Newly released CoM SSA reports provide context-specific insights to climate challenges facing African governments

Published: 9 Sep 2022
Adaptation Mitigation
Newly released CoM SSA reports provide context-specific insights to climate challenges facing African governments

This series of evidence-based reports, developed by the Covenant of Mayors in Sub-Saharan Africa Technical Helpdesk and Secretariat, is intended to synthesise the best available evidence regarding common challenges faced by African local governments when planning for climate change and showcases potential solutions for addressing these challenges. The reports can be used by local governments and associated partners to innovate around climate action planning and implementation.

One of the key challenges explored is data scarcity in Africa. Local governments need reliable and robust climate data in order to plan climate plans effectively. Evidence based reports 1 looks at examples of how to find missing data through innovative ways and varied sources. Moving from planning to implementation is the focus of Evidence-based report 2, drawing on several examples form African municipalities, it looks at some enabling factors that facilitate accelerated action planning by local governments that leads to increased smart implementation. Climate impacts are observed to fall disproportionately on the urban poor, who have fewer coping mechanisms and are less able to manage risk. In Africa, adaptation measures that safeguard urban infrastructure and target the most vulnerable groups, such as the urban poor, are therefore urgently needed. Evidence-based report 3 showcases examples from municipalities and countries in sub-Saharan Africa where transformative climate action, specifically adaptation, has resulted in lasting and impactful change.
Although, there are numerous reports about climate action and climate planning very few focus on Africa and this series of reports is designed to be a tool to inform African cities on climate action planning, implementation and research.

Key messages from each Evidence-based report in the series:

1: Data Talks | What data do local governments really need to plan effectively for climate change?
  • Robust local-level data – including current and future projected climate change, accurate demographic and socioeconomic data, baseline emissions, risk and vulnerability for the municipality, and access-to-energy data – are needed by local governments trying to plan effectively for climate change.
  • These data can be gathered through primary data collection, downscaling national or regional data to the local level, or using proxy data.
  • As many regions in Africa are data-scarce, innovative tools and solutions can be used to gather the data needed for effective climate change
2: Accelerating climate change action planning for smart implementation | Examples from African municipalities
  • There is an urgent need for local governments across Africa to develop climate action plans and associated implementation plans to strengthen the resilience and sustainability of rapidly growing urban populations.
  • Local governments do still face numerous barriers and challenges to accelerating climate change action planning that results in impactful implementation, including: invisible benefits of climate action, limited financial and technical capacity, institutional silos and insufficient political will and mandates.
  • There are various drivers of climate action, as well as enabling factors that facilitate accelerated action planning by local governments, that lead to increased smart implementation, including: strong leadership and climate champions, mainstreaming of climate change into development planning, collaboration and resource-sharing, promotion of the co-benefits of climate action, and good multilevel governance.
3: The need for and potential benefits of transformative adaptation in African municipalities
  • Municipalities in Africa are experiencing increasingly extreme climate impacts, while simultaneously facing high rates of poverty and inequality, exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • To date, most adaptation interventions have been incremental in nature, meaning they aim to reduce climate risks and impacts, while maintaining the status quo of the system in question.
  • Transformative adaptation is increasingly being recognised as a necessary alternative, where responses to climate change must catalyse change at a deeper level, incorporating additional considerations such as poverty, inequality, healthcare, excessive consumption, and ecosystem loss.

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