Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, 23 March 2018 (ECA) - Africa should focus more on building internal solutions to its problems rather than depend on international partners to solve its challenges.
This was the dominant message at the end of the two-day meeting on the Talanoa Dialogue: African Climate Talks II (ACT!-II) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
Participants at the talks on the theme; “Market policy versus market mechanisms in the implementation of the Paris Agreement”, called for African initiatives to address the continent’s climate problems.
They advocated for holistic African approaches to help the region in its climate change mitigation, adaptation and in addressing its exposure and vulnerability to constantly increasing climate impacts.
Mr. James Murombedzi, Officer in Charge of Africa Climate Policy Centre (ACPC), underscored that Africa continues to have the least capacity for Climate Information Services (CIS), a concern that the Weather and Climate Information Services for Africa (WISER) programme is addressing.
“WISER seeks to demonstrate the socio-economic benefits (SEB) of investing in CIS. Apart from investing in CIS, we should also build the capacity of decision makers to be able to analyse and integrate CIS in policy,” Mr. Murombedzi said.
He added that WISER was also supporting development of climate research for development (CR4D) for CIS to be fully integrated in policy making.
Mr. Linus Mofor of the Economic Commission of Africa (ECA) spoke about the African Climate Resilient Investment Facility (AFRI-RES).
He revealed that findings by the programme indicated a huge deficit in infrastructure on the continent, a big barrier to growth and development.
“Infrastructure is an enabler and catalyst for industrialisation, trade and regional integration. It should be done in a way that addresses potential threats from climate change. Africa should seize the opportunity to do it right and lead,” Mr. Mofor said.
He further noted that Africa needs hundreds of billions of dollars to invest in infrastructure, and that it's imperative to climate proof the investments.
Mr. Godwell Nhamo of University of South Africa called on African countries to work together and address the financing deficit, instead of relying on foreign donors.
“Let Africa engage, among its nations, to mainstream climate change in their budgets and focus on adaptation. We can address this locally but not by roving the world and asking for money from donors,” said Mr. Nhamo.
Mr. David Lessole of the University of Botswana noted that political leadership was crucial to guide the Africa Adaptation Initiative (AAI), the Talanoa Dialogue and beyond.
“We should focus on outcomes - livelihoods, sustainability, vulnerability, human security - instead of the traditional sectors like health and agriculture,” said Mr. Lessole.
He called on the African Development Bank (AfDB) to review its rules on funding mechanism to make it easy for countries to get money on time for their projects instead of what he said was its cumbersome regime of accessing money.
“We need to nominate a commissioner to the African Union dedicated to climate change. A commissioner who will head our initiative to develop a climate change implementation mechanism,” Lessole said.
Ms. Pauline Dube of the University of Botswana pointed out that policymakers need to link the continent’s social systems-local, regional and international for resource mobilisation to have a greater impact on climate change.
“Relying on others is creating inequalities even at the village level. Anthropecene is characterised by dominance of people over others. We have been the victims of this but even those who created it are suffering. Let us have our own solutions,” she said.
Mr. Joseph Matowanyika of Chinhoyi University, Zimbabwe emphasised the integration of African indigenous knowledge systems (IKS) into national plans to address climate change.
“Our forefathers had unique ways of addressing natural disasters. This knowledge is available. All the ancient games have hidden wisdom that can solve the problems we are facing now. Our fathers knew crop rotation, grain storage among other gems. Let’s harness and use this knowledge,” Mr. Matowanyika said.
Mr. Laban Ogallo, University of Nairobi, urged for the use of historical data which is available to solve climate problems.
“The future is now. Indigenous knowledge is vital and we should make use of it together with right technologies to predict the future,” he said.
Mr. Buruhani Nyenzi, a consultant from Tanzania called for meteorologists to be involved in the negotiations to provide good climate information.
“Combine adaptation and CIS for good results and advocacy on how to apply this knowledge at the grassroots,” Mr. Nyenzi said.
On his part, Mr. Amos Makarau, formerly of Zimbabwe Meteorological Services called for the integration of IKS in early warning systems in in-country networks to increase observation and fill gaps in spatial coverage.
He stressed the need to regulate issuance of climate information to protect producers and users.
Mr. Emmanuel Marfo, a Ghanaian Member of Parliament, noted that; “We need to understand how politics play out in international negotiations. Parliament is key in integrating CIS in budgets because they make legislations. Legislators should thus be involved in all issues related to climate change.”
Youth representatives at the meeting advocated for their greater inclusion in decision making forums.
“Expose the youth to challenges of policy making now so that they can know how better to find solutions rather than just be observers as the region suffers,” said Chinma George from Nigeria.
Barbara Nakangu from Makerere University, Uganda, urged the youth to join politics and be part of decision and policy making.
On the globes’ continued warming, Mr. Webster Whande of CDKN, South Africa, said the continent should develop tools to assess its collective progress of achieving the 1.5 degrees centigrade.
Mr. Robert Mbeche of Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, Kenya, added that various agreements under UNFCCC and other agreements have not slowed down carbon emissions and temperatures were rising towards 3 degrees centigrade.
Mr. John Maesela of the Department of Environmental Affairs, South Africa, called on all African countries to join and support the Africa adaptation initiative, which focuses on loss and damage, strengthening policy and institutional frameworks and promoting grassroots implementation.
He added that the initiative is striving for concrete results for extreme events like droughts and floods and strengthening national implementing agencies for adaptation.
For continued development of solutions for the continent, Mr. James Kinyangi of the AfDB urged African countries to engage with the bank.
The more than 170 participants in attendance recommended that engineers, climate resilience experts and disaster risk managers should work together to save the continent from losing money on infrastructure such as roads, bridges that are being washed away by floods yearly.
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