Africa’s economic progress since the start of the 21st century has been on a positive trajectory, underscoring the huge potential that the continent has to improve the welfare of its populations and lift millions out of poverty. At a macro level, many African countries have embarked on conscious economic and political transformation and are implementing strategies and programmes aimed at promoting economic growth, poverty reduction and general improvement of citizens’ welfare. However, sustaining the momentum would require African countries to studiously confront a number of challenges. Climate change represents a fundamental challenge to the sustainability of Africa’s growth momentum. It is imperative therefore that African countries invest in mechanisms that would mainstream climate change into their development strategies to stave off its possible negative impacts. Commensurate efforts must also be made to identify and exploit the opportunities that climate change presents. To achieve this, there must be a concerted effort by all key players. Climate and social scientists, development economists, policy makers and users of climate information must all work in tandem to design innovative strategies.
The 4th Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), for instance, showed a warming across the continent between 0.2° and 0.5°C per decade up to the year 2100. This change in the climate will also come with more frequent events such as storms, floods, sea level rise or droughts. The last Special Report on Extreme Events (SREX) of the IPCC stresses the importance of addressing the vulnerability in Africa of key sectors including agriculture, food security, water supply, energy, security, migration, health, and biodiversity. The low adaptive capacity of Africa contributes to its high vulnerability. The capacity of African countries to address these challenges is compromised by lack of adequate technology, weak social infrastructure, conflicts and poor institutional arrangements.
The Third Climate Change and Development in Africa (CCDA-III) conference presents an opportunity for stakeholders to deliberate on Africa’s development in a context of climate change. It is an annual conference, organised under the auspices of Climate for Development in Africa (ClimDev-Africa), a joint programme of the African Union Commission (AUC), the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UN-ECA) and the African Development Bank (AfDB). The programme seeks to address the need for improved climate data and information for Africa as well as to strengthen the use of such information for decision-making by supporting analytical capacity, knowledge generation and sharing.
The previous two conferences, CCDA-I and CCDA-II, both had the theme of advancing knowledge, policy and practice on climate change and development. They each created forums for dialogue that raised awareness on the importance of climate change, its impacts on development, and the nexus between science, policy and practice. CCDA-III will be held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, from October 21 to 23, 2013 at the United Nations Conference Centre. The theme for the conference is ‘Africa on the Rise: Can the Opportunities from Climate Change Spring the Continent to Transformative Development?’. This theme captures the urgency of the need to mainstream climate change in development policy planning, programming and implementation. The imperative is clear. Climate change is a threat and an opportunity.
Africa is on a transformative development pathway. How can African countries build resilience to climate change and exploit the opportunities it presents to move away from the detrimental energy inefficient development pathways of the past? To this end, CCDA-III brings together participants from communities of research, policy and practice to share results of innovative and provocative research and policy analysis and to question and debate alternative pathways in the areas of economics, politics, and governance.
2.1 Overall objective
CCDA-III aims to provoke debate among experts and stakeholders in development policy and practice on how opportunities in climate change can enhance Africa’s transformative economic growth and development agenda. Stakeholders include researchers, scientists and practitioners, i.e., the consumers of scientific information and policies. CCDA-III seeks to explore various options for mainstreaming best policy practice, informed by empirical and scientific assessments, to build strategies to respond to the impact of climate change and to promote dialogue between the three main constituencies.
2.2 Specific objectives
More specifically, CCDA-III will:
- Demonstrate empirical lessons from best practice in investments in climate science, data and analysis, as well as the multiplier benefits to African economies;
- Deliberate on the effectiveness of policies on climate resilience in Africa and the role and relevance of international, regional and national frameworks and contexts;
- Debate Africa’s transition to a green economy, especially clean energy access, low carbon development options, and climate finance;
- Deliberate on the relevance of the global climate change framework for Africa, how Africa needs to assert its development interests and influence in the global agenda, and whether an alternative space exists for Africa to pursue its development goals.
3. Expected outcomes and outputs
The following results are expected at the end of CCDA-III:
- Increased understanding of the role of climate science data and analysis in Africa’s development;
- Improved understanding by participants of African risk factors and vulnerability and the role of policy in promoting innovative adaptation and mitigation measures;
- Better understanding of policy, strategy and practice towards creating green economy pathways and the role of, clean energy and low carbon development options;
- Strengthened professional networking to promote active debate on issues and to provide the foundation for more analytical work;
- Improved investment opportunities in climate data and information management, policy analysis and implementation.
- Enhanced the capacity of member States to tap into climate financial opportunities.
- Improved understanding of the global climate change framework and the key positions that Africa needs to take to enhance its development agenda.
The following information and reports will be produced and widely disseminated:
- A CCDA-III conference report;
- Peer reviewed CCDA-III proceedings.
4. The CCDA-III sub-themes
The CCDA-III has five sub-themes under which the above objectives will be discussed. These are:
- What is the value of climate services: science, data and information in Africa’s development?
- How can climate policies build effective resilience to the impacts of climate change in Africa?
- Climate finance: what are the unexplored options?
- Green economy: which way for Africa?
- Is the global climate change framework working for Africa?
I. What is the value of climate services: science, data and information in Africa’s development?
Planning for climate resilience and low carbon development is fundamentally dependent on empirical climate science research and information analysis, which are both anchored on the availability of climate data. Science needs to inform policy, planning and practice to ensure that development is more resilient and less vulnerable to the negative impacts of climate change. Unfortunately, the paucity of climate observatory systems and data collection facilities is a common phenomenon in many African countries. In addition, many countries still have weak capacity for data collection, analysis and climate research. Yet good data networks, quality data and information management are essential in establishing a strong scientific foundation for climate services. Such services will help planners, decision makers, and other users to offer scientifically-informed and knowledge based decisions.
This sub-theme therefore provides a platform for stakeholders to share insights on the state of climate science research in Africa, climate data and information management and dissemination. The scientific community will share some of the most recent scientific research findings in climate science and how such findings could enhance planning and analysis for climate resilient development policies and strategies. CCDA-III takes place soon after the conference of African Climate Conference 2013 (ACC2013). It is envisaged that some of the climate scientists attending the ACC 2013 event will make a strong showing in CCDA-III and contribute to the debate in this sub-theme, to narrow the gap between African decision-makers and climate researchers and scientists. The sub-theme will also discuss the extent to which global initiatives are enhancing or inhibiting Africa’s ability to expand its climate data and information services.
II. How can climate policies build effective resilience to the impacts of climate change in Africa?
This sub-theme aims to elicit sharing of empirical evidence on sources of vulnerability in key developmental sectors and how climate resilience could assure inclusive and sustainable growth in these sectors. While key sectors such as agriculture and water are fundamentally important for Africa’s growth and development, as well as for food and nutritional security, they are also the most severely exposed to the impacts of climate change. What policy options are therefore available for African countries to enhance resilience to the impacts of climate change in these critical sectors?
The sub-theme will also provide opportunities for stakeholders to debate topical issues within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) that have direct policy consequences for African countries. At the Eighteenth Conference of Parties (COP 18) in Doha, the UNFCCC decided to establish institutional arrangements to address loss and damage at COP 19. While a universal operational definition of the concept of loss and damage is not yet well developed, it is generally understood to embrace losses and damages that arise as a result of climate change. It also refers to losses and damages that occur even after adaptation.
It may be worth noting that Africa has had a not so rosy experience with similar instruments, such as the clean development mechanism. How then can the institutional framework on loss and damage be made to work for Africa? This sub-theme will provide a platform for experts to deliberate on the concept, what it entails for Africa, what sectors are most vulnerable to loss and damage, sources of empiricism to demonstrate the vulnerabilities and what Africa’s expectations of the UNFCCC should be. If Africa is to realise its expectations, it must influence the debate.
III. Climate finance: what are the unexplored options?
Africa is a green continent with CO2 emissions per capita of less than one ton per annum and accounts for just 2.4 percent of world emissions, as a consequence of poverty and low level of industrial development. Under business as usual scenario, Africa’s economic growth would result in increased intensity of GHG emissions and aggravate the impacts of climate change. Fortunately greener and efficient technologies are now available which could allow Africa to leapfrog development along low carbon development pathways. Various multilateral, bilateral, regional and global financial opportunities to support mitigation and adaptation activities in developing countries exist. In addition, industrialized nations have committed to mobilizing new funds of $100 billion annually by 2020 to meet these needs to mitigate climate change which is estimated to cost $300 billion annually by 2020, and growing to $500 billion annually by 2030. Regrettably the uptake of these financial opportunities in Africa has been extremely low. For example Africa’s share of the Clean Development Mechanism projects under the Kyoto Protocol, Africa share accounts for only 2% of all registered projects.
The conference will therefore seek to question why Africa has been unable to tap into these opportunities, deliberate on other unexplored options and come up with recommendations of appropriate options to spur the continent towards green economy. One such option is the ClimDev-Africa Special Fund (CDSF) a continental initiative which seeks to:
- Enhance scientific capacity to produce and make widely-available, reliable and high quality climate information;
- Strengthen the capacity of policy makers and policy support institutions to integrate climate change into developmental processes;
- Implement pilot local-level adaptation projects that demonstrate the enhanced value of climate information in achieving sustainable development. This will enhance the overall expected outcome of the fund: development policies and practices in Africa to take full account of climate risks and opportunities at all levels.
At country level, both public and private domestic capital can play an important role – and the conference will explore these options as well. Countries may fund climate change adaptation through the government budget, National Climate/Trust Funds, National Development Banks and Community Based Funds.