29 July 2022, Maputo, Mozambique – The fourth edition of the intensive and engaging Africa Climate Talks (ACT!-4) closed yesterday in Maputo, Mozambique.
The three-day session was co-hosted by the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), African Union Commission (AUC), Africa Development Bank (AfDB), Eduardo Mondlane University (UEM), and the Pan African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA) with partnership support from the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA). It brought together leading climate academics, researchers, civil society actors and youth alongside officials from Eastern and Southern African governments, regional economic communities and international development agencies.
This was the first session of ACT!-4 organized as part of a regional Climate Talks series by the African Climate Policy Centre (ACPC) of the ECA to pursue the theme, “Ensuring a just and equitable transition and human security in Africa: Building resilience.”
This year’s theme builds up on the gains realized from last year, which run under the aegis, “Climate Change and Development in Africa: African perspectives on climate resilient recovery from COVID-19”.
Prof. Manuel Guilherme Júnior, Vice-Rector, University Eduardo Mondlane welcomed participants to Mozambique, and encouraged frank discussions that would generate robust solutions, not just for the region but also for Africa’s climate responses.
Speaking on behalf of Vera Songwe, the Executive Secretary of the ECA, Jean Paul-Adam, who heads the Technology, Climate Change and Natural Resource Management division at the ECA, noted that ACTs! serves as an all-inclusive climate change and development dialogue forum. “The fourth ACTs! is an opportunity to deliberate on viable solutions on Just Transition, Loss and Damage, innovative financing models including green and blue bonds as well as Climate-Debt-Swaps to boost resilience in Africa.”
Ms. Eunice Kamwendo, who is the director of ECA’s Sub-regional office for Southern Africa noted the significance of the Talks being held in Mozambique, which has been in the frontlines of building homegrown climate resilience and adaptation responses due to its interventions to the intense occurrences of cyclones and storm surges.
COP27 will be an implementation COP
The UN Resident Coordinator in Mozambique, Myrta Kaulard, extended a warm welcome to participants noting that this year’s deliberations of ACTs! were “paramount in discussing and contributing to just transition in Africa.” Ms. Kaulard thanked the Government of Sweden for it strong support to the United Nations, including support for the African Climate Policy Centre’s programme on delivering climate resilient development policies in Africa and noted that “COP27 will be an African COP and an implementation COP”
In her opening remarks, Anna Tjärvar of the Swedish Embassy in Ethiopia, acknowledged that Africa faces significant challenges in adaptation and remains a vulnerability hotspot for climate change. To this end, Ms. Tjärvar reiterated Sweden’s commitment to continue working with the African Climate Policy Centre and the African Union alongside member states including civil society to find appropriate adaptation and resilience solutions.
James Murombedzi who heads the African Climate Policy Centre (ACPC) set the scene by stating that the talks were a first step in democratizing the climate discourse in the continent by engaging grassroots voices who are mostly underserved in the global dialogue. According to Murombedzi, the forum serves as “a platform for continental stakeholders to engage in open discourses aimed at catalyzing emerging African perspectives on the most pressing concerns around climate change and socio-economic development.”
The Mozambican climate vulnerability due to increased and intensified cyclones served as a strong case study to discussants sharing experiences, solutions and best practices on mitigation, adaptation and climate action.
“The Mozambican experience has given the African Climate Talks ample framework to help shape the African narrative on how to better respond to climate change and build resilient economies” Murombedzi said.
The deliberations and resolutions from this all-engaging forum contribute to the regional realization of Africa’s Agenda 2063 aspirations and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through climate resilient development.
Dr. Harsen Nyambe who is the Director of the African Union Commission’s Directorate of Sustainable Environment and Blue Economy noted that increased public participation remains a critical pillar of successful climate action and welcomed the now established trend of the catalyzing effect of ACTs! in mobilizing action to counter vulnerabilities which affect wider continental aspirations and sustainable developmental goals. Dr Nyambe also thanked the ECA for its technical and academic input and contributing heavily towards the successful launch of the comprehensive African Union Climate Change and Resilient Development Strategy and Action Plan.
The Talks held on the backdrop of a region inundated by cyclones, storm surges, floods and drought affecting more than 20 million people was also addressed by Amos Makarau, the Regional Director of the World Meteorological Organization Regional Office for Africa (WMO-ROA). Makarau called for sustained and increased investment in climate information services to boost Africa’s early warning and early action systems, which are prerequisites for informed decision making by policy makers.
The African Development Bank lauded the Africa Climate Talks for creating a platform for the discussion of African perspectives on key issues in the linkages between climate change and Africa’s transformative development trajectories, bringing together all stakeholders.
ACTs! attracts youth
A large cohort of students signifying a growing interest in climate action attended this year’s ACTs! co-organized in partnership with the Eduardo Mondlane University and helped meet one of the core tenets of its objectives, which is building a critical mass of young people as future climate champions.
“African Climate Talks is taking a proactive African-centric approach to move beyond dependency on external support towards solutions from within the continent.” Adam said.
The second session of ACT!-4 is slated for Niamey in Niger to amalgamate the Western, Central and Northern Africa climate perspectives.
The 2022 edition of the ACTs! forum has broken new grounds and set the regional agenda for the tenth anniversary of the premier continental Climate Change and Development in Africa (CCDA-X) conference while at the same time outlining the first steps in collating Africa’s priorities at the COP27 in Egypt in November.
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