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Africa urged to use home-grown experts to set feasible NDC goals.

December 4, Madrid, Spain

Africa has a long way to go in the realisation of the strategies to implement the Paris Agreement, according to preliminary results of a research done by a Pan-African organisation in eight African countries, and which were yesterday released on the side lines of the COP25.

This was the statement made by the Pan African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA) Executive Director Mithika Mwenda at the opening of a side event in Madrid, Spain.

Salina Cheserem Sanou, a climate justice campaigner, shared the preliminary findings of the research done in Botswana, Ethiopia, Gabon, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Nigeria, Tanzania and Zambia, at a side event dubbed “Africa Readying for the Paris Agreement”.

Kenya, Ethiopia and Nigeria were found to be at the same level on “Coherence Between Sector Policies and Climate Compatible Development” with each scoring 2.4 out of a maximum possible 3.0. Zambia came fourth with 2.2, followed by Tanzania at 2.0 and Corte d’ Voire at 1.4. Botswana and Gabon tied at the bottom with 1.0 points.

On climate-sensitive sector policies, the African economies tested were found to align differently with adaptation, mitigation and development; while the food and agriculture sector development policies were framed as development policies, scoring “high alignment”.

Sustainability with development, the forest and wildlife policies were set up as mitigation policies, scoring “limited alignment” with adaptation, and “partial alignment” with development.

“Africa is a unique and a special needs and circumstances region in terms of vulnerability, resilience and capacity building; finance, and also monitoring and reporting of international commitments,” said Ms Sanou.

The research recommends better alignment of sector policies with adaptation, the need to address lacking inter-agency and inter-ministerial approaches, and strengthening of partnerships among stakeholders in support of climate change initiatives.

Speaker after speaker addressing the side event at the COP25 conference in Madrid, yesterday, pushed for more home-made plans and strategies in the achievement of Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), whose implementation is key in achievement of the Paris Agreement.

The NDCs outline interventions each nation intends to use to reduce carbon emission. “Africa should have tailor-made tools for monitoring and reporting on the implementation of the Paris Agreement and NDCs,” said Sanou, adding that African nations should not wait until March 2020 to start reviews of the NDCs, to prevent rushing over them as happened with the initial development process.

James Murombedzi, a senior climate governance expert at the UN Economic Commission for Africa, regretted that African countries were spending up to 9 per cent of their Gross Domestic Product (GDP) on the NDCs, yet that was not catered for in their national budgets. “This is causing a budget crisis in many African nations,” said Dr Murombezi.

The NDCs have further been viewed as overly ambitious. “Financing must be made available for the conditional and overly ambitious NDCs to be actualised. Yet financing has not been forthcoming from the heavy carbon emitters, calling for proper review and meaningful resource mobilisation for the global goal to keep temperature rise below 1.5ºC to be realised,” said Charles Mwangi, a climate enthusiast and observer at the COP25.

The push now is for heavy emitters to increase their ambition.

Many countries are behind schedule in the achievement of the pre-2020 strategies that focussed on finance, capacity building and technology transfer. These were supposed to enable start of implementation after June next year, but this period will instead focus on review of the NDCs.

The Paris Agreement outlined and expects preparation, communication and maintenance of successive NDCs to meet set objectives.

This year’s UNEP Emission Gap Report 2019 shows that with the current commitments, there will be an increase of more than 3.2ºC of average global temperature rise.

Speaking at the side event yesterday, Charles Mutai, a Director Climate Change, State Department of Environment, and who is also the chair of the Kenyan delegation in Madrid, outlined the country’s effort to achieve its NDCs commitments. Dr Mutai said devolution in Kenya would make it easier to achieve the NDCs, as many of the 47 counties had allocated between 1 per cent and 3 per cent to tackling the climate crisis.

Roger Nkodo Dang, the President of the Pan African Parliament, focused on energy. “We are being discouraged from exploiting petroleum and transition to clean energy; but at what cost to our development,” he posed.

This also raised the question on the seriousness with which African Governments and the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) crying foul now, handle matters that have huge ramifications in their operations. “Africans left the formulation (of NDCs) work to politicians. We do not read,” said Prof Dr Muaiwia Shaddad of Sudan

He was, however, countered by Mithika Mwenda, who insisted that the ills some African nations may have done should not stop pursuit of reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. “The push must go on,” Mithika said.

“Many African countries are behind in implementation of their NDCs because they are a result of consultants’ work… consultants who have no clue what the reality on the ground is. Governments must remember we have adequate capacity for proposal and other document writing in Africa,” said Mwanahamisi Singano of FEMNET, an African women's development network.

Charles Tanui, an observer at the COP25, called for support of civil society organisation to be involved in research and formulation of key strategies, especially during review of the NDCs.

The side event was organised by Kenya, Ivory Coast and the Pan African Climate Justice Alliance.