Future opportunities of Covenant of Mayors Sub-Saharan Africa initiative in the centre of discussions when Advisory Board convened in Addis Abeba
On 25 January 2018, a milestone was reached when Beninese Comè became the 100th signatory city of the Covenant of Mayors in Sub-Saharan Africa (CoM SSA), the EU funded initiative launched at COP21 to support cities in sub-Saharan Africa to address climate change and promote clean energy. It was in this context the CoM SSA Advisory Board met in Addis Abeba on 1 March 2018 to discuss The progress of the initiative, implementation challenges faced, future opportunities and political representation
The second meeting of the Advisory board of the Covenant of Mayors for Sub-Saharan Africa (CoM SSA) chaired by Mr. Felice Zaccheo, Head of Unit for Sustainable Energy and Climate Change, DG DEVCO, European Commission was held on 1st March 2018 in Addis Ababa and hosted by the African Union. The progress of the initiative, implementation challenges faced and future opportunities and political representation of CoMSSA initiative were discussed among the members.
Mr. Cheikh Bedda, Director of Infrastructure and Energy Department, African Union reiterated his commitment to help cities through CoM SSA initiative and highlighted the importance of advocacy activities. He has invited CoM SSA to the First Ordinary Session of the Sub Committee on Energy of the African Union Specialised Technical Committee on Transport, Transcontinental and Interregional Infrastructures, Energy and Tourism.
Followed by the Deputy Head of the EU Delegation to the African Union, Mrs. Anna Burylo, stated that CoM SSA is in line and contributes to Agenda 2063. She invited all members of the board to spread the voice and the experience from Europe. “We need to put all together efforts to build the initiative and give cities a stronger voice”, she highlighted.
The CoM SSA office reviewed the highlights of the past year in terms of activities, support to signatories cities and cooperation with other initiatives and actors. The meeting was the occasion for the CoM SSA office to receive feedback and recommendations from the members of the Board and exchange on the future of the initative. “It is a real example on how the bottom-up approach bears fruits, and the 100 signatories part of CoMSSA now are the consequence of continuos advocacy and communication with cities in Sub Saharan Africa” stated Mr. Zaccheo at the meeting.
Mr. Durmih Guri, Director of projects at CEMR, welcomed the commitemnt of the Advisory board members giving the strategic guidance to CoMSSA. Thanks to this contribution, 2017 was marked by a full agenda of activities in a challenging context providing local governments with the opportunity to assert their role as key actors in the implementation of policies and programs for sustainable development.
Mr. Vincent Ndoungtio Kitio, Chief Urban Energy Unit, UN-HABITAT, reminded that the region still faces challenges in terms of access to energy, adaptation and mitigation, which stresses the importance of the technical support provided by CoMSSA office and the CoM SSA initiative providing financial support to pilot cities with the aim to reinforce synergies between key actors in the region.
Mrs. Juliet Sale, Regional director of UCLG Africa (representing Emilia Saínz, Secretary General from UCLG as official member of the Advisory Board in CoM SSA) noted that it is for the African membership and in particular UCLGA to define the strategic lines for future climate action. In order to allow for informed strategies to emerge there needs to be a true dialogue among networks in the continent which would support the practice and views on the ground.
“CoM SSA is a very exciting initiative to which European Towns and Regions will gladly contribute by sharing their experiences with the colleagues from Africa. The advisory board meeting was a good opportunity to advance in identifying where the city-to-city exchanges can make a difference”, stated Mr. Wouter Boesman, PLATFORMA, Director of Policy.
Mr. Ian Peter Crosby, Head of Energy Productivity and Cooling, SE4ALL, resumed that transport and mobility sectors as key areas of focus for SEforALL going forward and interested in the work being done in this space by CoM SSA.
Encouraged by the achievements so far the AB members unanimously underlined the necessity to further strengthen the initiative and the technical support to the cities not only for the preparation of the SECAPS but for its implementation and the communication with the cities.
About Covenant of Mayors for Sub-Saharan Africa (CoM SSA)
The Covenant of Mayors in Sub-Saharan Africa is an EU-funded initiative to support cities in sub-Saharan Africa in their fight against climate change and in their efforts to ensure access to clean energy for their people. Inspired by the Covenant of Mayors of Europe (CoM Europe), the CoM SSA was launched in 2015 at CoP 21 and entered a new phase in 2016, joining forces with another initiative bringing cities together: the Compact of Mayors. By forming the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy, this global alliance has become the largest movement of local governments committed to fighting climate change. Coordinated by the Council of European Municipalities and Regions (CEMR), the Advisory Board of the CoM SSA is made up of 7 organizations: the European Commission chairing the Board, the African Union Commission (AUC), PLATFORMA, the United Nations for Human Settlements (UN-Habitat), Sustainable Energy for All (SE4ALL), United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG), and the Joint Research Center (JRC).
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