Statement by Abdalla Hamdok Executive Secretary (a.i) of the Economic Commission for Africa on the historic coming into force of the Paris Agreement

Statement by Abdalla Hamdok Executive Secretary (a.i) of the Economic Commission for Africa on the historic coming into force of the Paris Agreement


04 November, 2016 Addis Ababa. Today marks the historic entry into force of the Paris Agreement.  It is a significant day for the global commitment to hold global warming to no more than 2C above pre-industrial levels. A threshold that scientists regard as the limit of safety, beyond which, climate change is likely to become irreversible.


When the Paris Agreement was concluded in December 2015, the expectation was that it would come into force in 2020. In a testament to the urgency of the climate crisis, it has taken just 11 months for the Paris Agreement to enter into a force.


This makes the forthcoming 22nd Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate (COP 22) scheduled from 7 to 18 November, 2016, a very significant COP as regards the development of mechanisms and provisions for the operationalization of the Paris agreement. The COP22 has aptly been dubbed the implementation COP – the COP of Action.


The ECA has worked with its sister pan-African institutions to fortify Africa’s presence at the COP22 with an Africa Pavilion that will build on the success of the same effort at COP21. The ECA is going to COP22 convinced that the Paris Agreement must deliver for Africa. We are therefore taking to Marrakech the following key messages, validated by the discussions at our 6th Climate Change and Development in Africa Conference (CCDA) held in preparation for COP22. These messages urge governments and other stakeholders to show leadership in the implementation of the Paris Agreement.


COP 22 Key Messages


The unprecedented speed of the coming into force of the Paris Agreement is an urgent call to action for those African countries who have not yet ratified the agreement to revise their INDCs for enhanced coherence and alignment with national development plans and priorities, as well as means of implementation.


Africa has played a key role towards the attainment of the Paris Agreement. Developed countries must fulfil their obligations as well as commitments in supporting African countries with the means of implementation for the Paris Agreement. 


COP 22 has been referred to as the "Implementation COP". The Paris Agreement does not make provision for the means of implementation, particularly of the Nationally Determined Commitments (NDCs). These questions must be resolved at COP 22. For Africa, it is important that the existing means of implementation (provisions for climate finance, technology transfer and capacity building) are grossly inadequate to enable the comprehensive implementation of the continents NDCs. It is thus crucial that COP 22 reviews and addresses this question in ways that respond to the continents development imperatives.


The UN 2030 Sustainable Development Goals, Africa’s transformation Agenda 2063 and the Paris Agreement must be implemented in an integrated way with the urgent priority of reaching the poor and most vulnerable at the core implementation.


The momentum of the Paris Agreement provides the opportunity for African countries to fully optimize their abundant renewable energy resources to power low carbon climate resilient development and inclusive growth.


The Paris Agreement also provides the impetus for a paradigm shift towards structural transformation based on green industrialization which adds value to Africa’s commodities and increases global competiveness. 


Appropriate policy and regulatory frameworks are needed to attract investment, leverage public resources to mobilise private sector and other sources of funding, including domestic resource mobilisation, green bonds and other innovative instruments such as diaspora bonds for low carbon climate resilient and inclusive growth.


African initiatives – including those launched at COP 21 (such as the Africa Renewable Energy Initiative and the Africa Adaptation Initiative) – must be properly coordinated at the continental level, and with national level implementation aligned with the SDGs and Agenda 2063.


There is urgent for a coordinated framework for enhancing the role of non-state actors in climate action through regional programmes and institutions. In this regard there is urgent need to prepare African non-state actors for participation in the mechanism and approached defined in Article 6 of the Paris Agreement.


The impacts of climate change in Africa is increasing in complexity resulting in new and emerging threats on lives and livelihoods, catalyzing new dynamics of migration, disasters and conflict, which in turn amplifies the impacts of climate change. Holistic and integrated policy and implementation approaches are needed to address these threats.


Robust and timely climate information is critical for informed policy and decision making in managing climate risks. As climate change gathers pace, a more integrated and comprehensive approach to the generation, packaging, delivery and use of climate information services for the implementation of the Paris Agreement is thus even more imperative.


African countries should incentivize investments to transform the agricultural sector to capitalize on the opportunities of the nexus between climate change, agricultural production and trade for wealth and global competitiveness, especially for small holder farmers.


African countries should invest in the opportunities arising from climate change to create livelihood options for its youth such as innovations in renewable energy, agriculture and environmentally sound technologies.


There is urgent need for inter and intra-regional collaboration for innovations, research and development in support of climate solutions.