Experts develop climate solutions for African cities
The extreme changes in weather conditions are worsening the occurrence and impact of natural disasters in Africa. Climate change is slowing down Africa’s efforts to meet the sustainable development goals required to address global challenges such as poverty, inequality and environmental degradation among others.
In the wake of the devastating Tropical Cyclone Idai that caused severe human and economic losses in Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe, the Covenant of Mayors in Sub-Saharan Africa (CoM SSA) brought together 18 experts to share their expertise on local climate solutions in Sub-Saharan Africa. The meeting also facilitated a common understanding of the CoM SSA guidebook, developed by the European Union’s Joint Research Centre (JRC) to support cities and local governments in their climate and energy efforts.
CoM SSA provides support for municipalities to assess their city’s climate change needs. This means that they get technical assistance to develop a sustainable action plan to prevent and adapt to climate change, as well as gain access to renewable energy.
Therefore, for initiatives such as CoM SSA to accelerate local climate action, it was important for stakeholders to share a common approach to capacity building and technical assistance to cities and municipalities across Sub-Saharan Africa. That was the purpose of bringing together the 18 specialists from technical partners of CoM SSA at the helpdesk office in Accra, Ghana on 10 April 2019.
“It was an important meeting because it demonstrated the commitment of the Covenant of Mayors in Sub-Saharan Africa to urban sustainability. Now, we are more prepared in terms of methodologies and tools for climate and energy action planning at local level, in coherence with national targets and objectives,” said Jean François Dallemand, of the Joint Research Centre who facilitated the meeting.
He added, “We expect institutions that have participated to continue interacting with CoM SSA signatories, organise training activities and provide technical support for cities and municipalities to implement concrete measures in relation to irrigation, building, transport, energy efficiency, renewable energy and adaptation to climate change. It also involves access to energy such as the access to electricity and in some cases, to green cooking methods.”
Through this common approach, CoM SSA partners will provide technical support to local governments to integrate climate change adaptation and access to energy strategies in their local development plans.
“This is a dream come true. I see stakeholders from the previous and current phases of CoM SSA working together to have a smooth transition into the next phase. Having over 160 cities that have signed the Covenant is a big achievement,” said Felice Zaccheo, head of unit for Sustainable Energy and Climate Change at the Directorate General for International Cooperation and Development at the European Commission, in his closing remarks.
The European Commission’s Joint Research Centre (JRC) released a guidebook entitled “How to develop a Sustainable Energy Access and Climate Action Plan (SEACAP) in Sub-Saharan Africa” as a tool for CoM SSA signatories. The guidebook provides directions and guidance to local governments on the steps to follow when developing their climate and energy action plan.
Click below to download the CoM SSA guidebook: