UCLG Africa highlights the climate challenges facing African territories at COP28

The 28th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) was held from November 30 to December 12, 2023 in Dubai (United Arab Emirates, UAE). This conference was of major strategic importance for Africa’s local governments, which are at the forefront of climate change impacts.

The COP28 in Dubai, also known as the “COP for energy transition away from fossil fuels”, was a crucial opportunity to highlight the needs and imperative necessity of integrating the climate challenges and action of cities and territories on the African continent into the definition of the new generation of Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), guided by the orientations of the Global Stocktake presented at COP28.
UCLG Africa took part in COP28 with the aim of highlighting the challenges facing cities and territories in climate action and including African local and regional governments in the African climate ecosystem, in climate action and in the Marrakech Partnership for Climate Action.

The UCLG Africa delegation, led by its President, Mrs. Fatimetou Abdel Malik, President of the Nouakchott Region, was composed as follows:

Mr. Dieudonné Bantsimba, President of the Association of Mayors of Congo (AMC)
Mr. Oumar Ba, President of the WAEMU Council of Local Authorities, President of the Association of Mayors of Senegal (AMS)
Mr. Abdou Ouhou Dodo, President of the Association of Municipalities of Niger (AMN)
Mr. Gamado Koamy Gbloekpo, Mayor of Golfe 1/Lomé and Vice-President of the Associations of the Communes of Togo (FCT)
Mr. Ram Joseph Kafando, Vice-Chairman of the Special Delegation of the Regional Council of the Center, Burkina Faso
Mr. Peter Anyang’ Nyongo, Governor of Kisumu County, Kenya
Mrs. Gladys Wanga, Governor of Homa Bay County, Kenya
Mr. Wild Ndipo, Mayor of Blantyre, President of the Malawi Local Government Association (MALGA)
Mr. Amogou Atiode Sita, Mayor of Tchamba 2, Togo
Mr. Ntemoyok Mewanu Gregory, Mayor of Kumba, Cameroon
Mr. Samuel Oe-Amseb, President of the Association of Local Authorities of Namibia
Mr. Dinan Adebayo Simon, Mayor of Pobè, Benin
Mr. Fayemi Kayodé, Representative of the President of the Forum of African Regions (FORAF)
Mrs. Rohey Malick Lowe, Mayor of Banjul, Gambia, President of the Network of Locally Elected Women in Africa (REFELA)
Mr. Erragheb Hormatollah, Mayor of Dakhla, Morocco, President of the Network of Young Elected Local Officials of Africa (YELO)
Mr. Jean Jacques Yapo, Director General of the Union of Cities and Communes in Côte d’Ivoire (UVICOCI)
Mr. Jean Pierre Elong Mbassi, Secretary General of UCLG Africa
Mr. Nbou Mohamed, Special Advisor on Climate, Biodiversity and Food Systems, UCLG Africa
Mr. Robert Sangori, Director of the Climate Department, UCLG Africa
Mrs. Soumia Benlebsir, Project Officer, Climate Department
Mrs. Sara Zeroil, Personal Assistant to the Secretary General of UCLG Africa
Mr. Jewel Adjei, Special IT Advisor, UCLG Africa
Mr. Frédéric Vallier, Consultant, UCLG Africa

COP28 had three highlights: 1) the high-level political segment organized on December 1 and 2, 2023, with the participation of Heads of State and Government; 2) the thematic days organized from December 3 to 10, 2023, around the main issues and challenges linked to climate change and the search for solutions to address them; 3) December 11 and 12, 2023, devoted to negotiations and the adoption of the conference’s final declaration.

During the political segment, the President of Kenya His Excellency Samoei Ruto launched the process of realization of the Building Climate Resilience of the Urban Poor in Africa (BCRUP) Initiative, whose main implementing partner is UCLG Africa.

The Local Climate Action Summit organized by Bloomberg Philantropies and the COP28 Presidency on December 1 and 2, 2023. This event was a highlight, emphasizing the essential role of cities and local governments in tackling the climate emergency.

Local and regional governments presented and supported common positions on the Global Objective on Adaptation, the Global Assessment, financing for adaptation to climate change, and the corresponding governance mechanisms and financial commitments.

In particular, African local and regional governments welcomed the establishment of the Loss and Damage Fund, and called for the accessing procedures to be simplified and opened up to local authorities. They also called for resources for adaptation to be doubled by 2025, so as to be able to cope with the extreme climatic conditions resulting from global warming, particularly in Africa, a region that has not contributed to it.

At the initiative of UCLG Africa, the local and regional governments also called for the creation of an assistance and first aid scheme for African cities and territories declared to be in a climate disaster situation, whose resources, stemming from the Loss and Damage Fund, should be managed at the level of national and regional associations of local authorities.

For the entire duration of the conference, and with the support of the GIZ (RIA Project) UCLG Africa has set up a Pavilion in the blue zone of the COP28 reserved for States, international organizations and bilateral cooperation institutions . and multilateral.

The Pavilion served as a hub and rallying point for African local authorities during COP28 with a view to unifying the voice of local governments in the face of the extreme climate emergency.

Numerous working sessions were also held at the UCLG Africa offices.
Meeting with Mr Lars Gronvald, Head of Cities Section – INTPA.
Meeting with Mr. Maroš Šefčovič, Vice-President of the European Commission, Mrs. Josefa Sacko, Commissioner for the Environment of the African Union, and Mrs. Fatimetou Abdel Malick, President of UCLG Africa and Mrs. Rohey Malick Lowe, President of REFELA.

Work meeting with H.E. Mrs. Alice Wahome, Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary at the Ministry of Lands, Public Works, Housing and Urban Development.

Bilateral meeting with Colonel Maurice Ntossui Allogo, Minister of Water and Forests, in charge of environmental preservation, Gabon.

Bilateral meeting with H.E. Mariam Almheiri, Minister of Climate Change and Environment of the United Arab Emirates, to discuss strengthening cooperation between the UAE and local governments in Africa.

Bilateral meeting with Mr. Alioune Ndoye, Senegalese Minister for the Environment and Sustainable Development, and Mr. Oumar BA, Chairman of the WAEMU Council of Local Authorities (CCT).

Meeting of the Marrakech Partnership with the High-Level Champions on the appointment of the new champion who will steer the action agenda. UCLG Africa took this opportunity to recall and reaffirm its commitment to the process of accelerating the implementation of the NDCs, notably through the structuring initiatives: BCRUP, AAI Initiative, waste and the Round Table of Mayors for water security.

As a prelude to COP28 itself, UCLG Africa took part in the 9th World Green Economy Organization (WGEO) Summit, held on November 28 and 29, 2023 in Dubai, under the High Patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates and Ruler of Dubai. At the end of the first day of the Summit, an official ceremony was organized for the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between His Excellency Saeed Mohammed Al-Tayer, President of WGEO and Mr. Jean Pierre Elong Mbassi, Secretary General of UCLG Africa, enshrining the partnership between the two organizations. This protocol sets out the areas of collaboration between the two organizations, and notably entrusts UCLG Africa with the animation of WGEO’s “Cities Pole”.

Another milestone has been reached in UCLG Africa’s collaborative efforts with the Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA) to support sustainable urban development on the African continent. On December 10, 2023, the DBSA Chief Executive Officer, Mrs. Boitumelo Mosako, and the Secretary General of UCLG Africa, Mr. Jean Pierre Elong Mbassi, formalized their commitment to create the African Territorial Trade and Investment Agency (ATIA). This is a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) dedicated to financing projects that will improve the resilience, infrastructure and general well-being of African cities. This strategic partnership aims to address the ever-changing challenges facing urban areas and catalyze economic growth and social development.

Read the full article about the partnership with DBSA, here.

In addition, United Cities and Local Governments of Africa (UCLG Africa) has signed a ground-breaking memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the world’s leading impact investment firm, Pegasus Capital Advisors, and its Subnational Climate Fund (SCF).

The MoU signing, which took place on December 2nd, marks a significant milestone in the collaboration between UCLG Africa and Pegasus Capital Advisors and reinforces their mutual commitment to advancing sustainable development across Africa. The Local Climate Action Summit saw the convergence of key decision-makers, experts, and stakeholders from around the world who gathered to address pressing global challenges related to climate change and sustainable urban development.

The partnership between UCLG Africa and Pegasus Capital Advisors aims to foster innovative solutions, catalyze sustainable urban development projects, and support local governments in Africa in their efforts to achieve the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the objectives of the Paris Agreement. By combining UCLG Africa’s vast network and expertise in local governance with Pegasus Capital Advisors’ comprehensive resources, this collaboration is poised to drive transformative change at the local level and leverage sustainable investments for the benefit of African cities and local communities. Immediate priorities include renewable energy, waste management, access to broadband technologies and water resilience, with initial projects and locations already identified in Kisumu, Kenya.

Jean Pierre Elong Mbassi, Secretary General of UCLG Africa, expressed his enthusiasm about the partnership, stating, “We are delighted to enter into this strategic collaboration with Pegasus. This MoU represents a significant step forward in our collective journey towards sustainable development in Africa. By joining forces, we can unlock new opportunities for urban growth and ensure the advancement of prosperous, resilient, and inclusive cities across the continent.”

Craig Cogut, CEO & Founder of Pegasus Capital Advisors, emphasized their commitment to sustainability and belief in the power of partnerships. He said, “We are thrilled to collaborate with UCLG Africa to address the pressing challenges faced by local governments in Africa. Together, we will work towards designing and implementing urban solutions that create positive socio-economic and environmental impact. By pooling our expertise and resources, we can unlock a new era of sustainable development and investment opportunities.”

The MoU signing ceremony was witnessed by prominent dignitaries, representatives from international organizations, and distinguished guests attending COP28. This significant event highlights the global recognition of UCLG Africa and Pegasus Capital Advisors as key actors driving sustainable development and urban transformation in Africa.

Left to right: Jean Pierre Elong Mbassi, Secretary General of UCLG Africa, Craig Cogut, CEO & Founder of Pegasus Capital Advisors, Jewel Adjei, IT Special Advisor of UCLG Africa, David Albertani, CEO & Founder, Catalytic Finance Foundation and Gina McCarthy, former U.S. EPA Administrator

UCLG Africa and Pegasus Capital Advisors visiting the company beyond water at Sustainable City in Dubai

Read the press release on the MoU signing with Pegasus Capital Advisors, here.