The Pan-African Organization, United Cities and Local Governments of Africa (UCLG Africa) and the French, NGO ENERGIES 2050, have announced the publication of their report “Challenges and Opportunities for the Territorialization of Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) in Africa.” A first draft was presented at the 23rd Conference of the Parties (COP23) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) held in Bonn, Germany, November 6-17, 2017.
The report highlights the essential role of Africa’s cities and local governments in the implementation of national strategies for the fight against climate change, and the attainment of the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement. At both the international and African level, the involvement of the sub-national authorities is inescapable if they are to contribute to transforming the “commitments” into concrete actions on the ground. This is all the more important as scientific studies emphasize that, even if the commitments made in all the NDCs as formulated were met, this would not be sufficient to maintain, at the global level, the level of temperature rise below 2°C (and not even at 1.5°C) by 2100, compared to the pre-industrial levels. It is therefore time not only for the implementation but also for raising the ambition of the commitments. In both cases, cities and territories have a key role to fulfil.
The role of local governments and other sub-national authorities is considered crucial, particularly with regard to their greenhouse gas emissions (notably in the cities), their vulnerability to the impact of climate change, and also their knowledge of the specificities of their territories as well as of the opportunities for potential actions to be undertaken in the area of both mitigation and adaptation.
The report addresses five (5) dimensions that help to anchor the role of cities and territories in the implementation of NDCs. These are (i) governance that is reminiscent of both vertical and horizontal governance, (ii) issues related to awareness and information, (iii) the dimension of the development of territorial integrated and compatible climate plans, (iv) funding issues, and (v) issues pertaining to measuring the fight against climate change at the local level, MRV (measurement, reporting and verification) monitoring systems.
UCLG Africa and ENERGIES 2050 have been pleading for several years for a ‘territorialization’ of the commitments of Central Governments. This report was produced to contribute to the attainment of this goal. It is structured around two major parts. The first aims to provide a non-exhaustive analysis of the involvement of local governments in climate policies, with special emphasis on the role reserved for cities and territories in the NDCs of African States; on the growing role of non-state stakeholders in international climate negotiations or experiences conducted by various African local and regional governments in the field of climate.
The second part of the report is intended to be more “operational” and proposes an analysis of the levers for potential actions that could enable African local and regional governments to strengthen the design and implementation of territorial policies and strategies integrated into the NDC processes. These areas of action include significantly improved governance processes, the need to involve all stakeholders, the setting up of integrated climate strategies that meet the Measurement, Reporting and Verification (MRV) requirements of UNFCCC, and access to international funding to support implementation at the territorial level.
The report is also an invitation for 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 the capacities of local and regional governments and to provide them with technical and financial assistance, notably through climate finance, and more specifically, the Green Climate Fund, necessary to enable them to fulfil their role in mitigating GHG emissions as well as in adapting to climate change.
Finally, the report highlights the existing window of opportunity for African local and regional governments to join the NDC processes in order to redefine their operation models and promote economic and social development strategies, which are both sustainable and low carbon, and that effectively meet the development challenges of their territories.
The report is accessible on the UCLG Africa website and the Report of ENERGIES 2050 website.
Its English version will be available in the forthcoming months on the same platforms.