CoM SSA Regional Mayors Forum (RMF) Africa Climate Week Declaration

Published: 19 Sep 2023
CoM SSA Regional Mayors Forum (RMF) Africa Climate Week Declaration

CoM SSA Regional Mayors Forum (RMF) Africa Climate Week Declaration[1]

5 September 2023


We, the Covenant of Mayors in Sub-Saharan Africa (CoM SSA) Regional Mayors Forum (RMF) - Governors and Mayors representing the voices of over 350 cities in sub-Saharan Africa, with a total population exceeding 150 million people - make the following Declaration at the Africa Climate Summit and the Africa Climate Week 2023 in Nairobi, Kenya. 
  • By the year 2050, almost 2 billion people will live in African cities. One-quarter of global citizens are expected to be African by 2050.
  • As Governors and Mayors serving Africa’s people, our focus is on urgently accelerating and unlocking urban climate action on the continent.
  • We recognise that the future of our African continent depends on our collective climate action and radical collaboration, especially between the Global South and Global North.
  • We affirm the leadership role being played by African subnational governments, with their national government counterparts, in driving frontline action to combat climate change.
  • We honour our role as local leaders to pioneer local solutions that reflect our unique African contexts.
  • We stand committed to ensuring a unified African voice that fights for the realisation of a sustainable, resilient, and inclusive future for our continent.


To tackle climate change where impacts are experienced, finance needs to flow to where it is needed most – at the local level. Subnational governments are heeding the call to adapt to climate change, and build thriving sustainable communities, by developing climate smart plans and identifying innovative solutions for the unique African context. To date, 107 and 86 CoM SSA signatories have developed comprehensive adaptation and mitigation plans respectively. The CoM SSA pipeline of 310 projects, drawn from detailed climate plans, is worth an estimated EUR3 billion and needs further development support. CoM SSA is walking the talk, with 56 city-scale projects currently being supported, and EUR280 million committed to date for direct finance. But more needs to be done; current project preparation facilities are not leading to the scaled local-level finance needed to meet current needs and demands.
  • We call for increased funding to be made available to prepare local projects that have already been developed and endorsed by African cities, regions and towns. This funding should be dispersed on the basis of evidence-based and transparent criteria.


African subnational governments play a pivotal role in translating national climate change targets into effective local policies and action on the ground. Climate change action must be tailored to the needs of local communities to avoid maladaptation and stranded assets. Subnational governments should play a central role in the revision of Nationally Determined Contributions in 2024, in helping to raise their ambition and ensure that we do not pass 2°C global temperature rise; passing this threshold spells devastation for our continent. Improved multilevel governance is vital in ensuring that all tiers of government, as applicable within their own country contexts, have the appropriate share of roles, responsibilities, mandates, capacity and resources, to drive scaled action via updated NDCs, and in alignment with the African Union’s Climate Change and Resilient Development Strategy and Action Plan.
  • We call for a COP28 decision that mandates the inclusion of subnational governments in the revision of NDCs in 2024. We call for transparent and inclusive methodologies and processes to ensure that this participation is representative, fair and meaningful and that it is mandatory to report on such participation as part of UNFCCC reporting


Africa has immense renewable energy resource potential, with 60% of the solar resources globally, and wind and hydro energy following closely behind. Africa can lead the world in scaling-up and generating renewable energy, and must do so in a way that reduces inequity and injustice. No one should be made worse off because of the move to a cleaner and greener economy and Africans should chart their own course for the sustainable world we want and deserve.
  • We call for the honouring of national and international commitments to the just energy transition in Africa and for the transfer of the technology, knowledge and financial resources necessary for Africa to harness its renewable energy potential at scale, simultaneously tackling developmental backlogs and clean cooking and energy access shortfalls.[1]
The climate and energy transition must leave no-one behind. We recognise the scale of the impacts of climate change on the most marginalised and vulnerable groups. Through CoM SSA, we will continue to have climate and energy conversations that are inclusive and representative of those most affected, and most knowledgeable about their local contexts. We will use climate change and sustainable energy initiatives as a means to tackle root causes of inequalities and co-create jobs and opportunities with these agents of change.
There is an intrinsic link between climate change and nature. Almost a quarter of Africa’s GDP is dependent on nature. The alarming loss in Africa’s natural capital stocks - 65% between 1970 and 2016 - means there is an urgent need to invest in nature, without which no climate resilience exists.
The water sector is central to climate change, and central to Africa’s development.[2] Climate change manifests in droughts, floods, and water-borne diseases that undermine sustainable development.
African cities and towns are already experiencing significant climate change induced losses and damages, while having contributed minimally to causing climate change. We welcome the decision to create a Loss and Damage Fund, note the proposal of a carbon tax by Kenyan President William Ruto as a noteworthy development and look forward to understanding the details of how these funds will protect African cities, towns and regions from current and future climate change.

This message was jointly developed by the CoM SSA Regional Mayors Forum (RMF) during Africa Climate Week 2023:[3]
The Chairperson of the RMF and Board Member of the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy, Mayor of Kloto I (Togo): Mr Yawo Winny Dogbatse;
The Vice Chairperson of the RMF and Mayor of Lusaka (Zambia): Ms Chilando Chitangala;
The Deputy Governor of Nakuru (Kenya): Mr David Kones, representing the Governor, Ms Susan Kihika;
The Lord Mayor of Kampala (Uganda): Mr Erias Lukwago;
The Mayor of Garoua III (Cameroon): Dr Abdourrahmane Maïkanti;
The Mayor of Walvis Bay (Namibia): Mr Trevino Forbes;
The Mayor of Quelimane (Mozambique): Dr Manuel de Araújo;
The Mayor of Bangui (Central African Republic): Mr Emile-Gros-Raymond Nakombo;
The Special Advisor to the Mayor of Dire Dawa (Ethiopia): Mr Yusuf Tajudin Abdulahi, representing Mayor Mr Kedir Juhar;
The President of the Environmental Commission of Nouakchott (Mauritania): Mr Abderrahmane Ehdaye, representing the President of the Nouakchott Region, Ms Fatimetou Abdel Malick.
Members of the CoM SSA RMF not present at Africa Climate Week:
The Mayor of Accra (Ghana): Ms Elizabeth Sackey;
The Mayor of Libreville (Gabon): Ms Christine Mba Ndutume.

[1] 540 million people lack access to electricity and 940 million people lack access to clean cooking.

[2] About 400 million Africans do not have access to clean drinking water and by 2050, up to 921 million additional people in sub-Saharan Africa could be exposed to climate change-related water stresses.

[3] The CoM SSA Secretariat is hosted by ICLEI Africa.

[1] The draft declaration was developed building off CoM SSA political messaging for 2023, the LGMA position towards COP28, the AU Climate Strategy, as well as overlays from the issues at hand in the African context. The draft document was then worked through, line by line, with CoM SSA’s Regional Mayors Forum members at an in-person meeting along-side the Africa Climate Summit, on 5 September 2023.


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