“, said in her video intervention Ms. Patricia Espinosa, Executive Secretary of the UNFCCC
The two days of the Forum made it possible to address issues such as carbon neutrality and the resilience of African cities and territories, the implementation of the territorialization of Nationally Determined Contributions at the center of post-Covid 19 economic recovery plans, the role of dialogue between the national government and local authorities for improving the territorialization of NDCs, the planning for the implementation of territorial climate plans and capacity building of National Associations of Local Governments, and the mobilization of Climate Finance.
These issues were the subject of in-depth debates during the 5 sessions that led to recommendations that are intended to be a contribution of the local authorities of the WAEMU space to the main events included in the climate agenda, namely, the Africa Climate Week scheduled for August 2021 in Kampala, Uganda; the Climate Chance conference scheduled for September 2021 in Dakar, Senegal; and the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change scheduled for Glasgow, Scotland, United Kingdom, in November 2021 (COP 26), and the adoption of the Lomé Declaration by the participants representing: WAEMU member states; the focal points of the Green Climate Fund of the WAEMU member states; the WAEMU Commission, the Council of Territorial Communities (CCT-WAEMU) and the Presidents of the National Associations of Local Authorities that are members of the Council of Territorial Communities (CCT) of WAEMU; the local authorities adhering to the Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy in Sub-Saharan Africa (CoM SSA) and their partners; representatives of regional development banks and international cooperation partners.
In the recommendations, the participants in the Forum mainly undertake:
- Integrate environmental and climate goals in the development plans of local authorities and in the post-COVID economic recovery plans in order to make our societies and our economies more resilient to foreseeable future shocks;
- Encourage local authorities in the WAEMU area to adhere to the Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy (CoM SSA) so that they can benefit from the support put in place within this framework for the development of climate and energy plans of their territories;
- Establish a sub-regional version of the African Alliance of Ministers for Urban Affairs and Urban Development launched at the Abidjan Meetings to support African Sustainable Cities, in February 2020. This Alliance of WAEMU Ministers will work primarily under the aegis of the WAEMU CCT on the financing of the climate transition of the cities of the sub-region. The Alliance will engage in a strategic dialogue with the umbrella associations of local governments, the financing institutions of local governments, and the technical and financial partners on strengthening the financing of city climate plans and projects;
- Subscribe to the establishment of a Regional Readiness program targeting the local and regional governments of the countries of the WAEMU area with a view to mobilizing climate finance and contributing to the transition towards inclusive, sustainable, and resilient territorial development;
- Welcome the commitment of WAEMU, EBID, and BOAD to support the implementation of the regional Readiness program intended to support local authorities in the WAEMU space for the definition of portfolios of projects eligible for finance climate. In this regard, we call on these actors to work to make Lomé the hub of climate finance in West Africa;
- Request that within the framework of the planned Readiness Program, with the support of the Climate Task Force of UCLG Africa in collaboration with WAEMU, a capacity building mechanism and a technical assistance tool for the benefit of associations be set up local authorities in the WAEMU area, including through the establishment of focal points for the climate within said associations, the development of awareness and training guides, and the provision of consultants for support technical structure of climate-energy projects integrated into territorial development plans;
- Invite the local authorities of the WAEMU space to adopt a multi-stakeholder approach in the definition and implementation of climate action at the territorial level, and to work with the private sector, the research community, and the civil society to explore innovative solutions and participate in the collection of the data necessary to ensure the monitoring, reporting, and verification of the implementation of the climate agenda within our territories.
The full declaration is available here .
The Summary report is available here.
Find the full forum content below:
The forum photo gallery is available here.