The Ninth Climate Change and Development in Africa (CCDA-IX) Conference will be held in Sal Island, Cabo Verde from 13rd to 17th September 2021. This was announced today by H.E. M. Olavo Correia, Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Finance in Cabo Verde, UNECA officials, and the Climate for Development in Africa (ClimDev-Africa) partners.
This is the first time that this important African climate conference will be hosted in an island nation.
“Towards an African Framework for Just Transitions” has been proposed as the main theme for this year’s conference. “Just Transition” refers to deliberate shifts of investments to environmentally and socially sustainable economies. Other thematic areas proposed include the ambitious nationally determined contributions (NDCs) climate action proposals; green and blue economy, and climate resilience post-COVID-19 pandemic which will be the crosscutting themes of CCDA-IX.
The Cape Verde conference comes at a time when a post-COVID-19 dispensation to address health and climate change challenges has been proposed for Africa with the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) outlining radical and bold economic renewal actions.
“Transformative actions should not only be about just transitions in a few sectors but should be based on broad approaches to address the underlying causes of vulnerability and put in place mechanisms to ensure that no one is left behind.” Vera Songwe UN Under-Secretary-General and Executive Secretary of the UN-Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) says. “African countries should strive to avoid the pitfalls of the past and encourage resource processing rather than simply resource extraction whilst delivering the materials the world requires for the low carbon transition. Capitalizing on this to deliver green industrialization allows Africa to bypass traditional carbon-intensive industries and instead future-proof their economies.”
The overall objectives of the conference are geared towards launching a continent-wide debate on what a just transition for Africa should look like and how the continent can develop appropriate frameworks to prepare for the just transition.
The conference aims at increasing the ambition and financing of the NDCs, blue economy, and related concerns. According to ClimDev-Africa, the conference dialogue is primed to provide a forum to deliberate on how to model and finance the costs of the continental economic just transition while capitalizing on the opportunities arising from the same across the globe.
CCDA-IX is also taking a valiant stand by using the Cape Verde summit to take stock of challenges and prospects engendered by the COVID-19 pandemic, and how they can be transformed into actionable climate solutions for mainland Africa and the adjacent island nations.
In another major first for CCDA since its inception, ClimDev-Africa has also announced that the Small Islands Developing States Accelerated Modalities of Action (SAMOA Pathway) will be mainstreamed as a special interest cross-cutting theme.
“The core themes will be complemented by parallel tracks organized by strategic sectors related to climate change notably Blue and Green Economy; energy; agriculture, finance, technology, health and nature-based solutions (NbS).” Jean-Paul Adam the Director, Technology, Climate Change and Natural Resource Management Division at the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) says.
The Climate Change and Development in Africa Conference (CCDA) series of conferences are a flagship dialogue space of the ClimDev-Africa initiative, which is composed of a partnership of the Africa Union Commission (AUC), African Development Bank (AfDB), United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) Pan-African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA). The Government of Cabo Verde has generously offered to host the event this year.
According to James Murombedzi of the African Climate Policy Centre (ACPC), the conference outcomes will contribute to the overarching themes and will be incorporated in the CCDA-IX declaration. “This will culminate in a call-to-action which will be widely disseminated and taken to the high-level global climate events notably the COP26 which will be held in Glasgow, UK later in the year,” Murombedzi says.
CCDA-IX is expected to bring together a wide range of stakeholders and interested constituencies, including policymakers, technocrats, parliamentarians, the African Group of Negotiators on climate change; researchers, academia, climate think-tanks, civil societies, youth, women groups, and indigenous groups. Other notable stakeholders who will grace the conference include development partners, local government representatives, international organizations, and members of the private sector.
It is significant to note that CCDA-IX is aligned to the continental efforts aimed at the post-pandemic restructuring of African economies into a green future. It buttresses the core values outlined in the recently released Building forward for African Green Recovery Report by the ECA.
“Africa’s economy of the future must be resilient to risks of further climate change and ecological damage. Some African countries are spending up to 9% of GDP responding to climate events and environmental degradation. By prioritizing nature-based solutions and advocating for a fair developmental price for carbon at the Glasgow Conference of Parties (COP), there is an opportunity to mobilize further resources for Africa’s Green and Blue Recovery” Adam says. “Although Africa is not amongst the largest emitters in the world, it is already impacted by rising temperatures. Any recovery must incorporate resilience and adaptation to build back better and avoid having to direct future resources to disaster relief rather than productive investments.”
CCDA-IX will rely on the deployment of three approaches in convening and reaching out to the wide range of multi-faceted constituencies and actors engaged in climate change and development discourse in Africa. These will be through bonding different platforms, hosting parallel sessions for dialogue including interaction and facilitating the sharing of lessons, key research findings, outreach, and policy uptake, as well as stimulating investments. These three converging approaches are anticipated to enrich deliberations and enhance the quality of recommendations and outcomes of CCDA-IX.
According to Murombedzi, the limitations caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has inspired the conference organizers to use an inventive hybrid model of participation including virtual and in-person speakers and delegates, to overcome those constraints and increase outreach.
The government of Cabo Verde has reiterated that all COVID-19 protocols and a raft of other public health measures are being instituted to guarantee a safe stay for all participants who will attend the conference proceedings in the island nation.