Why cities need to share experience on local climate action and how CoM SSA provides the platform?

Posted on : 17 October 2019

One of the key successes of the Covenant of Mayors in Sub-Saharan Africa initiative is that it created a platform for cities from all over the continent to share their knowledge on local climate action planning and action in Africa.

Last month’s closing conference of the Covenant of Mayors in Sub-saharan Africa  confirmed the catalytic role of this initiative for providing this engaging space. In particular, the knowledge exchange session organised by technical partners of CoM SSA provided an opportunity for more than thirty CoM SSA signatory cities to exchange views on themes such as finance, adaptation, mitigation and energy access.

Ensuring a transfer of knowledge between the different pilot cities

Since 2015, the partners of the CoM SSA consortium have been working with 13 pilot cities , five of which are now in the process of finalising their Sustainable Energy Access and Climate Actions Plans (SEACAPs). Since the beginning of the year, new pilot cities from Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Kenya, Togo, Cameroun, Mozambique and Uganda came on board and have received technical support from AECID, GIZ and Expertise France. These “new cities” were given the opportunity to learn from their peers during a three-hour session which highlighted the challenges as well as technical processes and solutions implemented locally over the past three years.

Some recommendations from the pilot cities

Some recommendations which emerged from the discussions include:

  • the necessity to set up a qualified technical team to oversee the climate planning process, from the early stages of the project,
  • to partner with universities and civil society organisations, especially for the data collection component of the SEACAP,
  • to proactively ask for support to external partners and adapt the planning tools to the local context, and
  • to communicate widely on the activities and the successes of the African cities in the climate space

Taking the international discussions to the national level

CoM SSA provides a Pan-African platform for promoting and discussing local climate action, but some cities are now taking the lead to create similar platforms at the national level.

For example, in Bénin, the Groupement Intercommunal des Collines (GIC) along with the Communauté des communes de Zou now want to share their experience with other Beninese cities and national organisations.

Herman PADONOU, focal point of the CoM SSA initiative for the Communauté des Communes du Zou (CCZ) explained that the process of drafting their SEACAP was not easy, but definitely useful since it created the enabling environment to access partnerships and funding.

“ENGIE (the French multinational electric utility company) has now contacted us to pilot a small scale energy generation project  in CCZ based on the study we have conducted at the beginning of the project on energy access”.

More pilot cities, advanced in the process of developing their SEACAPs, are now expected to take the lead to encourage, train and provide technical support to the rest of the CoM SSA signatory cities in their home countries. Real change always comes from the inside and mostly happen through collaboration.