25th September, Bilateral Meetings, UCLG Africa – New York.
United Cities and Local Governments of Africa (UCLG Africa) played host to several bilateral meetings as part of the UN Climate Action Summit in New York, starting with a High Level Side Event that paved the way for several meetings with African ministers throughout the week.
After the signing of an MoU between UCLG Africa’s Climate Task Force and The West African Development Bank, the Vice President of UCLG Africa for the North Africa Region, Dr Mohamed Boudra, stated in his introductory remarks that, “the fight against climate change will be lost or won in cities and territories.” This was echoed by many of the cities and regional governments, partners and networks throughout the week.
The MOU sets out the main objectives of each partner which includes
For UCLG Africa
– Promoting decentralization where sub national and local governments are legally recognised with financial autonomy
– Enhancing the capacity of local government so that they are able to provide better and more resilient services to the population, that drives climate action from the grassroots up
and for the West African Development Bank
– To contribute to the economic development by financing priority projects for rural development, the environment and basic infrastructure that complements the objectives of climate action and reducing global temperature rises.
UCLG Africa’s Climate Task Force is part of a wider family, known as the Global Task Force, that showcases the ways in which local governments are leading from the bottom-up. It is these members, made up of local and regional governments, that have been able to create the only UN non-state stakeholder mechanism to develop and coordinate inputs into policy.
The High Level Meeting heard commitments from the West African Development Bank, the European Investment Bank and the African Development Bank to fund bankable projects from local governments. Anthony Okon Nyong, Director of Climate Change and Green Growth from the African Development Bank, stated, “we will address challenges and make sure local governments and sub-national entities have access to climate finance.”
The UN Climate Action Summit had expectations of more concrete promises from countries around the world. Africa needs to take bold and ambitious steps to implement climate action. It is these actions which need to be localised and which can only be realised with access to climate finance.
The signing of the MOU marks the beginning of the process to support sub national and local governments engage in the vertical integration of the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) with Locally Determined Contributions (LDCs). This will be followed by the development of bankable African solutions that seriously address our climate challenges and can impact on the targets set out by climate experts in a concrete and tangible way.
One of the innovations includes a contractual process between the national government and local and regional governments for the implementation of the Paris Agreement. This represents a significant step forward in monitoring the implementation of the NDCs compared to the simple “shame and blame” procedure adopted in the Paris Agreement in the event of non-compliance by any state party with the commitments it has undertaken, as pointed out by the UCLG Africa Secretary General. It has now been largely accepted that better involvement of local and regional governments in climate action is essential to win this race and in this respect, it has been proposed that this revision start with the (LDCs). Jean Pierre Elong Mbassi, Secretary General of UCLG Africa states that, “This bottom-up approach is likely to promote greater ownership and harmonization of the climate agenda at all levels of governance.”
Meeting with countries from across Africa will continue throughout the year and UCLG Africa will advocate for starting the revision of NDCs with the elaboration of LDCs. The next steps for UCLG Africa and partners include the Conference of the Covenant of Mayors for Sub Saharan Africa CoM SSA, featuring at the Climate Chance Summit – Africa 2019, in Accra, Ghana from the 16th – 18th October. This will showcase the work being done with cities and local and regional governments as key stakeholders in climate action. The Summit in Accra will look at the foundations of a bottom up approach that has been built to fight against climate change and will also look at lessons learned from the CoM SSA pilot, we will also address the role of non-state actors within the climate ecosystem and the importance of national associations of local and regional governments as implementing partners for all climate finance mechanisms and institutions including the GEF, the Adaptation Facility and the Green Climate Fund.