Africa’s priorities in new climate governance
In a world of competing priorities, how can African states and societies take the lead on climate change to both transform their own economies and drive shifts in the global climate landscape? This was the question that twenty experts grappled with on January 9th at a one-day workshop on “African priorities in the new climate governance” hosted by the Blavatnik School of Government and the Global Economic Governance Programme at the University of Oxford. The workshop identified challenges and opportunities for African governments, and how to best meet African priorities in an increasingly complex climate governance system.
Thomas Hale, BSG Associate Professor and main lead of the workshop, said: “Climate governance is evolving. Just as we move towards the climate agreement in Paris next December, the object of negotiations is shifting towards nationally determined goals. This, combined with the steady surge of climate actions and new financial tools and institutions such as the Green Climate Fund, means we need to think even more carefully about the priorities and role of African societies. We hope the workshop will offer the opportunity to share ideas and come up with innovative solutions.”
The workshop addressed immediate questions about negotiating objectives at the upcoming 2015 Paris summit and also overcoming barriers to action. Participants identified two crucial linkages between development and climate and between the domestic and the international. In Africa in particular, climate and development are inextricable. 2015 will also be the year of development summits and concluding of the sustainable development goals: the connection between poverty reduction and sustainability must be kept in mind.
A key theme that emerged from the conversation is that energy, both in terms of energy access and mapping out energy transition plans, is a key African priority. However, energy largely remains absent from climate negotiations, as it does from development agendas.
On climate finance, participants agreed that progress has been made in consolidating disperse sources of international climate finance by the establishment of the Green Climate Fund. Yet, it remains an African priority to secure predictable and accessible funding that is responsive to African needs, particularly adaptation.
The rich and varied discussion will feed into the Africa Progress Report on climate, to be released in June 2015.
Photos from the event can be found here.