VICTORIA FALLS, Zimbabwe, 27 October 2015 (ClimDev-Africa) – The Coordinator of the African Climate Policy Centre (ACPC), and Director of the Special Initiatives Division at the UN Economic Commission for Africa, has fired up partners of the ClimDev-Africa initiative for a hitch-free 5th Annual Conference on Climate Change and Development in Africa (CCDA 5) which opens here tomorrow.
As preparations for CCDA 5 get into high gear, Dr. Fatima Denton who heads the Secretariat of the initiative at ACPC, called on the organizing committee of the event to leave no stone unturned to ensure that the established scientific and policy character of the annual event is upheld.
“CCDA is the single most important flagship event of ClimDev-Africa; it is the event during which we call the world into our unique space; and this particular CCDA is distinctively scientific in character in the sense that we received not less than 800 abstracts. We have no right to fail all these experts whose continuous presence reinforces the notion that CCDA is a-to-go event on climate change in Africa”, Ms Denton said.
The theme of CCDA 5 is: “Africa, Climate Change and Sustainable development: What is at stake at Paris and beyond?” she recalled, saying it had been so chosen to frame presentations and discussions in ways that concrete proposals could be elicited to strengthen Africa’s contributions at COP 21 which opens in Paris, France at the end of this month. The Victoria Falls Conference comes during a watershed year in global climate negotiations and its content and outcomes will impact Africa’s position on climate change for the next several years.
The Government of Zimbabwe has thrown its full weight behind the Conference, explains Mr. Washington Zhakata, Director of Climate Change in the Ministry of Climate, Water and Sustainable Development. “The Government is giving this conference the highest priority because it has a clear understanding of the negative impacts that climate change has on its national development. More so, it has the firm conviction of the government that African perspectives need to inform the global response to climate change”, says Mr. Zhakata.
This explains why the government will be represented at the opening session by the Vice President of the Republic, H. E. Hon. Emmerson D. Mnangagwa. The 5th CCDA comes at the time when several voices have been raised as to the very future the mighty Victoria Falls because of the toll climate impacts appears to be taking on one of the longest waterfalls in the world.
This meeting is also expected to mark a turning point in the Climate Research for Development (CR4D) initiative in Africa because its first scientific advisory committee meeting has been convened for today, on the sidelines of CCDA5. Expectations are said to be high among African climate scientists, given the number of important outcomes expected from that meeting; the most significant of which will be deliberating on a framework for establishing a multi-institutional and multi-stakeholders platform for the co-design and co-production of climate information and services for development planning.
Another key post-CCDA 5 activity by CR4D will be the initiation of short-term pilot projects across all the regions of Africa. These projects will develop proto-types for improving sub-seasonal to seasonal climate information in partnership with ongoing initiatives within the regional climate centres and national meteorological and hydrological services.
Meanwhile, the technical committee of CCDA 5 has touted the creation of solution spaces at the conference as a key innovation that would help to sharpen Africa’s proposals for each negotiation stream during COP 21 in Paris.
The idea of creating solution forums, was developed out of a desire by ClimDev-Africa to move beyond bemoaning the negative impacts of climate change to retail success stories that demonstrate how local innovations and community-generated initiatives can illustrate that climate change is not always a calamity; and that it often holds a host of opportunities for every affected community.
The approach was first tested during the maiden session of a series of discussions that were held in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania from 3-5 September, under the theme, 'Democratizing Global Climate Change Governance and Building an African Consensus toward COP 21 and Beyond”.
In another development, energy specialists and policy makers will have much to talk about at the forthcoming Conference on climate Change and Development in Africa which, according to the organizing committee (CCDA 5).
The draft agenda for the conference proposes to adopt a three-prong approach for a comprehensive discussion on the nexus between energy and sustainable development as a whole. The meeting will discuss the critical role of bio-energy transition and resulting environmental benefits; opportunities for renewable energy for climate mitigation and resilience; and, the policy and regulatory framework required to unlock transformative financing.
Discussions on the policy and regulatory framework required to unlock transformative financing first came to the fore in Africa last July at side event organized by ACPC on margins of the Third International Conference on Financing for Development which took place in Addis Ababa from 13 to 16 July 2015.
It would be recalled that during the side event on the theme “Unlocking Transformative Financing for Renewable Energy and Climate Resilience in Africa: From Evidence to Widespread Replication, Dr. Carlos Lopes, UN Under-Secretary General and Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Africa.
The objective of the discussion had been to frame a replicable blueprint that African countries could use to develop strategies for unlocking and catalyzing public–private partnerships, domestic resources, foreign direct investment and climate finance for renewable energy deployment in support of sustainable and inclusive development on the continent beyond 2015.
It highlighted experiences and evidence on the ground on mobilizing transformative financing to invest in low-carbon, climate-resilient development in Africa, building on lessons learned from renewable energy deployment in countries such as South Africa, Ethiopia, Kenya and Rwanda, among others.
On the eve of the opening session a series of pre-events kicked off today at the Elephant Hill Hotel by professional groups and NGOs, including a media training workshop organisd by the Pan-African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA).
Issued by ClimDev-Africa News Service.