Third Conference on Climate Change and Development in Africa (CCDA-III)

21-23 Oct, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Economic Commission for Africa
Africa Union Commission
Africa Development Bank


1. Background

Africa’s economic progress since the start of the 21st century has been on a positive trajectory, underscoring the huge potential that the continent has to improve the welfare of its populations and lift millions out of poverty. At a macro level, many African countries have embarked on conscious economic and political transformation and are implementing strategies and programmes aimed at promoting economic growth, poverty reduction and general improvement of citizens’ welfare. However, sustaining the momentum would require African countries to studiously confront a number of challenges. Climate change represents a fundamental challenge to the sustainability of Africa’s growth momentum. It is imperative therefore that African countries invest in mechanisms that would mainstream climate change into their development strategies to stave off its possible negative impacts. Commensurate efforts must also be made to identify and exploit the opportunities that climate change presents. To achieve this, there must be a concerted effort by all key players. Climate and social scientists, development economists, policy makers and users of climate information must all work in tandem to design innovative strategies.
The 4th Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), for instance, showed a warming across the continent between 0.2° and 0.5°C per decade up to the year 2100. This change in the climate will also come with more frequent events such as storms, floods, sea level rise or droughts. The last Special Report on Extreme Events (SREX) of the IPCC stresses the importance of addressing the vulnerability in Africa of key sectors including agriculture, food security, water supply, energy, security, migration, health, and biodiversity. The low adaptive capacity of Africa contributes to its high vulnerability. The capacity of African countries to address these challenges is compromised by lack of adequate technology, weak social infrastructure, conflicts and poor institutional arrangements. 
The Third Climate Change and Development in Africa (CCDA-III) conference presents an opportunity for stakeholders to deliberate on Africa’s development in a context of climate change. It is an annual conference, organised under the auspices of Climate for Development in Africa (ClimDev-Africa), a joint programme of the African Union Commission (AUC), the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UN-ECA) and the African Development Bank (AfDB). The programme seeks to address the need for improved climate data and information for Africa as well as to strengthen the use of such information for decision-making by supporting analytical capacity, knowledge generation and sharing. 
The previous two conferences, CCDA-I and CCDA-II, both had the theme of advancing knowledge, policy and practice on climate change and development. They each created forums for dialogue that raised awareness on the importance of climate change, its impacts on development, and the nexus between science, policy and practice. CCDA-III will be held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, from October 21 to 23, 2013 at the United Nations Conference Centre. The theme for the conference is ‘Africa on the Rise: Can the Opportunities from Climate Change Spring the Continent to Transformative Development?’. This theme captures the urgency of the need to mainstream climate change in development policy planning, programming and implementation. The imperative is clear. Climate change is a threat and an opportunity. 
Africa is on a transformative development pathway. How can African countries build resilience to climate change and exploit the opportunities it presents to move away from the detrimental energy inefficient development pathways of the past? To this end, CCDA-III brings together participants from communities of research, policy and practice to share results of innovative and provocative research and policy analysis and to question and debate alternative pathways in the areas of economics, politics, and governance. 

2. Objectives

2.1 Overall objective

CCDA-III aims to provoke debate among experts and stakeholders in development policy and practice on how opportunities in climate change can enhance Africa’s transformative economic growth and development agenda. Stakeholders include researchers, scientists and practitioners, i.e., the consumers of scientific information and policies. CCDA-III seeks to explore various options for mainstreaming best policy practice, informed by empirical and scientific assessments, to build strategies to respond to the impact of climate change and to promote dialogue between the three main constituencies. 

2.2 Specific objectives

More specifically, CCDA-III will:
  1. Demonstrate empirical lessons from best practice in investments in climate science, data and analysis, as well as the multiplier benefits to African economies; 
  2. Deliberate on the effectiveness of policies on climate resilience in Africa and the role and relevance of international, regional and national frameworks and contexts;
  3. Debate Africa’s transition to a green economy, especially clean energy access, low carbon development options, and climate finance;
  4. Deliberate on the relevance of the global climate change framework for Africa, how Africa needs to assert its development interests and influence in the global agenda, and whether an alternative space exists for Africa to pursue its development goals.

3. Expected outcomes and outputs

3.1 Outcomes

The following results are expected at the end of CCDA-III:
  1. Increased understanding of the role of climate science data and analysis in Africa’s development;
  2. Improved understanding by participants of African risk factors and vulnerability and the role of policy in promoting innovative adaptation and mitigation measures;
  3. Better understanding of policy, strategy and practice towards creating green economy pathways and the role of, clean energy and low carbon development options;
  4. Strengthened professional networking to promote active debate on issues and to provide the foundation for more analytical work;
  5. Improved investment opportunities in climate data and information management, policy analysis and implementation. 
  6. Enhanced the capacity of member States to tap into climate financial opportunities.
  7. Improved understanding of the global climate change framework and the key positions that Africa needs to take to enhance its development agenda. 

3.2 Outputs

The following information and reports will be produced and widely disseminated:
  • A CCDA-III conference report;
  • Peer reviewed CCDA-III proceedings.

4. The CCDA-III sub-themes

The CCDA-III has five sub-themes under which the above objectives will be discussed. These are:
  • What is the value of climate services: science, data and information in Africa’s development?
  • How can climate policies build effective resilience to the impacts of climate change in Africa?
  • Climate finance: what are the unexplored options?
  • Green economy: which way for Africa?
  • Is the global climate change framework working for Africa? 

I. What is the value of climate services: science, data and information in Africa’s development?

Planning for climate resilience and low carbon development is fundamentally dependent on empirical climate science research and information analysis, which are both anchored on the availability of climate data. Science needs to inform policy, planning and practice to ensure that development is more resilient and less vulnerable to the negative impacts of climate change. Unfortunately, the paucity of climate observatory systems and data collection facilities is a common phenomenon in many African countries. In addition, many countries still have weak capacity for data collection, analysis and climate research. Yet good data networks, quality data and information management are essential in establishing a strong scientific foundation for climate services. Such services will help planners, decision makers, and other users to offer scientifically-informed and knowledge based decisions.
This sub-theme therefore provides a platform for stakeholders to share insights on the state of climate science research in Africa, climate data and information management and dissemination. The scientific community will share some of the most recent scientific research findings in climate science and how such findings could enhance planning and analysis for climate resilient development policies and strategies. CCDA-III takes place soon after the conference of African Climate Conference 2013 (ACC2013). It is  envisaged that some of the climate scientists attending the ACC 2013 event will make a strong showing in CCDA-III and contribute to the debate in this sub-theme, to narrow the gap between African decision-makers and climate researchers and scientists. The sub-theme will also discuss the extent to which global initiatives are enhancing or inhibiting Africa’s ability to expand its climate data and information services. 

II. How can climate policies build effective resilience to the impacts of climate change in Africa?

This sub-theme aims to elicit sharing of empirical evidence on sources of vulnerability in key developmental sectors and how climate resilience could assure inclusive and sustainable growth in these sectors. While key sectors such as agriculture and water are fundamentally important for Africa’s growth and development, as well as for food and nutritional security, they are also the most severely exposed to the impacts of climate change. What policy options are therefore available for African countries to enhance resilience to the impacts of climate change in these critical sectors?
The sub-theme will also provide opportunities for stakeholders to debate topical issues within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) that have direct policy consequences for African countries. At the Eighteenth Conference of Parties (COP 18) in Doha, the UNFCCC decided to establish institutional arrangements to address loss and damage at COP 19. While a universal operational definition of the concept of loss and damage is not yet well developed, it is generally understood to embrace losses and damages that arise as a result of climate change. It also refers to losses and damages that occur even after adaptation.
It may be worth noting that Africa has had a not so rosy experience with similar instruments, such as the clean development mechanism. How then can the institutional framework on loss and damage be made to work for Africa? This sub-theme will provide a platform for experts to deliberate on the concept, what it entails for Africa, what sectors are most vulnerable to loss and damage, sources of empiricism to demonstrate the vulnerabilities and what Africa’s expectations of the UNFCCC should be. If Africa is to realise its expectations, it must influence the debate. 

III. Climate finance: what are the unexplored options?

Africa is a green continent with CO2 emissions per capita of less than one ton per annum and accounts for just 2.4 percent of world emissions, as a consequence of poverty and low level of industrial development. Under business as usual scenario, Africa’s economic growth would result in increased intensity of GHG emissions and aggravate the impacts of climate change. Fortunately greener and efficient technologies are now available which could allow Africa to leapfrog development along low carbon development pathways. Various multilateral, bilateral, regional and global financial opportunities to support mitigation and adaptation activities in developing countries exist. In addition, industrialized nations have committed to mobilizing new funds of $100 billion annually by 2020 to meet these needs to mitigate climate change which is estimated to cost $300 billion annually by 2020, and growing to $500 billion annually by 2030. Regrettably the uptake of these financial opportunities in Africa has been extremely low. For example Africa’s share of the Clean Development Mechanism projects under the Kyoto Protocol, Africa share accounts for only 2% of all registered projects.
The conference will therefore seek to question why Africa has been unable to tap into these opportunities, deliberate on other unexplored options and come up with recommendations of appropriate options to spur the continent towards green economy. One such option is the ClimDev-Africa Special Fund (CDSF) a continental initiative which seeks to:
  1. Enhance scientific capacity to produce and make widely-available, reliable and high quality climate information; 
  2. Strengthen the capacity of policy makers and policy support institutions to integrate climate change into developmental processes;
  3. Implement pilot local-level adaptation projects that demonstrate the enhanced value of climate information in achieving sustainable development. This will enhance the overall expected outcome of the fund: development policies and practices in Africa to take full account of climate risks and opportunities at all levels. 
At country level, both public and private domestic capital can play an important role – and the conference will explore these options as well. Countries may fund climate change adaptation through the government budget, National Climate/Trust Funds, National Development Banks and Community Based Funds. 

IV. Green economy: which way for Africa?

Africa’s rapid economic growth since the dawn of the 21st century is largely attributable to the exploitation of its vast natural resources, exported as primary or semi-processed products to industrialised or rapidly industrialising countries. Can Africa afford to continue on a development pathway that degrades and diminishes the resource base, adds little or no value and provides limited or no opportunities for local communities to benefit from such resource endowments? To continue with this paradigm in the context of climate change would make the economic growth achievements of the past decade short lived, put future development at risk, increase unemployment and exacerbate poverty on the continent. 
This sub-theme will invite experts and stakeholders to deliberate on the key factor for Africa’s natural resource management and the key major input factors for Africa’s economic growth and development — energy and its forests. How can Africa’s forests,  with demonstrable global environmental benefits, be sustainably managed under national policy frameworks and REDD+?  Confronted with the challenge of maintaining a growth momentum to achieve development objectives and address climate change, Africa needs to pursue a new development paradigm divorced from business as usual. Resource intensive growth with high levels of GHG emissions must therefore give way to growth that is resource efficient with low emission levels in order to maximise benefits accruing from African natural resources.
Given that Africa is still at the early stages of industrialisation, it has the potential to sidestep the detrimental development pathways of the past, take opportunities offered by clean technologies and climate finance, and pursue sustainable industrial growth that limits the environmental and social costs of industrialisation, and is at the same time resource efficient, socially inclusive and characterised by low carbon footprint.
Two imperatives are fundamental in this pursuit - technology and finance. The sub-theme will seek to generate debate among experts and stakeholders on opportunities for Africa to march towards a green economy. It will explore how Africa can benefit from available financial opportunities, including REDD+ and technology transfer mechanisms, to fast-track the transformation process. The sub-theme will also address the challenges that may inhibit Africa’s transitioning to a green economy, and the options available to address them. 

V. Is the global climate change framework working for Africa?

Africa has engaged actively in the UN climate negotiations since the inception of the UNFCCC. Following the disappointing outcome of the 2009 Copenhagen Conference, the UNFCCC process regained some momentum at meetings held in Cancun (2010) and at the “African COP” in Durban (2011), which launched new negotiations under the Durban Platform towards a new climate agreement by 2015 (Work stream I), as well as a process to close the ambition gap (Work stream II). At the 2012 Doha Conference, parties agreed a set of decisions dubbed the “Doha Gateway”, agreed to launch a second period of commitments under the Kyoto Protocol and concluded negotiations under the Bali Action Plan. 
While the UN climate change negotiations have made some important progress, questions remain about the direction of that progress and whether that progress is significant enough to safeguard Africa’s development interests. This sub-theme will explore the question whether the global climate change framework is working for the African continent. It will attempt to draw conclusions as to whether Africa still needs to engage in the global frameworks and whether alternative spaces exist for Africa-specific policy dialogue. It is worthy of note that during 2013, atmospheric carbon dioxide emissions exceeded 400 parts per million, the highest level in millennia. Scientists reckon that with the current trajectory of GHG emissions, the world is on course to a 6 degrees centigrade warming.  With these projections, if no major global efforts to keep warming below 2 

5. Conference format

The first day of the CCDA-III conference proceedings will feature a high level plenary session where ministers and prominent climate change experts will set the conference tone on vexing climate change issues in Africa, followed by a plenary presentation by one main speaker for each of the conference sub-themes. Participants will have opportunity to engage the panelists and presenters in both of the foregoing two sessions.
To open up space for profound discourse on the specific climate change tracks indentified in the sub-themes, the second day will be dedicated to five parallel sessions. The content in each track will be delivered through PowerPoint presentations, moderated by a carefully selected authority in the sub-theme.

6. Other key events

Other activities have also been planned to explore emerging issues and build capacity of stakeholder in their role of responding to climate change effects. It will also help to showcase African adaptation and mitigation creativity and create opportunity for partnership formation. Specifically these include:


The planned pre-events include:
  • Pan-African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA), Mary Robinson Foundation, World Resources Institute (WRI) in collaboration with ClimDev-Africa will convene a pre-event entitled “Climate Justice Dialogue: shaping an equitable climate agreement responsive to Africa”.
  • Gender and climate change: Co-organized by ClimDev-Africa, South Africa Development Cooperation (SADC) and the ECA capacity development division to focus on equity, gender equality and women's empowerment in the context of climate change;
  • The role of civil society in climate change :  training on the role of civil society in promoting mainstreaming climate change in community development activities and planning; 
  • Media and climate change: Capacity building of journalists on reporting, advocacy and awareness raising  on climate change and development; 
  • USAID/ACPC local level adaptation strategies pre-event: to focus on building critical mass of climate change expert through supporting young fellowship program;
  • Pilot countries pre-event: to share experience, best practices in upgrading meteorological and hydrology observation network management and dissemination of climate information.
  • Farmers and cooperatives on climate change.

Side Events

  1. Synergies between the African Ministerial Conference on Meteorology (AMCOMET) and related Integrated African Strategy on Meteorology (Weather and Climate Services). This side event will hosted by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO).
  2. Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) of climate change and development programmes, hosted by the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) and ClimDev-Africa programme.
  3. Climate change, youth and development, facilitated by ACPC and its partners.


In addition, there will be exhibition space featuring local, national, sub-regional and continental initiatives, organizations and government offices to showcase climate change adaptation and mitigation efforts. It will also provide participants and exhibitors with an excellent opportunity to network and exchange ideas regarding strategy to cope with climate effects.  

Annex I

The theme of CCDA-III Conference is Africa on the Rise: Can the Opportunities from Climate Change Spring the Continent to Transformative Development?
This year, the structure of the CCDA is as follow:

Session I: Opening ceremony:

  • Welcoming Remarks
    • UNECA: Dr. Carlos Lopes, UN Under Secretary-General and UNECA Executive Secretary
    • AfDB: Dr Donald Kaberuka, President of AfDB
    • AUC: Dr Nkosazana Zuma, Chairperson of AUC
  • Opening  Speech:
    • H.E. Hailemariam Desalegn, Prime Minister, Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia

Session II:  High Level Dialogue on “Can the Opportunities from Climate Change Spring the Continent to Transformative Development?”

Potential Panellists (TBC):

  • Rwanda Minister of natural resources
  • Tanzania Minister of Environment
  • The Gambia Minister of Fisheries and Water resources
  • Seychelles Minister of Foreign Affairs or Natural Resources
  • Congo Minister of Economy, Forestry and the Environment
  • French Minister -Delegate to the Minister of Foreign Affairs
  • Mary Robinson 
  • Norway Minister (TBC)
  • European Union head of delegation in Ethiopia

Session III: Sub-themes 

Sub-theme 1:  What is the value of climate services: science, data and information in Africa’s development?
Topic 1.1: African Climate Science Research: Lessons learnt and new frontiers
Topic 1.2: ClimDev - Africa Pilot Climate Service Projects
Topic 1.3: Leveraging Global Initiatives to Enhance African Climate Services
Sub-theme 2: How can climate policies build effective resilience to the impacts of climate change in Africa?
Topic 2.1: Agricultural and Food Security Policies and Climate Resilience
Topic 2.2: Loss and Damage in Africa
Topic 2.3: Is Scientific Evidence Sufficient for Formulating Effective Climate Resilient Policies?
Sub-theme 3:  Climate finance: what are the unexplored options?
Topic 3.1: ClimDev-Africa Special Fund (CDSF)
Topic 3.2: Multilateral funding mechanisms
Topic 3.3: Domestic Sources of Climate Finance
Sub-theme 4:  Green economy: which way for Africa? 
Topic 4.1: Energy
Topic 4.2: Forestry and REDD+
Topic 4.3: Green economy opportunities for Africa
Sub-theme 5:  Is the global climate change framework working for Africa?
Topic 5.1: Why is Africa Still at the Negotiation Table?
Topic 5.2: Key Issues and Positions in COP 19
Topic 5.3: The Post-2020 Regime – Form, Content and Implications for Africa