Covenant of Mayors renews commitment to African cities

Posted on : 6 March 2019

Covenant of Mayors implementers have renewed commitment to support Sub-Saharan Africa cities and municipalities in their climate and energy efforts. During the third Implementation Committee meeting of the Covenant of Mayors in Sub-Saharan Africa (CoM SSA) initiative that ended in Kampala, Uganda, on 27 February, partners counted the project’s achievements in 2018 and agreed to build on the gains to get more impact in 2019.

“We have had deep discussions on the Covenant of Mayors in Sub-Saharan Africa initiative. It was a wonderful opportunity to discuss good practice in terms of working with African cities to build capacity and tackle climate change,” said Dr Meggan Spires, Senior Manager – Climate Change, Energy and Resilience at ICLEI Africa, adding, “We look forward to supporting signatories to the Covenant in achieving their climate change ambitions.”

CoM SSA Implementation Committee review progress and map way forward at Kampala meeting (Photo: Jude Fuhnwi/Kampala)

For three days, 17 representatives of the 10 partners reviewed progress of the project, assessed synergies with other projects and discussed the next phase of this agreement they reached over three years ago to support local climate and energy action in Sub-Saharan Africa.

“The Implementation Committee meeting was quite timely. It gave us the opportunity to look back on what we have done as a consortium, identify our challenges and map the way forward. As the next phase draws near, there is a need to strategize,” said Juliet Sale, Regional Director for West Africa at United Cities and Local Governments of Africa.

The CoM SSA initiative, which started in 2015, has attracted over 158 signatory cities and municipalities across Africa. Some 13 pilot cities received funding from the European Union to develop and implement Sustainable Energy Access and Climate Action Plans (SEACAPs). The implementation committee that met in the Ugandan capital from 25th to 27th February is a consortium of 10 organisations working together to implement this project by providing valuable support to signatory cities towards more sustainable, climate-resilient and vibrant cities in Sub-Saharan Africa.

“The meeting was important to look forward on how to better support all signatory cities in developing their SEACAPs. With the increasing number of signatories and limited finance, the need to review the technical assistance model is necessary to achieve global objectives of the initiative,” explained Joel Nana, Project Coordinator at Sustainable Energy Africa.

Partners at the meeting agreed to continue looking for synergies with relevant projects that demonstrate collective impact of activities to feed the next phase of the initiative. Attendees also identified the need to strengthen partnerships between signatory cities and other actors such as civil society organisations (CSOs), national associations, elected representatives and central governments among others as indispensable.

The committee worked in a relaxed atmosphere with icebreakers punctuating sessions (Photo: Jude Fuhnwi/Kampala)

“This perspective from the meeting is fundamental for ENDA Energie because the organisation is tasked with involving civil society organisations. Provide specific tools for technical support to cities, promote CSO participation in local action plans for cities to recognize their role in implementing Sustainable Development Goals and co-develop inclusive projects that strengthen cities’ ability to take action,” said  Mame Bousso Faye, Sustainable Development Project Officer at ENDA ENERGIE.

Some members of the implementation committee visited Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA), which is a pilot city, to get more insight about the progress, challenges and successes of the city’s SEACAP, developed with CoM SSA support.

This third meeting of the Implementation Committee ended on a satisfactory note and partners strengthened commitment to accomplish more impact in 2019.

“Congratulations to all of you for the work done in the past. We have done a lot and should build on this for more impact in the future,” concluded Durmish Guri, Projects Director at the Council of European Municipalities and Regions (CEMR) – the organisation that coordinates the CoM SSA Initiative.

Durmish Guri (R), facilitator of the meeting interacts with Getrude Gamwera (L), Secretary General of Uganda Local Governments Association, who paid the CoM SSA committee a courtesy visit (Photo: Jude Fuhnwi/Kampala)

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 and ensuring access to clean energy, through a voluntary commitment. It is a bottom-up initiative that allows cities to define and meet ambitious and realistic targets set by themselves in line with the covenant methodology. CoM SSA is open to any cities in Sub-Saharan Africa regardless of size.

The CoM SSA partners are the Council of European Municipalities and Regions (CEMR), Agence Français de Maitrise de l’Energie (ADEME), Agencia para a Energia (ADENE), United Cities and Local Governments Africa (UCLG Africa) Climate Alliance, ENDA Energie, Energy Cities, ICLEI Africa, ICLEI World Secretariat, Association Internationale des Maires Francophones (AIMF) and Sustainable Energy Africa (SEA)