African leadership on climate change

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UNESCO, Nairobi, Kenya

African nations have responded to climate change with varying degrees of pace and ambition. Some developed national climate change strategies while others have plans that relate to specific sectors such as agriculture or water. The following examples draw from a 2012 report from the Chatham House Africa Programme, which has more detailed information on African leadership – national and subnational, and from governments, business and civil society.

It says: “Heads of state and finance, environment and planning ministers can lead by example, mainstreaming climate change considerations into continental, national and sub-national decision making, while producing and implementing programmes for inclusive climate-resilient green growth… African leadership, ‘ownership’ at all levels and genuine partnership are needed if initiatives are to be truly effective and sustainable.”

The Democratic Republic of Congo’s national development strategy highlights the importance of forests, their conservation, management and funding by REDD+.

Ethiopia launched a Climate-Resilient Green Economy strategy in 2011. It aims to keep greenhouse gas emissions in 2030 to current levels. Under the plan Ethiopia will improve crops and livestock practices; protect and re-establish forests; expand renewable energy and adopt modern, energy efficient technologies in transport, construction and industry.

Gabon unveiled its Green Gabon plan in 2011. It aims to consider climate change in all sectors of the economy, and noted that that new protected areas and reduced deforestation/degradation had avoided 450 million tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions in a decade. Under the plan Gabon commits to generate 80 per cent of energy from renewable sources (mainly hydro), and reduce gas flaring by 60 per cent by 2015.

Kenya developed its National Climate Change Action Plan 2013-2017 after 20 months of consultation. The 258-page document details Kenya’s options for adapting to and mitigating climate change, and for adopting a low-carbon development pathway. It identifies the institutions, finance and human capacity that the country needs to do this, and outlines how the country can implement and monitor the work. Developing renewable energy with private-sector support is a national priority, including feed-in tariff policy, focus on geothermal (e.g. potential Menengai 400MW plant), solar and wind (e.g. project near Lake Turkana to produce 300MW).

Mozambique published its green growth roadmap in 2012.

Nigeria has produced policy frameworks such as a Climate Change Commission Bill, adaptation plans and a REDD+ programme. 

Rwanda launched a Green Growth and Climate Resilience strategy in 2011. This includes geo-thermal power generation, soil fertility management, and better design of cities for pedestrians and cyclists, irrigation infrastructure and roads.

South Africa has a National Climate Change Response strategy with both mitigation and adaptation measures designed to enhance social, economic and environmental resilience, and emergency response capacity. It has pledged to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 34 per cent by 2020 and 42 per cent by 2025).