Urban sustainability takes centre stage: Key takeaways from Climate Chance Conference Africa 2023

Published: 10 Nov 2023
Urban sustainability takes centre stage: Key takeaways from Climate Chance Conference Africa 2023

The Climate Chance Conference Africa 2023 brought together over 800 actors from high-level climate experts, local governments, ministries, financiers, the private sector, and civil society.

In the first of its two engaging sessions, CoM SSA explored the topic of: "Sustainable Public Lighting: Insights from CoM SSA partners and strategies for scaling up". The session enjoyed enthusiastic participation as attendees were eager for additional insights and discussions. 
It was clear that, despite notable advancements by cities and municipalities, there is a need for improved public infrastructure such as street lighting. Cities are spearheading this process, developing plans to extend and renovate their streetlighting systems, with the ultimate goal of securing energy supply, reducing emissions, and paving the way for a sustainable future for the cities. However, to mobilise the required finance, local governments will need to coordinate with the concerned ministries at the national level in the early stages of their projects and an effort is needed to harmonise these frameworks for street lighting.

Despite challenges such as complex taxation systems, the private sector is undertaking great efforts to provide support for public lighting projects, through proactive and innovative approaches which positions them as invaluable allies for municipalities.

The essential insight from this session was the urgent need for all stakeholders to recognise the untapped potential of the private sector and explore forward-thinking solutions such as 'public lighting as a service'. This approach addresses current requirements and provides municipalities with added adaptability.
CoM SSA’s second session entitled “Rooftop PV and energy efficiency on Public Buildings: Cities in Cameroon and sub-Saharan engage in the energy sector”, focused on cities across Cameroon and sub-Saharan Africa, which are diving deep into the energy sector. 
This session highlighted the requirement by local authorities for affordable and reliable electricity to fuel economic growth and enhance public services. They are also driven by environmental concerns, aiming to transition to cleaner energy and reduce CO2 emissions created by generators.
A viable alternative for Cameroonian municipalities presented was rooftop solar panels for public infrastructure, when considering both the technical and economic position of the region. Once more, the potential of the private sector can meet these demands by offering comprehensive equipment supply, maintenance and services. However, the key to this process is securing finance, from both national and international institutions, which is available for well-structured project proposals. 
A financing model that showcases great potential is CoM SSA’s "Urban Smart Energy (USE)" product. This solution is aligned with the interests of all stakeholders involved. Within this framework, the private sector manages the upfront costs of energy projects, with local authorities benefiting by repaying through purchasing the energy service provided, which includes the electricity generated and maintenance services. This innovative approach has the potential to reform municipal energy supplies significantly. It stands as a clear demonstration of the proactive strategies stemming from CoM SSA's commitment to sustainable energy solutions.
Cameroon is one of the countries with the most CoM SSA signatories, with over 75 subnational governments committed to CoM SSA. On the sidelines of this influential event, the CoM SSA Secretariat took the opportunity to engage in bilateral discussions with numerous Cameroonian signatories. The aim was to gain deeper insights into their progress on their Sustainable Energy Access and Climate Action Plan (SEACAP) journey and to identify the specific areas where they might require additional support.
CoM SSA is also proud to support the Yaounde Roadmap
for Sustainable Habitats in Africa, which presents recommendations of actionable items to accelerate sustainable housing in African territories. The Roadmap builds upon key political messaging developed during climate change conferences such as Africa Climate Week, and makes reference to The African Leaders Nairobi Declaration On Climate Change And Call To Action as well as the CoM SSA Regional Mayors Forum (RMF) Africa Climate Week Declaration. This messaging will be carried forward at COP28 in Dubai later this year. 

The CoM SSA sessions at the Climate Chance Conference Africa 2023 were hosted by CoM SSA co-implementing partners, the Agence française de développement (AFD), and Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ). 
CoM SSA is co-funded by: European Commission, AECID-Agencia Españóla de Cooperación Internacional para el Desarrollo and Bundesministerium für wirtschaftliche Zusammenarbeit und Entwicklung (BMZ).
ICLEI Africa hosts the CoM SSA Secretariat.

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