Africities Summit: Climate Action Needed in African Intermediary Cities

By Evance Odhiambo

Intermediary cities face a number of challenges in Africa in matters climate change. From planning, leadership, inadequate technical capacity, lack of innovation, financing and political will; it is evident that many cities struggle with ways of tackling climate change.

Kisumu Governor Prof. Peter Anyang’ Nyong’o

Addressing a session with the Covenant of Mayors in Sub-Saharan Africa (CoMSSA) attending the Africities Summit in Kisumu, Kenya, Kisumu Governor Prof. Peter Anyang’ Nyong’o told the city bosses to put in place measures that can help in eradicating greenhouse emissions that are chocking African cities.

‘’Although Sub-saharan Africa is responsible for only 4% of annual greenhouse gas emission, the region is often described as the most at risk to the negative effects of climate change, not only because of the expected change itself but because of the perceived lack of capacity of Africans and their Governments to adapt to them,’’ says Prof. Nyong’o.

He said that sustainable development goal number 13 urges global leaders to take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts. This requires mobilizing resources that requires the involvement of a multitude of actors and stakeholders from the public and private sectors to facilitate low-carbon and climate resilient development.

Prof. Nyong’o said that as African Union’s Agenda 2063 proposes that Africa should be transformed into a powerhouse in sustainable development, climate change will be one of the greatest impediment to sustainable development unless action is taken now.

Lauding Kisumu County’s efforts for coming up with initiatives to combat climate change including developing an institutional framework which entails Climate Policy, Climate Act, 2020 and Climate Regulation, he said the framework helps in igniting climate action at different levels- village, ward, city and county.

Kisumu, Prof. Nyong’o said, is a member of the CoMSSA initiative in which it has signed as a member of covenant of mayors (in 2016). The commitment means that the city discloses its carbon emission through the Carbon Disclosure program (CDP). This looks at adaptation issues and mitigation areas in which sectors implement projects to reduce carbon emissions.

Mayor Yawo Winny Dogbatse (left) alongside other panel members at the Africities summit

According to Mayor Yawo Winny Dogbatse who is the Chairperson of CoMSSA Regional Mayors and Gorvenors Forum, there is need to get elaborate pathway in dealing with climate change. He said that this include mainstreaming climate change into planning and budgeting as well as having climate proofed projects which is enhanced through budgeting and implementation.

‘’We need to put our first foot forward and deal with climate change once and for all. This requires elaborate initiatives such as proper planning and budget allocation in matters Climate Change,’’ says Dogbatse.

European Union Ambassador to Kenya H.E Henriette Geiger Africa will be one of the regions most impacted by climate change – the number of people exposed to sea level rise will double by 2030 to around 110 million and urban populations will be exposed to extreme heat which is estimated to increase by more than 20 times by 2060. She said that climate adaptation projects and building climate resilient infrastructure are essential for Africa to prevent further loss of livelihoods due to floods, cyclones and droughts.

H.E Henriette Geiger at the summit

‘’Multi-level governance and inclusive approaches are necessary for both cities and countries to adapt to climate change. This includes mobilizing climate funding and financing so that local and national governments can work together to increase their ambition and implement tangible climate actions. Despite only contributing less than 4% to global emissions, Africa receives only 3% of total climate finance,’’ she said.

H.E Geiger said that in response to the needs of the CoMSSA signatories, the EU has been progressing from planning to implementation by unlocking climate finance at the local level through the work of the Member State Organizations that serve as implementing partners for the initiative.

An important milestone in this regard she noted is the European Investment Bank (EIB), which is since recently also called the EU’s Climate Bank, and has now launched EIB Global, financing climate actions.

She said that EU and the EIB have been providing support to counties in a number of fronts, given the crucial role of local governments in achieving development outcomes and promised continuous support in fighting climate change.

“I would like to reaffirm the EU’s support to the Covenant of Mayors of Sub-Saharan Africa team and hence I invite you to contribute to the dialogues that are structuring our initiatives towards combating climate change. As the initiatives evolve and others become available, we hope to jointly co-create further opportunities fo

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