ECREEE Participates in the AFRICA Carbon forum

From the 28th to 30th of June 2016, Kigali, Rwanda was host to the 8th edition of the Africa Carbon Forum. The theme of this year’s forum was Promoting Cooperative Climate Action in Africa. The forum was held at the Kigali conference and exhibition village and comes exactly 6 months after the adoption of the universal climate change agreement at COP21 in Paris in December 2015.

The Minister of Natural Resources of the Government of Rwanda Vincent Biruta, in his welcome notes, stated that the gathering of many of the world’s leading experts on sustainable development provides a unique opportunity to harness the momentum of the Paris Agreement on climate change and turn global ambition into local action. He gave experiences from Rwanda, saying that Rwanda has placed environment and climate change at the heart of everything done in the country, from economic policy to social transformation.

James close, Director of World Bank group also in his welcoming remarks, stated that the meeting was an opportunity to focus on what the Paris agreement means for Africa.

The event featured both High level plenary sessions as well as side events on different climate change themes. There were hands on workshops, as well as trainings on climate finance, mini grids and other Low Emission Development Strategy Mechanisms. The plenary sessions allowed for productive discussions on the opportunities for Africa post‐Paris, the progress of Nationally Determined Contributions of countries, Policy options and opportunities for transformational development in Africa, Innovative projects, programs and investment opportunities for low‐carbon and climate‐resilient development, and also sources of climate finance and how to access them, including market‐based approaches for sustainable development.

Speaking at the high level plenary on Finance needs and Challenges to Implement NDCS in Africa, the commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture of the African Union commission –AUC, Her Excellency, Tumusiime Rhoda Peace, reflected on COP21 saying that Africa went to Paris with one voice. The submission of the INDCs from the 54 African countries before the COP was a statement that contributed to the achievement of Paris. In addition, she stated that the implementation of NDCs must reflect what was pledged. She called on the governments of Africa to bankroll implementation of the pledges. “The leadership shown at Paris should also be used to translate the NDCS to concrete actions”. She highlighted that climate finance is important for implementation and that African governments also have to be innovative and engage the private sector.

The Division Manager, Environment and Social Protection at AfDB, Anthony Nyong still on finance needs and challenges to implement NDCs in Africa, stated that climate finance should be new sustainable, additional and adequate to ensure the success of NDC implementation. He also expressed the need for resource harmonization as fragmentation is ineffective and increases transaction cost for implementing low carbon resilient projects.

The Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, Mr. Mahama Ayariga, also stated that education is critical to tackling climate change. In addition the principle of “polluter pays” should also be applied in developing country context and at national levels in Africa. “This will allow climate change to be factored into our daily lives.”

The Africa LEDS Partnership (AfLP) annual workshop also took place preceding the Africa Carbon forum on the 27th of June 2016. This workshop was organized to discuss on how Africa can finance LEDS and NDCs implementation after the 2015 Paris agreement. ECREEE was present at the Africa LEDS Partnership annual workshop to speak on the Opportunities and Challenges in scaling up implementation of renewable energy projects and to facilitate the energy session during the Workshop. ECREEE has been part of the Steering Committee of the AfLP and sits as co-chair of the Energy Working Group (EWG) of the AfLP since August 2014.  The Energy Working Group promotes low emission and climate resilient development in the energy sector through: Learning, information exchange, communication of best practices, advisory services & technical assistance as well as enhancing opportunities for coordination and collaboration.

Both meetings (the AfLP Annual Workshop and the African Carbon Forum) created  platforms for concrete networking amongst ECREEE and key experts from important organizations to push the mandate of the center forward in improving access to modern, reliable and affordable energy services, energy security and reduction of energy related GHG emissions and reduction of climate change impacts on energy systems in the ECOWAS region.