Dinner Dialogue - Concept Note

Providing climate services for Africa’s transformation agenda - in what ways can we do more and better?

Date: 10 December 2014

Venue: Marriott Hotel

I. Background and rationale

  1. The 20th Conference of the Parties (COP 20) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the 10th Session of the Meeting of the Parties (CMP 10) taking place in Lima, Peru, from 01 to 12 December 2014, serves as an important hallmark in the build up to COP21 in 2015 in Paris during which a post-Kyoto agreement is expected to be signed that kicks-off in 2020.  While the assembly in Lima is expected to centre on negotiating a new global climate deal by the parties, it ushers in a period of deep reflection for Africa that currently bears the greater share of the burden posed by climate change, but ironically enjoys the fastest continuous economic growth of all global regions for more than a decade. Africa’s reflections at this time of COP20 are not simply a construct of the negotiations, but primarily tailored on continuously galvanising economic growth that is framed to be resilient to climate change using the best sciences and climate information services.
  2. Africa is on a rise, and there is a political will in transitioning towards a low-carbon development pathway as manifested by the rapid embracement of green and blue economy strategies to transform economies in the region including Africa’s Small Island Development States. The realisation of this transformation agenda requires turning the tide against climate change impacts heading towards the continent as projected by all major scientific findings including the recently released IPCC Fifth Assessment Report.
  3. Climate information services provide the shield for turning the tide, and safeguarding the gains made in economic growth so far, and capitalizing on emerging opportunities for continuous growth.  Besides encapsulating Africa’s development from climate impacts, it can be a catalyst for increasing the scope and scale of transformation, and serving as a lubricant for interrelated sectors in optimising their productivities cost-effectively, while minimising trade-offs across systems.

II.  Are we investing enough for climate services?

  1. We know that key economic sectors are largely sensitive to the climate e.g. water, energy, agriculture
  2. We know that climate variability and change can have dire effects and is already impacting Africa’s development.
  3. We know that climate information and knowledge are vital in addressing climate change impacts in adaptation and mitigation.
  4. We know that securing access to reliable, timely weather and climate information is critical to informed decision-making to absorb climate shocks.
  5. We know that connecting across scales (temporal, spatial, and social), communicating climate risks and uncertainies is a no-lose critical necessity.
  6. We know that there is a gulf between the availability of climate information and the ability of vulnerable groups and sectors to act upon that information;
  7. We know that climate change can overturn all the economic achievements that far.
  8. We know that climate change can open up development and finance opportunities

III. What we are not doing

  1. With all this knowledge, are we investing enough for climate information services mindful of the risks on our development?
  2. This dinner dialogue is organized by the ClimDev-Africa programme which is implemented under the auspices of the African Union Commission (AUC), African Development Bank (AfDB), and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA). The dinner dialogue is intended to bring together a high level delegation from the three partner institutions, friends and partners of Africa for a discussion in scooping knowledge, lessons, and information of the best sciences and climate information services, from the assemblies of experts, policymakers, actors, the private sectors etc. present in Lima for COP20. The dialogue will also inform the audience of the ClimDev – Africa programme activities, and the relevance of linking climate services to development, and future investment plans to address persistent knowledge gaps. The ClimDev Special Fund (CDSF) aimed to finance the enhancement of national and regional meteorological and hydrological services in providing quality data and climate information services will be highlighted.

IV. Objectives

  1. The objective of this dinner dialogue is to provide a multidisciplinary platform to discuss various perspectives for enhancing the provision of climate information services in support of Africa’s transformation. The dinner will also allow for building partnerships and resource mobilization to respond to the investment needs for climate services in Africa.

V. Specific Objectives

7.  Building from the dialogue, the specific objectives will include:

  1. Increasing investments in climate information services;
  2. Discuss regional investments in climate information services e.g. CDSF;
  3. Forging partnerships for implementing concrete actions;
  4. Building research consortium such as the Climate Research for Development in Africa (CR4D) initiative;
  5. Sharing lessons of good practices;
  6. The role of youths in scaling up the dissemination and utilisation of climate information;
  7. Packaging climate information for usage at decision-making and farmers’ levels

VI. Setting the Scene of the Dialogue

  1. Within the framework of ClimDev-Africa mandate in supporting African countries with the provision of reliable climate information services, Dr Fatima Denton, Director of Special Initiative Division of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, will provide highlights on the establishment of the ‘Climate Research for Development in Africa’ (CR4D) initiative and the steps towards its operationalization. There will be a report on the operationalization of the ClimDev Special Fund (CDSF) as requested in the first Dinner Dialogue during COP18 in Doha.

VII. Structure of the Dialogue

  1. The moderator will use pre-determined questions to guide and coordinate the discussion in a participatory approach in pre-defined seating arrangements of the guests. Each dinner table will be provided a topic for discussion by the moderator. The table members will appoint a chair and a rapporteur to record the key points of their discussions, and report back during the discussion.

VIII. Provisional Agenda

Moderator: Mr. Filipe Lúcio – Director, Global Framework for Climate Services, WMO

18.45  Arrival and registration of guests

19.00  Opening remarks

  • African Union Commission - Ms. Olushola Olayide, Senior Policy Officer, Rural Economy and Agriculture.
  • Economic Commission for Africa – Dr. Abdalla Hamdok – Deputy Executive Secretary, United Nations Economic Commission for Africa or his representative.
  • African Development Bank – Mr. Alex Rugamba, Director of Energy and Climate Change Department and Chair of Climate Change Coordination Committee.

19.30  Setting the Scene: Dr. Fatima Denton, Director of Special Initiative Division of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa

  1. Dinner & Dialogue Discussion

21.30 Closing remarks