Draft African Union strategy on climate change

The African Union has played a key role in ensuring that Africa takes a united stand in global negotiations and evolving mechanisms. The African Group of Negotiators in the UNFCCC processes, inputs from relevant STCs, the work of the CAHOSCC and AMCEN have all been brought into a coherent AU framework. The African Heads of State and Government, having appreciated the gravity of the climate change challenge unfolding in the continent, made a number of seminal decisions to help Member States deal effectively, efficiently and equitably with the risks posed by climate change.

In July 2009, the African Union Summit adopted a decision on the African Common Position on Climate Change, which was to be based on the Algiers Platform and its continued refinement by the African Group of Negotiators. The Assembly further took note of the Commission’s efforts to develop a comprehensive African Strategy on Climate Change, and requested the Commission, in collaboration with partners, to elaborate a comprehensive African Strategy on Climate Change, including development of sector technical backup data on the impacts of climate change, its cost to the economy and amount of carbon sequestered in various African ecosystems. This is the premise upon which the elaboration of the Strategy is based on.

The July 2009 Summit in Sirte, Libya adopted a decision which requested the Commission of the African Union, in collaboration with partners, to develop a comprehensive African Strategy on Climate Change, including development of sector technical backup data on the impacts of climate change its’ cost to the economies of Africa and the amount of carbon sequestered in various African ecosystems. Accordingly, the Commission embarked on the elaboration of the draft Strategy through a technically supported participatory process with our key stakeholders including Member States, Regional Economic Communities, UN agencies and other partners. The text of the Draft Strategy was developed and refined through small, specialized expert working groups.

The draft Strategy was submitted to the 4th extraordinary session of the African Ministerial Conference on Environment in Bamako, Mali in September 2011. The African ministers of environment welcomed the report of the African Union Commission on the development of the African strategy on climate change and called upon the Commission to continue this work and reflect the inputs made at the fourth special session of African Ministerial Conference on the Environment in the strategy; especially, issues related to African common position on climate change, science of climate change and technology development and transfer.

The Vision of the African strategy is to provide the AU as a whole, the RECs, Member States and other stakeholders with a reliable source of strategic guidance to enable them effectively address climate change challenges. The strategy also proposes to carry out other interventions to address some specific priority areas including adaptation and risk management, Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions (NAMAs) and as well as some specific cross-cutting issues. The strategy also identifies specific goals for each thematic area.  For each of the goals, several actions are identified. These are used in defining an implementation matrix.

The guiding principles take cognizance of the multidisciplinary and cross cutting nature of climate change, both in terms of disciplines and sectors. It also recognizes that most aspects of this strategy will only be realized through partnerships and close collaboration among various sectors, institutions and stakeholders at global, regional and national levels.

The African Climate Change Strategy is organized around four thematic pillars:

  1. Climate Change Governance
  2. Promotion of research, education, awareness raising and advocacy
  3. Mainstreaming and integrating climate change imperatives in planning, budgeting, and development processes; and
  4. Promotion of national, regional, and international cooperation.