Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

The Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) is developed to provide all information about Covenant of Mayors in Sub-Saharan Africa (CoM SSA) initiative to a large public and clarify the modalities under this initiative. It is based on the different relevant questions which are often asked by cities and other stakeholders who are interested to CoM SSA and will be improved as when as the CoM SSA Office (CoMO) will receive new relevant questions or a question which is asked at least two times.

 

1. The Covenant of Mayors in Sub-Saharan Africa (CoM SSA)

a. What is the initiative?

The Covenant of Mayors in Sub-Saharan Africa (CoM SSA) is an initiative founded by European Union (EU) to support Sub-Saharan Africa cities in their fight against climate change through a voluntary commitment. It is a bottom-up initiative and a voluntary that allows cities to define and meet ambitious and realistic targets set by themselves in line with the covenant methodology. CoM SSA is opened to any cities in Sub-Saharan Africa regardless of size.

b. Objectives of CoM SSA

The main objective of the Covenant of Mayors in Sub-Saharan Africa is to increase the capacities of cities to provide access to sufficient, sustainable and safe energy related services to urban and peri-urban populations (especially the poor), with special attention to energy efficiency and renewable energy as drivers for local low emission, climate resilient, sustainable development.

The specific objectives are to:

  • Strengthen the capacities of cities to develop and use planning and implementation tools and action plans in energy, mobility and urban planning;
  • Improve the legal and institutional framework of local authorities as well as their technical and resource mobilization capacities;
  • Promote political ownership and best practice dissemination.

c. Pillars of CoM SSA

CoM SSA initiative has three (3) pillars that are:

  • Access to energy: physical availability of sustainable, clean and reliable energy services to meet basic human needs at affordable costs;
  • Mitigation: actions undertaken to reduce the emission of the greenhouse gases and their concentrations in the atmosphere;
  • Adaptation: actions undertaken to anticipate the adverse effects of climate change, prevent or minimise the damage they can cause, or take advantage of opportunities that may arise.

d. Pilot projects of CoM SSA

The initiative is open to all Sub-Saharan African cities. However eleven pilot projects submitted by cities or group of cities were selected and funded through a call for proposal to carry out some activities in terms of capacity building and demonstrative actions in the framework of the three pillars of the initiative. These pilot projects are being implemented by: Communauté des Communes de Zou (Benin), Lubumbashi (DR Congo), Dakar (Senegal), Pikine (Senegal), Communauté Urbaine de Nouakchott (Mauritania), Tsévié (Togo), Bouaké (Cote d’Ivoire), Kampala (Uganda), Bangui (Central African Republic) Yaoundé 3 (Cameroon) and Yaoundé 4 (Cameroon).

e. The Covenant of Mayors Office (CoMO )

The Covenant of Mayors Office (CoMO) is a partnership of organizations working together to implement the Work Packages of CoM SSA.

The initiative has a Coordination Office in Europe (Brussels) run by the Council of European Municipalities and Regions (CEMR) with the contribution of the following Local Authorities organizations: Climate Alliance (CA), Energy Cities (ENC), United Cities and Local Governments of Africa (UCLG Africa), International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI Secretariat of Africa), International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI World Secretariat), Agence Française de l’Environnement et la Maîtrise de l’Energie (ADEME), Association Internationale des Maires Francophones (AIMF), Agência para a Energia (ADENE) and two Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO): Environnement et Développement du Tiers Monde (ENDA) and Sustainable Energy for Africa NGO (SEA).

Also, the coordination of the initiative is done in collaboration with the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre (JRC), which is responsible for developing the SEACAP’s guidebook and evaluating the action plans which will be submitted by signatories.

2. How can African cities benefit from this initiative?

The benefits for signatory cities are:

  • Access to best practices and to knowledge exchanges activities;
  • Access to general information and technical support throught the helpdesk office in Accra;
  • Networking and peer to peer exchanges in Sub-Saharan Africa
  • Develop decentralized, city to city cooperation mechanisms;
  • Increase the visibility of their local government’s climate and energy actions
  • Building a sustainable and resilient city contributing to SDGs, NDCs etc.

3. Adhesion process to the CoM SSA initiative

a. Who can join the initiative?

CoM SSA is opened to any Sub-Saharan Africa city regardless of size and the adhesion is free of charge.

b. How to join?

To join the initiative, local authorities should undertake the following process:

  • Present the CoMSSA initiative and its Political Commitment Document (PCD) to the municipal council (or its equivalent) to be discussed and adopt an official resolution to adhere to the initiative and mandate the Mayor or his/her representative to the PCD and to fill in the CoM SSA registration form;
  • Once an official Council decision has been made, it should be sent by post or by e‐mail to the CoM SSA Help Desk, together with a completed registration form
    • E-mail address: helpdesk@comssa.org
    • Post address: Covenant of Mayors in Sub-Saharan Africa Help Desk, 1st Floor NALAG HOUSE, Okponglo – South Legon, Behind Gulf House, P.M.B. CT 510 Cantonment, Accra – Ghana
  • Local authorities will receive an official confirmation of its adhesion regarding next steps and timing (SEACAP preparation, submission and monitoring process).

c. When to join?

The adhesion campaign was launched on September 12, 2017. There is no deadline and cities can join the CoM SSA initiative at any time. The date of the city council’s decision will be considered as the date on which the city formally joined the CoM SSA.

4. Support to CoM SSA signatories and other cities

The Covenant of Mayors Office in Sub-Saharan Africa (CoMO SSA) through its Central Help Desk based in Accra operates as the primary interface for all cities and other stakeholders in SSA. Indeed, the Help Desk supports all cities during their adhesion process by providing them general and practical information about the initiative, the adhesion steps as well as the requirements. The Help Desk remains at the disposal of the cities which for any question and clarification. They can contact the Help Desk by email helpdesk@comssa.org or by phone +233 540125686.

Once the registration is done, the signatories cities still supporting by the Help Desk and all the implementing partners of the Covenant of Mayors in Sub-Saharan Africa (CoM SSA). They support them through providing capacity building; practical guidance and knowledge; technical tools to develop the SEACAP and meet their commitment; opportunities for financing actions plans; opportunities for sharing knowledge; facilitating networking and other types of cooperation.

5. What commitments do signatories have to fulfill?

By joining the CoM SSA initiative, cities voluntarily commits to translate the political commitment into practical measures in their territory and agree on a long-term vision to provide access to sustainable and affordable energy, improve climate resilience and reduce the emission of Greenhouse Gas (GHG). It will be done through the development and implementation of a Sustainable Energy Access and Climate Action Plan (SEACAP).

6. Sustainable Energy Access and Climate Action Plan (SEACAP)

a. What is a SEACAP?

The Sustainable Energy Access and Climate Action Plan is the key document which shows how the CoM SSA signatory will reach its vision and target.

It is both a strategic and an operational document that shapes the way the signing City will act on the sustainable development of their territories and fight Climate Change.

The SEACAP includes an assessment of the current situation notably the state of Energy Access, the Baseline Emission Inventory (BEI) and the Risk and Vulnerability Assessment (RVA); clearly identified goals and targets; and the measures planned together with time frames, assigned responsibilities and estimated impacts.

b. State of Access to Energy

The state of Access to energy is a diagnostic which shows the current rate of energy access in the territory, the enlightened and non-enlightened areas, the types of energy sources and the use made of the energy. This access state will be used to plan actions in order to provide secure, sustainable and affordable energy to the citizens.

c. Baseline Emission Inventory (BEI)

The Baseline Emission Inventory (BEI) quantifies the amount of CO2 (or CO2 equivalent) emitted due to energy consumption in the territory of the CoM SSA signatory. It allows identifying the principal sources of CO2 emissions and the different possibilities to reducing them. The BEI will show where the local authority was at the beginning, and the successive monitoring emission inventories will show the progress towards the target defined.

The base year is the reference year against which the signatory target shall be compared. Every signatory is free to choose its base year but it is important to choose the year for which the most comprehensive and reliable data are available.

d. Risk and Vulnerability (RVA)

It is an analysis that determines the nature and extent of risk, by analyzing potential hazards and assessing vulnerability that could pose a potential threat or harm to people, property, livelihoods and the environment on which they depend. It allows the identification of areas of critical concern and therefore provides information for decision-making.

e. How to develop and submit a SEACAP

The development of SEACAP is done with help from the Guidebook  developed by JRC. This Guidebook describes the methodology to be followed, the sectors to be covered and the timeframe to prepare and submit the SEACAP. The Guidebook was developed through a “bottom-up” approach that involved consultation of our signatory cities and feedback from our inception visits to CoM SSA pilot cities.

The SEACAP submitted will be analysed by the JRC through eligibility check and data verification. JRC will give feedback report to the city and if everything is right the SEACAP will be published on the CoM SSA website.

Click below to download the CoM SSA SEACAP guidebook:

Guidebook Extended Version 

Guidebook Short Starting Guide

Guidebook Summary

f. SEACAP Monitoring report

It is very important for cities to monitor the implementation of the planned actions, to show the main achievements and improve their action plan (in case corrective measures are needed). By a period which will be defined in the Guidebook, CoM SSA signatories should submit their implementing report.

g. SEACAP financing

The CoMO SSA will be investigating to find the opportunities regarding potential donors (privates, regional organizations and international funding agencies) or call for proposal in the fields of energy and climate change and will communicate these information to all the signatories.