Implementation of NDCs in Africa: From Policies to Action

CCDA-VII postponement

Due to reasons beyond our control, partners involved in organizing CCDA-VII have postponed the conference to 2018. A new date will be communicated via this website and other channels as soon as it is set. We regret any inconveniences this change may cause.


The 7th Climate Change and Development in Africa Conference (CCDA-VII) will take place from the 11 to 13 October 2017 in Nairobi, Kenya. The theme of this year’s CCDA is Implementation of Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) in Africa: From Policies to Action. CCDA-VII is organized by the Climate for Development in Africa (ClimDev-Africa) consortium - a partnership of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), the African Union Commission (AUC) and the African Development Bank (AfDB), in collaboration with the Pan-Africa Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA).

Unlike its predecessor, the Kyoto Protocol, the Paris Agreement – which entered into force on the 4th of November, 2016 - is based on a voluntary approach that requires all Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change to develop, communicate, implement, monitor and report voluntary but ambitious nationally determined contributions (NDCs) to tackle climate change and adapt to its adverse impacts.  Article 2 of the agreement states its overall objective to include strengthening the global response to the threat of climate change, in the context of sustainable development and efforts to eradicate poverty, including by (i) keeping global temperature increase below 2 degrees Celsius and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, (ii) increasing the ability to adapt to the adverse impacts of climate change and foster climate resilience and low greenhouse gas emissions development, in a manner that does not threaten food production; and (iii) making finance flows consistent with a pathway towards low greenhouse gas emissions and climate-resilient development. Article 2 further states that the Agreement will be implemented to reflect equity and the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities, in the light of different national circumstances.

Countries submitted their intended nationally determined contributions (INDCs) in the lead up to COP21, confirming their commitment to take collective action in implementing actions to reduce emissions. These INDCs became NDCs upon ratification, approval or acceptance of the Paris Agreement by Parties. Of the 153 countries that have ratified the Paris Agreement as of 20 July 2017, 39 are from Africa (i.e. over 72% of African countries). This signals a strong commitment and leadership on climate action from African countries. However, to materialize this high commitment level by African countries, there must be adequate means of implementation – finance, technology and capacity - as provided for in Article 2 of the Paris Agreement. Furthermore, African countries need to review their ambitions to ensure relevance and coherence with national development plans and priorities for sustainable development and poverty reduction in accordance with the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the African Union development blueprint – Agenda 2063.  

Hardly a year into the Paris Agreement, the euphoria of COP21 has been dampened by the announcement in June 2017 by the United States (the second highest emitter of greenhouse gases after China) of its intention to withdraw from the agreement. This could hasten the pace toward the 2 degrees Celsius global temperature guardrail against run away climate change with catastrophic consequences for many parts of the world, especially Africa which has contributed very little to cumulative greenhouse gas emissions concentrations in the atmosphere. However, the implementation of the Paris Agreement ushers in new opportunities for African countries to capitalize on their late-comer status and take a global lead on low-carbon climate-resilient development, building on enhanced and new partnerships at the regional (e.g. the ClimDev-Africa joint programme of the ECA, AUC and AfDB) and international (e.g. the recent G20 Africa Partnership and the Africa-EU Strategic Partnership) levels  for effective means of implementation. Given the significance of the voluntary approach to implementation of the Paris Agreement and the potential pitfalls with its implementation against a background of adverse impacts of climate change already being felt in Africa and the urgency of the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and African Union’s Agenda 2063, it is important to understand the NDCs and their implementation in terms of:

  • Intentions - revisiting the objective of the UNFCCC vis-à-vis the objective of the Paris Agreement
  • interests – understanding and responding to the political economy of climate change and the Paris Agreement vis-à-vis Africa’s development priorities
  • Issues – assessing the limitations of the Paris Agreement and the level of ambition in NDCs, as well as ensuring coherence and alignment with national development priorities
  • Investments – market and non-market mechanisms for climate finance; the roles of state and non-state actors; evaluating the adequacy and effectiveness of climate finance under the framework of the Paris Agreement; assessing the right policy and regulatory framework for an enabling environment for innovative and multiple sources of finance and investment as well as opportunities to leapfrog the deployment of low-carbon and environmentally sound technologies for climate action and development
  • Iventories – preparedness for the global stocktake of NDCs in 2018 under the framework of the Paris Agreement, as well as assessing capacity readiness for implementation of NDCs and measuring Africa’s contribution to emissions reduction 


To critically examine the NDCs of African countries and Africa’s readiness to translate NDCs into actionable development plans and programmes, assess the effectiveness of mechanisms to provide adequate means of implementation to meet the required levels of ambition; and examine global political economy issues for the effective implementation of NDCs in support of sustainable, inclusive and climate-resilient development on the continent.


This year, CCDA is expected to attract 400-500 participants. Specific constituencies expected to attend from within and outside of Africa include researchers, academia, policy makers, parliamentarians, negotiators, development partners, intergovernmental organizations, media professionals, Multilateral Development Banks, the private sector, civil society, and youth and gender groups.


CCDA-VII will be organized into five subthemes constituting the “the 5 ‘Is’ of implementing the Paris Agreement in Africa” – Intentions, Interests, Issues, Investments and Inventory. Deliberations on each of the subthemes will be guided by the topics outlined below:

Subtheme 1: Intentions

  • 2 degrees target
  • Aggregation
  • Rules and regulations
  • UNFCCC/Paris agreement

Subtheme 2: Interests

  • Political economy of climate change
  • Sectoral and economic-wide NDCs
  • Decarbonization of development (industrialization; adaptation/mitigation; urbanization)

Subtheme 3: Issues

  • Voluntary actions (conditional and unconditional)
  • Alignment with national development priorities
  • Level of ambition
  • Limitations of the Paris Agreement
  • Migration, adaptation, loss and damage, and restoration

Subtheme 4: Investments

  • Market and non-market mechanisms
  • The roles of state and non-state actors
  • Adequacy and effectiveness of existing forms of climate finance
  • Innovations and new forms of climate finance
  • Technology transfer and capacity development

Subtheme 5: Inventory

  • Preparedness and capacity readiness for implementation
  • Stock taking – where we are
  • Aggregation of Africa’s contributions to climate change mitigation efforts

Breakout sessions

These subthemes will be addressed in plenary sessions and further elaborated in parallel sessions on place/thematic based orientation of implementation of the Paris Agreement:

  • Urban areas
  • Ecosystems
  • Coastal areas
  • Energy and infrastructure
  • Agriculture   


CCDA-VII will employ three different approaches over four days in reaching out and convening the wide range of constituencies and actors engaged in climate change and development in Africa. By coalescing different platforms for dialogue and interaction between state and non-state actors, policymakers and researchers, youths, civil society organizations, negotiators and the private sector, CCDA-VII  will facilitate and enrich the sharing of lessons, key research findings, outreach and policy uptake as well as stimulate investments.


Pre-events and partnership meetings

As has been the tradition of previous CCDAs, this day is set aside for pre-event forums where civil society, non-state actors, policymakers, researchers, the youth, other stakeholders and ClimDev-Africa’s partners will discuss topics that are in line with the theme of the conference with the aim of forging partnerships.


Day 1 of CCDA-VII will consist of a high level segment and plenary sessions on the subthemes. The high level segment will include (i) addresses by representatives of the ClimDev-Africa Consortium, (ii) a keynote address that will focus on reflections on the Paris Agreement and the implications of emerging issues on Africa’s development priorities, and (iii) a high level panel discussion on the keynote address topic and Africa’s strategic response to effective implementation of NDCs in support of national and regional development priorities.


Day 2 of CCDA-VII will consist of a plenary session in the first half of morning segment on the remaining subthemes as well as deep-dive parallel sessions in the second morning session on the place/thematic based orientation of implementation of the Paris Agreement topics:       

  • Urban areas
  • Ecosystems
  • Coastal areas
  • Energy and infrastructure
  • Agriculture   

The afternoon session will be the beginning of  Climate Information and Services (CIS) Day on the theme of  CIS Innovation and Entrepreneurship. The aim of the CIS Day  is to create a platform for promoting the importance of climate information and services in Africa’s development agenda, human wellbeing and economic prosperity with the goal of increasing policy uptake of CIS. The highlight of the opening plenary will be the second Prof. Godwin Olu Patrick Obasi Memorial Lecture. The topic of this year’s lecture will be: “Global warming of 1.5°C: Climate science-policy opportunities and challenges”.  


Second segment of CIS Day and closing segment

The first half of this day will be continuation of the CIS Day in the first half and will include a a showcasing and sharing of good practices for the development of climate information services on the continent. There will also be parallel sessions and exhibitions on each of the sub-themes. The second half of Day 3 will be the closing segment consisting of a plenary for reporting outcomes from the breakout groups and CIS Day and a closing segment.