Participants say CCDA is Africa’s climate change event of 2012


ECA Press Release 171/2012 

Addis Ababa, 21 October 2012 (ECA) - Participants at the Second Conference on Climate Change and Development in Africa (CCDA-II) which ended in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia at the weekend have called the conference the African climate change event of the year.

A cross section of participants, including negotiators, academicians, policy-makers, scientists and the media all agreed that the conference had been a huge success in terms of content and organization. Representing the general sentiment, Ms Mildred Mulenga, a Zambian journalist who regularly covers major climate change events said the successful manner in which the African Climate Policy Centre (ACPC) planned and managed the conference has made it the African Climate Change Event of the Year.

In a statement read at the end of the conference, participants adopted a number of recommendations on climate service delivery; sustainable energy access for all Africans by 2030; and on outstanding issues in climate negotiations, especially as relate to Africa.

One key recommendation made a strong argument for governments to include climate change considerations in all relevant sectoral policies, especially in agriculture, water, energy, forest, land management, and health as well as the nexus and interplay between them.

In the area of climate service delivery the Conference noted with satisfaction the key role played by regional climate outlook forums and suggested the need for improvements in communication channels with users.

The Conference also noted that the research and science community need skilful and actionable forecasts, coupled with effective communication and “knowing the market” approach to improve on the links between research and use.

The statement regrets the fact that climate science research in Africa is not well coordinated and usually undertaken in an ad-hoc fashion, and urged key institutions within and outside Africa to work together to identify research frontiers that advance Africa’s development and implement them.

In the discussion on sustainable energy access for all Africans by 2030 the conference made a thorough examination of the role of oil, gas and renewable energy sources such as hydro, geothermal, wind, solar and bio-energy in the energy mix of African countries.

The cost of energy and availability of various energy sources was also discussed along with the need for technology to exploit energy resources on one hand and to use energy at the household level. 

Personal views were expressed on whether or not, technology and innovation have to be endogenous and issues such as specialization in particular areas of energy and how technology is integrated into energy plans may be more important than where it comes from.

Participants then focused on how to better prepare for the ‘International Year of Sustainable Energy for All’ (SEFA) as mandated by the UN General Assembly.

The conference urged governments to ensure an enabling policy environment and adopt comprehensive policies that integrate the energy sector with other sectors, including social dimensions for the success of the SEFA initiative.

It reaffirmed the centrality of innovation for effective technology policies, planning and the adoption of modern energy across Africa.  It called on governments to lay due emphasis on nurturing and developing capacities of local and regional research institutions.

Research and policy communities should develop methods of monitoring and quantifying the impacts of strategies and projects on the livelihoods of local communities, the conference’s outcome document said.

On the outstanding issues in climate negotiations as related to Africa, negotiators, practitioners and researchers were advised to step up efforts to further strengthen the role of science in the negotiations process, while at the same recognizing the fact that this process cannot be based solely on science.

“Researchers must assess the implications of different peaking periods for adaptation and loss and damage as well as continue to better understand climate adaptation, its cost under different warming scenarios and its interaction with general development activities”, the outcome statement states.

The conference urged developed countries to raise the level of ambition in order to set the right carbon price which will in turn encourage investment in mitigation activities.

African member States were encouraged to strengthen their level of preparedness to ensure access, deployment and delivery of finance from the Green Climate Fund (GCF) and from other sources.

It also called on the developed countries to commit new and additional finance towards established mechanisms, including the GCF. The statement also encourages researchers and negotiators to work together to further refine the concept, definition and clarity on loss and damage, agriculture and water in the context of Africa.

The conference was organized by ECA in collaboration with its partners in the Climate for Development in Africa (ClimDev-Africa) initiative. They include the African Union Commission (AUC); and the African Development Bank (AfDB).

It brought together over 300 participants from African member states, regional economic communities, river basin organizations, nongovernmental organizations, and private sector, academia and development partners.

The overall objective of the conference was to build on the achievements of CCDA-I and further raise awareness of important climate change and development issues.

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© 2012 Economic Commission for Africa