A year in review: CoM SSA innovations and collaborations propelled local climate action to new heights in 2023

Published: 5 Mar 2024
Access to Energy Adaptation Climate Finance General Mitigation Success Stories
A year in review: CoM SSA innovations and collaborations propelled local climate action to new heights in 2023
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The Covenant of Mayors in Sub-Saharan Africa initiative (CoM SSA), a European Union action, reached new heights in 2023. Seven Sustainable Energy Access and Climate Action Plans (SEACAPs) were launched, over 50 climate and energy badges were awarded, CoM SSA Mayors led the sub-Saharan Africa climate action agenda at regional and global forums, and CoM SSA grew to over 360 signatories. See the full CoM SSA 2023 overview document here

Innovative, context-specific approaches to respond to cross-cutting climate challenges

Communities across the region are already experiencing the impacts of climate change, necessitating context-specific, innovative responses. Drawing on experience from nearly a decade of collaborating with local governments to develop robust climate plans towards implementation, CoM SSA employed several forward-thinking approaches in 2023.
Launch of the Abuja Urban Lab at Nile University. December, 2023.
In Mombasa (Kenya), the City Local Adaptation Booster (LAB)  facilitates collaboration between local and international experts to co-create sustainable, customised solutions to address urban flooding.  LAB, a partnership between the County Government of Mombasa and CoM SSA, aims to enhance adaptation to climate change.
Similarly, in Abuja Municipal Area Council (Nigeria), the Nile University, in collaboration with CoM SSA, launched the Abuja Urban Lab to establish an efficient waste management system that involves the public sector, informal and formal private sectors, academia, and NGOs.
In Namibia, CoM SSA hosted a climate finance learning lab, aimed at bridging the gap between local governments and key role stakeholders necessary to unlock climate finance. This platform facilitated the identification of climate finance solutions for Namibian projects.
Another innovative approach employed by CoM SSA is the Urban Smart Energy (USE) product, designed to assist local governments in implementing decentralised energy systems and energy efficiency measures in city-owned facilities, such as city halls, markets, schools and healthcare centres. This approach improves access to clean and resilient energy, reduces energy costs, and stimulates local employment and income.
Recognising the central importance of gender equality in effective climate action, CoM SSA hosted a webinar where signatories and experts shared insights and experiences on mainstreaming gender into renewable energy action planning.

Regional collaboration as a cornerstone for effective climate action

The Maputo Metropolitan Area launches a joint Sustainable Energy Access and Climate Action Plan
CoM SSA is fostering collaboration among climate action leaders to address shared challenges in a cooperative manner. In Mozambique, the launch of the Maputo Metropolitan Area’s joint Sustainable Energy Access and Climate Action Plan (SEACAP) bought together the municipalities of Maputo, Matola, and Boane for a comprehensive regional approach to climate change challenges.
Similarly, in  Togo, the mayors of the Kloto municipalities launched a joint SEACAP to tackle interconnected challenges such as the climate emergency, energy access and economic development. This collaborative and bold effort has not only bolstered their ties with technical and financial partners, but has also enlisted their crucial support for the implementation phase of their SEACAP.
Throughout the climate planning process, CoM SSA is creating synergies between local governments and experts. In Southern Mozambique, nine municipalities participated in a Risk and Vulnerability Assessment workshop organised by CoM SSA. City-to-city exchanges are also integral to regional collaboration, exemplified by the knowledge-sharing between Mombasa and Nakuru on Urban Smart Energy (USE), renewable energy, climate change and energy efficiency projects.

Bridging gaps to turn plans into action

CoM SSA partners participated in the Cities and Climate Change Technical Workshop in Mombasa, Kenya, under the theme, Moving from Plans to Implementation. Kisumu County’s waste to biogas project  was rated the ‘best overall’ in Africa during the pitch contest and secured funding from the European Investment Bank’s Gap Fund, highlighting the effectiveness of such workshops in securing support for innovative projects. 
In Mauritania, an urban vegetable garden project, included in Nouakchott’s SEACAP, came to fruition with CoM SSA’s support, and is already transforming livelihoods in the community.
Water tank and solar panels for pumping irrigation water at the urban vegetable
garden in Nouakchott ©AECID
With a refined focus on unlocking climate finance, CoM SSA has supported 65 city-level projects, including 30 pilot projects, with a total potential investment volume exceeding EUR 588 million. The implementation of these projects is projected to reduce carbon emissions by approximately 18 million tonnes.

CoM SSA Mayors driving sub-Saharan Africa's local climate action agenda

Ahead of Africa Climate Week CoM SSA campaigned for heightened attention to five areas for urgent action. These included:
1. Increasing climate finance directly to the local level.
2. Supporting local efforts to transition to sustainable energy (through resources, capacity development and knowledge sharing).
3. Leaving no one behind by including the voices of women, indigenous people and youth in decision-making.
4. Increasing investment in nature-based solutions at city scale.
5. Prioritising water in all development efforts on the continent.
Giorgia Favero, Policy officer at European Commission’s
Directorate-Generalfor International Partnerships speaking
at a CoM SSA session at Climate Chance Conference Africa
At Africa Climate Week, held in September 2023 in Nairobi (Kenya), the CoM SSA Regional Mayors Forum (RMF) refined this advocacy, culminating in the CoM SSA RMF Africa Climate Week Declaration, which was delivered at the Africa Climate Week Track 2 high-level opening. Read the full Declaration here. Interventions at Africa Climate Week underscored the importance of multilevel governance in advancing climate ambition and action.
This Declaration was referenced in the Climate Chance Conference Africa’s Yaoundé Roadmap for Sustainable Habitats in Africa, where CoM SSA hosted sessions focusing on scaling up public lighting projects, leveraging rooftop solar panels for public infrastructure, and exploring financing models. Find out more here.
In Ghana, CoM SSA Mayors participated in the European Union (EU) Climate Diplomacy Week, reaffirming their commitment to comprehensive, local climate action strategies.
Building on these engagements, at COP28, CoM SSA signatories advocated for increased financing and the inclusion of subnational governments in the revision of Nationally Determined Contributions, positioning themselves as pivotal actors in local climate action. The launch of the Coalition for High Ambition Multilevel Partnerships (CHAMP) at the inaugural Local Climate Action Summit underscored the crucial role of local governments in global climate efforts.
RMF Vice-Chairperson, Mayor of Lusaka (Zambia) speaking at 
second Ministerial Meeting on Urbanisation and Climate
Change Outcomes Press Conference
Throughout various speaking engagements, CoM SSA Mayors showcased leadership in advocating for increased resources, for scaled climate action, and collaboration with national governments to climate responses.
CoM SSA signatories and partners are committed to developing evidence-based climate plans and unlocking finance for transformative projects at scale radical collaboration driving substantive change towards an equitable, inclusive, and resilient future for Africa.
See the full CoM SSA 2023 overview document here

The CoM SSA programme is co-funded by the European Union (EU), the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID). CoM SSA is implemented by the Agencia Española de Cooperación Internacional para el Desarrollo (AECID), the Agence Française de Développement (AFD), the Agence Française d’Expertise Technique Internationale (Expertise France) and the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ). The CoM SSA Secretariat is hosted by ICLEI Africa.
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