After a year of working with 73 signatory Togolese municipalities, the Covenant of Mayors in Sub-Saharan Africa (CoM SSA) closed off a support phase with a meeting where the municipalities highlighted their energy and climate projects. Owing to their proximity to the population and their knowledge of the territory, Togolese municipalities are key players in the fight against climate change and access to sustainable energy. Their efforts are translated into concrete actions in the localities and they thus participate in achieving climate and energy objectives of Togo.
In Togo, despite the fact that the decentralisation process is still in its early stages, the communes have decided to tackle the climate and energy challenges in their territory to achieve sustainable urban development. A sincere enthusiasm has pushed more than half of the Togolese communes, also called municipalities, to join the CoM SSA, making Togo the African country with the largest number of signatory cities.
"We must take the climate issue head on in order to be informed, enlightened and efficient stakeholders in climate action, which is one of the most urgent issues of the day," said Yawa KOUIGAN, Mayor of Ogou 1, President of Togolese Municipalities Association.
To support this dynamic, the European Union and its implementing partner Expertise France organised a series of workshops with the Togolese signatory municipalities, with the support of the Togolese Municipalities Association and the Ministry of Territorial Development. This support resulted in the creation of a network of Togolese cities committed to climate action and sustainable energy, enabling them to share their experiences, knowledge and good practices, to develop common projects grouped together by theme or geography. The objective of the workshops was to also strengthen the dialogue between the Togolese municipalities and their national and international partners, and to highlight the participation of the municipalities in the efforts to achieve the government's objectives defined by the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs).
A series of training sessions were successfully held between June 2021 and September 2022, to train local authority managers in drawing up Sustainable Energy Access and Climate Action Plans (SEACAPs) and the CoM SSA tools available to signatories in integrating climate-energy issues into their local planning documents and in structuring projects. This enabled the cities to produce more than 50 project sheets on mitigation, adaptation and energy access at the end of the training sessions.
"The SEACAP gives us the keys to plan our climate actions. This planning is essential but not sufficient. We call on the national and international authorities to trust the local governments by accompanying them in the implementation of ambitious projects," said Yawo Winny Dogbatse, Mayor of Kloto 1 and President of the CoM SSA Regional Mayors Forum
Local governments are an important lever of action in the fight against climate change. It is estimated that about 50-70% of climate actions can be carried out at the local level, and Togolese communities have competences to act on key sectors for mitigation and adaptation, such as territorial planning, transport, waste and sanitation, or cooking energy.
Nevertheless, like many other African cities, which only receive 4% of existing climate finance worldwide, Togolese municipalities face the important challenge of mobilising funds to implement concrete actions. To support them, the last step of the national approach, which took place in Lomé in September, was specifically focused on meeting this challenge. The municipalities benefited from a presentation of the funding opportunities available to them and support to give them the fundamentals to structure and present their projects to their national partners and financiers. Grouped by region, the cities were then given the opportunity to pitch certain projects to an audience of national and international partners and thus initiate a dialogue with the aim of seeing the projects of the local authorities become a reality quickly.
CoM SSA works in partnership with financiers, DFIs and funders to communicate the challenges on the ground and chart a course to more innovative and relevant solutions for implementation in African local governments.
At each stage, the signatory cities expressed their enthusiasm and the benefits of this approach, as did Tim Koffi KOVE, CoM SSA focal point for the commune of Zio 4, who maitained from all these sessions "the diversified and topical themes that respond to the needs of the communes, the acquisition of knowledge in the area of climate, the creation of a framework for consultation and synergy between the various mayors, and awareness of the responsibility of the communes in favour of the climate". He also hopes that these sessions will "lead to real financing of climate-energy projects, beyond the support provided by CoM SSA, the European Union, Expertise France, and their partners".