Africa Day

Africa Day Concept Note

"High Implementing the Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) in Africa: Moving from Commitment to Action" 

Date:  Wednesday 16 November 2016    

Venue: African Pavilion at COP22


I. Context

Climate change is one of the greatest challenges facing the world. In response to this challenge, the Conferences of Parties (COPs) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) have become important spaces for the continuing global effort to refine and strengthen the international collaborative and regulatory framework on climate change and to improve global climate governance. The COP 21 in Paris in December last year delivered the landmark Paris Agreement that committed all countries through their Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs).

The Paris Agreement provides a great opportunity to strengthen the global response to the threat of climate change, in the context of sustainable development. During the 2016 Opening Ceremony for signature of the Paris Agreement, held at United Nations Headquarters in New York on 22 April 2016, 175 Parties (174 countries and the European Union) signed the Agreement, and 15 States deposited instruments of ratification. Forty six (46) African countries have signed the Agreement during the signing ceremony. 

Over the recent years, Africa played a critical role into the UNFCCC negotiation process, consistently advocating for a binding and fair agreement to address climate change, resulting in the adoption of the Paris Agreement. Africa has shown leadership in the global climate change negotiations by establishing the Committee of African Heads of State and Government on Climate Change (CAHOSCC) in 2009 to coordinate the work of the African Ministerial Conference on the Environment (AMCEN) and the African Group of Negotiators (AGN) that ensure that Africa continues to speak with one voice at all levels of the climate change negotiations. Following the successful COP 21 in Paris, the COP 22 that will take place in Marrakech, Morocco from 7-18 November 2016, constitutes an important event.  For Africa, if COP 21 in Paris was a COP of Agreement, COP 22 is tagged as the COP of implementation. It is anticipated that the Paris Agreement will have significant implications and prospects for Africa’s development over the next years. Therefore, COP 22 offers Africa with an opportunity to demonstrate leadership on the implementation of the Paris Agreement, including through the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), in ensuring that the means of implementation indicated in the Paris Agreement, namely Finance, Capacity Building and Technology Development and Transfer are provided, as these represent critical aspects for Africa. At COP 22, Africa would need to demonstrate that it is ready for the implementation of the Paris Agreement and the INDCs that will soon become NDCs.

The NDCs represent a unique opportunity to shape a new climate-compatible development pathway, while underpinning effective climate policies in the years to come. As they marked a noticeable deviation from the business-as-usual development pathway, challenges still remain to translate the commitments made under the NDCs into actionable and effective measures. Recent analysis suggests that, despite the INDCs, the world is still on a pathway of warming from 2.5 to nearly 4°C above preindustrial levels. According to an analysis released by the Climate Action Tracker (CAT), if implemented, the current INDCs would bring global warming down to 2.7°C.

As the year 2020 is when the Paris Agreement and the NDCs will come into effect, it is important for African countries to secure significant and adequate means of support (finance, capacities, and technologies) for the implementation of their NDCs. Without substantial support, it would be impossible for African countries to achieve goals and targets outlined in their NDCs. In addition, clear alignment of NDCs with existing national development priorities and other climate change initiatives such as the Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions (NAMAs), National Adaptation Programmes of Action (NAPAs) and the National Adaptation Plans (NAPs) is required, based on national circumstances and capabilities of individual African countries.

It is thus, critical and urgent for Africa to deliberate on the implementation of the Paris Agreement, especially the NDCs that will have major implications and prospects for the continent’s development . The Africa Day thus, provides a platform that brings together African leaders and policymakers into a dialogue in charting a course and position to  support the implementation of the Paris Agreement, including the NDCs. It is therefore crucial that Africa outlines a clear plan for securing means of implementation for the NDCs, in the context of Africa’s development agenda and the African  common position on climate change.

In this regards, the Africa Day will serve as an opportunity for the continent to demonstrate commitments for the implementation of the Paris Agreement, advocate for   significant support for the implementation of the this Agreement, and  highlight Africa-specific challenges and opportunities regarding the development of INDCs. 

II. Objective

The main objective of the Africa Day high level event is to provide a platform and opportunity to critically examine the Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) submitted by African countries as part of the Paris Agreement, while emphasizing key elements of success, implementation challenges, and prospects for Africa’s development.

More specifically, the Africa Day seeks to achieve the following objectives: 

  • Outline Africa’s priorities for the implementation of the NDCs in the context of the Paris Agreement;
  • Review the implications and prospects for the implementation of the NDCs for Africa, including associated challenges and opportunities;
  • Have an open conversation on issues related to means of implementation for NDCs to support African countries’ national development strategies that are inclusive and aligned to climate-resilient and low carbon transition;
  • Debate on the existing opportunities for NDCs’ financing in Africa, in the context of the Paris Agreement and of SDGs in Africa.

III. Structure and Expected Outcomes

The structure of the Africa Day will  be as follows:

  1. Keynote addresses by Heads of AUC, UNECA, AfDB, Head of AMCEN
  2. Expert Panel Discussion, with a presentation on ”Implementing the NDCs in Africa: Opportunities and Challenges”
  3. Ministerial Dialogue on ”NDCs in Africa: Policy implications and future prospects”
  4. Conclusion and way forward.

 The expected outcomes of the Africa Day Event are as follows:

  • Good understanding of Africa’s readiness regarding the implementation the NDCs;
  • Opportunities and challenges for the implementation of NDCs in Africa;
  • Better understanding of the implications and prospects of NDCs on Africa’s development. 

IV. Targeted Participants

The COP 22 Africa Day, as in the past, will be targeting primarily African leaders, global leaders and African stakeholders participating at COP 22 and the broad range of development partners and the donor community. Specialized groups like African Negotiators on climate change, Scientists, Experts, Civil Society Organizations, Private Sector entities, women, youth and the media will be encouraged to take part in the event.

V. Modalities of the Africa Day

The Africa Day will be structured in two parts:

  • Expert Segment to provide an opportunity to experts to debate on the status of African NDCs and Africa’s readiness, including the opportunities and challenges regarding NDC implementation, based on a keynote presentation on ”Implementing the NDCs in Africa: Opportunities and Challenges”.
  • Ministerial Dialogue on Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) as a platform of African Ministers and global leaders to address the policy implications and future prospects of NDCs in Africa. The Ministerial dialogue will be preceded by key messages from heads of African Union Commission, the Economic Commission for Africa and the African Development Bank and AMCEN Chair. This will be followed by key contributions by selected African and global leaders. The ministerial dialogue is expected to shed light on why and how Africa should embark on the implementation of the INDCs, and what are the means of implementation, impacts and prospects on Africa.

VI. Guiding Questions

Pertinent questions that will guide the Africa Day discussions include, among others:

  • What are the status of readiness and key elements of the INDCs in Africa?
  • What are the anticipated challenges and opportunities for NDC implementation in Africa?
  • What are the means of implementation (finance, capacity building, and technology) available at the national and international levels to support NDC implementation in Africa?

What are the policy implications and future prospects of NDCs for s achieving a climate compatible development in Africa?

Africa Day Side event is jointly organized by AUC, NEPAD Agency, African Development Bank, UN Economic Commission for Africa; and by AMCEN, ECOWAS, COMESA, Nigeria, Ghana, Zimbabwe and the AGN.