States strengthen the involvement of local governments and municipalities in their climate action
Published: 30 Jun 2021
Facing the current climate issues and the health crisis, local governments become the first partners of the State in the implementation of their sustainable development policy and their transition to low-carbon economies. West African local governments met from 9 to 11 June 2021 at the Lomé Regional Forum on Resilience and Climate Ambition to examine the conditions of access to climate finance.
"Our local authorities must become leading actors in the fight against climate change and the acceleration of the continent's climate ambition" - Payadowa BOUKPESSI, Minister of Territorial Administration and Local Governments of Togolese Republic
The Lomé Forum on the Resilience and Cimate Ambition of local authorities in Africa : an area of expression for African cities
The Lomé Forum , organised by Covenant of Mayor in Sub-Saharan Africa (CoM SSA) and its implementing partners United Cities and Local Governments of Africa (UCLG-A) and Expertise France, aimed to explore the role of African local governments in climate action on the continent. Through the Forum, CoM SSA created a framework for dialogue and experience sharing between West African local governments. The Forum allowed cities to talk about the climate challenges their territories are facing. The elected representatives were able to share their difficulties and planning efforts with their technical and financial partners . The obstacles faced include difficulty in mobilising resources for their territories and accessing climate finance. The elected officials also noted a need for capacity building for their teams, and a need to strengthen awareness-raising actions for their municipal councilors and the population. Beyond these obstacles, the cities are trying to develop solutions to face the climate challenges and took advantage of this event to share with their peers, the solutions they are implementing in their territory. These solutions include the development of decentralised cooperation actions and partnerships with Civil Society Organisations, as well as the mobilisation of international partners.
Territorialisation of climate-energy issues: a key factor for increasing climate action
The impacts of climate change are a tangible reality for local authorities. As such, the involvement of local and regional authorities in the implementation of the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) is necessary to address the consequences of climate change. Dialogue with the state is essential to improve the territorialisation of NDCs. "It is necessary to work with local communities in order to have climate ambitions at the national level that reflect local ambitions," said Laure Kuhn Bruma, coordinator of the GCCA+ West Africa project, during the forum.
In Togo, CoM SSA partner Expertise France has decided to support the 30 Togolese signatory local governments in integrating climate-energy issues in their Municipal Development Plans (PDC), in synergy with the GCCA+ project. This national support was launched on the sidelines of the Lomé Forum on 9 June, when the first collective awareness-raising session was held. This session provided information on climate issues, the methodology and tools of the CoM SSA, and the organisation of practical workshops for the mayors and focal points of the signatory municipalities.
Amplify capacity building and climate investment in local governments
Cities and local governments must take ownership of climate issues and design development plans that integrate climate action. The current NDC review process represents an opportunity to review the positioning of local governments in Africa in the implementation of the Paris Agreement and the 2030 Agenda.
"Cities and local governments are the direct link in the climate action linked to the needs of the populations. The territories have all the legitimacy to address the issues of climate and access to energy. This must be reflected in local plans," explains François Albert Amichia, President of the West African Economic and Monetary Union Council of Local Authorities (WAEMU).
However, local governments are underfunded and mobilise very little of the investment needed to take action against climate change. In this context, capacity building and financing of local economies are major componenets to providing an appropriate response for the implementation of countries' commitments in the fight against climate change. To this end, local and regional governments need to be more involved in the planning process and in the preparation and budgeting of investment plans. By supporting the development of Sustainable Energy Access and Climate Action Plans (SEACAP), building the capacity of local governments, supporting the identification of bankable climate and energy projects, and creating synergies between local governments worldwide, CoM SSA is helping to make climate finance more accessible.