African Climate Talks

The Africa Climate Talks:

Democratizing global climate change governance and building an African consensus toward COP21 and beyond

As the global climate governance framework has evolved and become more complex, the challenges of engaging with this framework to reflect the interests of the African states as well as to create a conducive environment to support the development of African national and regional responses has also become more challenging. Various initiatives have been launched to support African governments and negotiators in the UNFCCC processes. These have cumulatively improved Africa’s engagement with the convention and its protocols.


For Africa in particular, COP21 represents a moment when the creation of a new global agreement coincides with the increasing influence and confidence of Africa on the global scene. African economies have been growing significantly over the past decade along with efforts to strengthen self-determination in all spheres. In the climate change context, the continent has put in place a Committee of Heads of State on Climate Change (CAHOSCC), African Ministers of Environment have an annual conference at which climate change has become the most significant discussion; African Regional Economic Commissions have elaborated regional climate strategies; and most African governments have put in place policy and legal frameworks to guide their own national climate responses.


The Africa Climate Talks is an initiative of ClimDev-Africa, a partnership programme between the African Union Commission (AUC), African Development Bank (AfDB) and the UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), are a series of interconnected sub-regional events that will be part of the preparatory process for Africa’s contribution to COP 21, defining an African climate change narrative and further building confidence and consensus around key issues. The Africa Climate Talks do not seek to supplant ongoing national, regional and international initiatives, but rather to enrich them by enlarging the spaces for engagement and further democratize the discussions.


Africa Climate Talks (ACT!)

Aim engage Africans from all spheres of life in the lead up to the Paris COP21 and to stimulate a wide-ranging discourse informed by the emerging African common positions on a range of pertinent issues in the lead up to Paris, and to also create platforms for the discussion of African perspectives on key issues in the linkages between climate change and Africa’s transformative development trajectories. ACT! will enhance public awareness of climate change; its implications, challenges and opportunities for Africa and facilitate critical reflection on the global dynamics of climate governance and the possible implications of the outcomes of COP21 for Africa.  


The Africa Climate Talks will provide spaces for national and regional collaboration on climate change; provide platforms for information sharing and interaction between different stakeholders on topical issues and catalyze the convergence of the multiple positions and interests on climate issues on the continent. The debates will be held in each region of Africa as well as in the African Small Island States.

Day 1. High Level Address

A keynote address delivered by a prominent speaker, followed by an active moderated debate will set the stage for the subsequent discussions. This address will be live-streamed online to reach wider audiences, and will also be extensively covered in various media.


Day 2. Dialogue Series

Led by policy makers, negotiators, researchers and civil society representatives on key issues of the post Kyoto climate governance framework including but not limited to Means of Implementation, Climate Science and Climate Policy, Climate Change and Transformative Development; and Climate Governance among other issues.


Day 3. Solutions Forum

A Marketplace of Ideas for civil society to showcase their solutions to to long standing challenges and opportunities posed by climate change in Africa. African civil society is at the forefront of developing and scaling up local solutions to climate change and this space offers a chance to hear from them, to learn from new ideas and to share ways of scaling up such innovations.


The day will be organised into a set of solution forums around specific issues based on the themes of the earlier two days of the talks. The aim will be to encourage dynamic, interactive inputs that help participants reflect on their experiences and that of others, as well as drawing out cross-cutting messages from these experience to take forward to CCDA-V and COP 21.


For further information and to apply to participate in the Solutions Forum please visit


Call for Expression of ACT Solution forum ...

The annual flagship event of ClimDev-Africa* is a highly interactive conference which is an increasingly valued space for multi-stakeholder engagement around key African climate-related issues. CCDA is an important platform for policy engagement around climate and development issues in Africa.


The fifth conference, CCDA-V to be held in Victoria Falls/Livingstone in Zimbabwe and Zambia respectively, will provide a space for high level discussions where key messages can be articulated and crystallized to reflect Africa's interests and growing confidence as a critical stakeholder in global climate change governance and strengthen Africa’s ability to seize opportunities from climate change to better prepare the continent for transformative development.


The conference will bring together participants from African member states, regional economic communities, river basin organizations and representatives of the United Nations and non-governmental organizations, the private sector, academia and development partners.
The Africa Pavilion COP21 Le Bourget, Paris


ACT(!) East and Southern Africa and Indian Ocean Small Island States

  • Dar es Salaam, Tanzania                         3-5 September

Hosted by: ClimDev -Africa, NEPAD, University of Dar es Salaam and the Pan African Climate Justice Alliance

ACT (!) West, Central and North Africa and Atlantic Ocean Small Island States

  • Dakar, Senegal                                       1-3 October

Hosted by: ClimDev-Africa, NEPAD, and the Pan African Climate Justice Alliance

Climate and Development in Africa (CCDA) Conference

  • Victoria Falls Zimbabwe/Livingstone Zambia         28-30 October

Hosted by ClimDev- Africa

Africa Pavilion at COP21

  • Paris, France                                                    30 Nov - 11 Dec

Hosted by: ClimDev Africa and NEPAD


President of SADC Parliamentary Forum
EU representative;
Executive secretaries;
Secretary Generals;
Vice Chancellors;
Invited Guests;
Ladies and Gentlemen;

Let me start by expressing my heartfelt appreciation for inviting me to be the guest of honour at this important conference on Africa Climate Talks. This conference is a clear signal that Africa is ready to shift from being just a mere spectator at COP meetings to a key player. This comes after the realization that the Kyoto Protocol has not benefited Africa as the other regions because of poor preparation before the negotiations. But also, the African ministers who attend COP meetings face challenges arising from lack of a common stand on African issues. Africa's stakes are high; it bears the greatest proportion of risks and impacts posed by climate change, which incidentally is disproportionate to its share of responsibility for global warming. Africa has demonstrated a strong commitment to the global process.


Observations show the international negotiations to tackle this problem have been embraced by Africa, even where there should be reservations. Africa is the only global region with the greatest proportion of people living below USD $2 a day that imposes a cap to consumption opportunities. If economic strategies have to be built around low carbon intensive pathways, how will this affect and restrict growth in terms of per capita GHG emissions in Africa? Low carbon growth is definitely a positive thing, if invested in and provided with adequate support to ensure implementation in terms of finance, capacity and technology transfer , Unfortunately, all the previous pledges in relation to support for implementation have fallen short and in some cases remained illusive promises.


Honourable Delegates;

The president of the United States of America recently stated that climate change is the hardest challenge to solve politically and is fast becoming the weapon of mass destruction. This is an incontrovertible truth. Climate science is clearer than many leaders would like to believe. For humanity to have a chance of staying below the 2°C threshold, a small reduction in CO2 emissions will not be enough.


The unpalatable truth is that emissions will have to fall to zero later this century in order to stop any further rise in the atmospheric concentration of CO2• Climate science has been compelling us to act. 97% of scientific findings show that climate change is real and humans are responsible. These findings are evidence-supported; peer-reviewed; and fact-based. Signs of climate change are evident everywhere, There is sea level rise; extreme weather events; prolonged droughts; food insecurity and climate change related conflicts, among others. For the developing countries, these challenges are interacting with existing vulnerabilities to worsen the already bad situation. Climate science is telling us that there is still a window of opportunity; however, this window is closing very fast.


Distinguished Delegates;

In spite of what may be achieved in Paris, we are all fully aware that the post-Kyoto agreement that will be negotiated will not remove all climate challenges facing the world today. However, it will be a step in the right direction. If we fail to act now, it will be a moral and policy failure. How can our children and grandchildren understand our failure to act in the face of such compelling evidence of impending disaster? Sdence defines the law of gravity and also defines the freezing, melting and the boiling points. How do we fail to understand when the same science tells us that any temperature increase beyond 2°e is catastrophic? Definitely, something is wrong here.


Honourable Delegates;

As we fast approach COP 21, it is encouraging to learn that industrialized nations are finally realizing the impact and magnitude of climate change. The United States and China- the world's greatest emitters- have realized the importance of the issue of clean energy and have announced their emission targets. At the G-7 summit held from 7th - 8th June 2015, the G-seven governments declared that the 2°C limit requires "de-carbonization of the global economy over the course of this century." They stated clearly that humanity must not merely reduce, but must end, carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels this century, This is an important announcement, which must be taken note of. At the Vatican gathering in April this year, which included world-leading climate scientists and Nobel laureates, Pope Francis and the religious leaders of all the world's major religions urged the world to take wisdom from faith and climate sdence in order to fulfil moral responsibilities to humanity and to the future of Earth. In the same vein, the United Nations Secretary General, Ban Kl-moon, clearly stated that climate change action now is both a practical need and a moral imperative. We should heed their call.


Distinguished Delegates;

The convergence of thinking on the need to take action implies that urgent and concrete steps are needed to address climate change, as set out in the Intergovernmental Panel in Climate Change (IPCC's) Fifth Assessment Report. In this regard, the 2015 UN Climate Conference in Paris (COP 21) is a crucial conference, because it needs to achieve a new international agreement on Climate, applicable to all countries with the aim of keeping global warming below 2°C. It also implies that the required reduction in emissions of 40 to 70% by 2050 as set by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) is a challenge that can only be met by a global response.


Although the recent efforts are still substantially short of achieving the universallyagreed goal of keeping the warming increase below 20 C, the developments represent an important first step in increasing momentum for ambition raising and open the way for further improvements in the run-up towards the global agreement to be adopted at COP 21 in Paris.


Honourable Delegates;

We are gathered here today to explore how Africa can take up its position and play an active role at the COP 21 Conference in Paris at the end of this year. I understand that this conference is one of the interconnected sub-regional events that will be part of the preparatory process for Africa's contribution to COP 21. It will seek to define an African climate change narrative and further build confidence and consensus around key issues. Fortunately, a lot of our African negotiators understand the intricacies and the complexities of climate change negotiations. However, it is dear that although they understand these intricacies and complexities, they have- in the past- faced major challenges in their attempt to change any aspect of climate change negotiations.


Africa has many African scholars who are well grounded in the science and politics of climate change. Therefore, the problem of Africa doesn't seem to be capacity as such. The main problem- if one may say- is that they do not have real political backing from visionary leaders in Africa. It is to expect too much for the developed countries to do this for us. We need to change and the change has to start from within. The preparation has to begin from Within. The vision has to be crafted from within and we have to go to Paris to champion a narrative and cause that is consistent with our own development aspirations.


Distinguished Delegates;

Finally, let me point out the crucial issue of the Intended Nationally Determined Commitments (INDC) that was a cornerstone of the Lima Call for Action during COP 20 and has emerged as a key expectation of the Paris climate negotiations. Regrettably, it should be noted that the framing of the INDC is still heavily skewed towards mitigation, as opposed to the equal weighting repeatedly requested by parties from developing countries for mitigation and adaptation. Although the Parties have been invited to consider the topic of adaptation in their INDCs, countries are not explicitly expected to put forward "finance commitments" as part of their INDCs.


On the contrary, the document does request developed countries to provide finance for ambitious mitigation actions in developing countries. Africa should ensure that the new agreement reflects the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities, in light of different national circumstances as reiterated in Lima. It is therefore imperative that Africa should have a clear understanding of the negotiation process so as to better contribute to it and participate in its implementation in a meaningful way.


Honourable Delegates;

May I conclude by observing that success at COP 21 is critical to the post-2015 global climate regime that could keep climate change under control. It is my hope that this conference will contribute to Africa's preparedness in forging a strategy that ultimately will result in a monitoring and evaluation framework for Africa's climate negotiations.


It is my belief that this conference will definitely put Africa's main players on climate change on a better footing as we strive to get the best for the continent from the new agreement on climate change, scheduled to replace the Kyoto Protocol. Since we are negotiating a new agreement, nobody in Africa will benefit if we make the same mistakes that we made in the Kyoto Protocol negotiations. It is therefore important that COP 21 succeeds. If a new climate agreement is not reached, the world's sustainable development path will be jeopardized.


With these remarks, I declare the conference open and I wish you successful deliberations.