You are invited to join us for a series of Africa events hosted by the Climate Champions Team and partners at COP28 from 30 November – 12 December, 2023 in Dubai, UAE.
Our events will convene a range of non-state actors; businesses, governments, and civil society leaders who share a commitment to collaborating on transformative climate actions and solutions that aim to deliver the 2030 Sustainable Development goals, including a just, equitable, managed and financed transition.
Our 12-day series of in-person events will take place in both the COP28 Blue and Green Zones and other locations within Dubai City.
Bogolo Joy Kenewendo is the UN Climate Change High-Level Champions’ Special Advisor, Africa Director, and former Cabinet Minister of Investment, Trade and Industry of Botswana.
Kenewendo plays a leading role in shaping and implementing the Climate Champions’ plan for accelerating ambition and action in Africa, and delivering a transformative COP27. Working closely with the Champions and with a wide range of partners, she works to drive forward change and influence in the region.
This work builds on Kenewendo’s focus on Pan-African development especially in sustainable trade & investment and passion for accelerating innovation across the continent. Kenewendo is a member of the UN SG’s Common Agenda project on the Gender Architecture of the UN and the Group on Sustainable Financing, G7 Gender Equality Advisory Council and a WPL Special Envoy to the G7 & G20. She currently serves as Managing Director of Kenewendo Advisory and Non-Resident Fellow with Center for Global Development.
The Climate Champions’ mandate to engage non-state actors in climate action reaches around the globe. In order to meet the needs of our various stakeholders, we also take a regional approach to climate actions. The Africa team is composed of professionals from Botswana, Cameroon, Kenya, Egypt, Tunisia, Morocco, Nigeria and more. We work closely with African NGO’s, business associations and institutions of higher education to incorporate their voices and needs into high level climate debate. The COP27 Egyptian High Level Climate Champion Dr. Mahmoud Mohieldin and our COP28 UAE High Level Climate Champion Razan Al Mubarak, have highlighted that regionalization, nature and climate finance are key focus areas to truly achieve the Paris Agreement and SDG’s. This year our team and partners supported initiatives including: African Carbon Markets Initiative (ACMI), African Business Leaders Coalition (ABLC) with UNGC, the Africa Climate Risk Facility, initiative to end open waste burning, Africa Green Hydrogen Alliance (AGHA), the Africa Food Systems Transformation Initiative and commitments to restore degraded lands through AFR100. See below for more details on these innovations and the partnerships which make them happen. Read on to discover more about our work and what drives it.
With an abundance of land, natural capital and a growing, young population, Africa is undoubtedly the nature-positive economic superpower of the world. The protection of Africa’s nature could drive development across the entire continent. A nature-positive economy is regenerative and brings widespread economic opportunity including youth employment while protecting biodiversity. With access to the global voluntary carbon market; valuing and commercializing nature assets could unlock new financing opportunities for development for Africa. This market, operating with integrity, equity and transparency, could help Africa deliver on three fronts: nature, climate and development.
From savannahs to deserts, Africa is home to numerous unique and rich habitats. Given this range of ecosystems, it is perhaps unsurprising that the continent is home to at least 25% of our planet’s biodiversity. As well as endemic species of mammals, birds and plants, many countries boast vast and ancient tropical forests. Many local people and communities live in these forests and depend upon them for their subsistence and everyday livelihoods. However, the benefits of these ecosystems extend far beyond the countries within which they exist. For instance, the forests of the Congo Basin are frequently referred to as the ‘lungs of Africa’ as it is the world’s largest carbon sink. Crossing six countries, this forest absorbs more CO2 from the atmosphere than the Amazon.
Africa’s forests not only benefit the continent but offer a vital climate service to the planet which we need to conserve and harness at all costs given the climate emergency upon us. We need to see the nature services from this continent generate significant finance to drive local development.
Implementing such a transformation requires a climate justice approach. Climate justice recognises that without the promotion of human rights and the protection of nature, sustainable development is not possible. Many young climate activists are leading the campaign for climate justice across Africa. Now we need investors and governments to act with the same levels of commitment and enthusiasm shown by these courageous youth leaders.
Climate justice requires the urgent acceleration of finance at scale. This could be found in public funds, especially from climate funds which only currently account for $1 billion (3%) of climate finance flows to Africa and multilateral development banks (MDBs), which could use public finance to de-risk nature investments. Additionally, agricultural subsidies in the west and on this continent could be repurposed to fund this transition.
One avenue left relatively untapped is the voluntary carbon market. Two-thirds of Africa’s carbon credits come from only five countries. This market holds huge potential to unlock private capital to fund projects that simultaneously protect nature and bring economic benefits to local people and communities. Africa could increase its engagement with the voluntary carbon market to ensure a good price, and greater access to finance.
This potential has been acknowledged by numerous key stakeholders across Africa, which has led to the establishment of the Africa Carbon Market Initiative (ACMI), formed by SE for All, UNECA and Global Energy Alliance for People and Planet with the UN Climate Change High-Level Champions as a supporting partner. This was launched at COP27 as a means of enabling more money to flow to nature-based projects and power Africa’s development. The initiative will be fundamental in shaping of Africa’s engagement in the voluntary carbon market and the protection of its precious natural ecosystems going forward.
Above all, it is vitally important that there are continual, widespread consultations with governments, buyers, regional carbon market shaping initiatives, and local communities to shape the way ahead for the voluntary carbon market in Africa and understand where finance can make the greatest impact. The best nature-based projects generate not only high-quality carbon credits but also bring lasting benefits for these local communities, the custodians of biodiversity. This is the context for the formation of the African Carbon Markets Initiative (ACMI), which has the aim of scaling supply and demand for carbon credit projects in Africa. The 2030 technical potential of Africa-sourced carbon credits is estimated at up to 2,370 MtCO2e based on existing, nascent, and innovative methodologies in sectors such as forestry, agriculture, blue carbon, renewable energy, household devices, livestock, engineered removals, decommissioning of fossil fuels and more.
Learn more about our current projects and partners
Our “Sharing Actions” initiative aims to engage with African partners, promote best practices, exchange insights, and foster momentum in mobilizing climate capital in Africa. These efforts not only contribute to regional ecosystem development but also serve as a hub for global partners interested in learning more about the dynamic opportunities in Africa.
In the first session held in May 2023, we provided an introduction to the projects that have been implemented throughout the year in Africa. The session included an overview of the upcoming Africa Climate Action Summit scheduled to take place in Kenya in September this year. Additionally, we discussed the Africa Regional Forum organized by the UN Climate Change High-Level Champions and UNECA, the Vumbuzi Fund, AfreximBank projects in the continent, and the Africa Carbon Market Initiative (ACMI).
You can watch the session here
The second session, conducted in June 2023, focused on reflecting on the outcomes of the Paris Summit for a New Global Financing Pact and the Bonn Climate Change Conference. We also explored areas that need strengthening in preparation for the Africa Climate Action Summit.
You can watch the session here
The GFANZ Africa Network launched in September 2022, seeks to unlock investment for green growth and support engagement with African financial institutions, ensuring that GFANZ’s work on supporting the global transition to net zero is inclusive and applicable to all.
Climate Champions Team looks forward to collaborating with this African chapter of GFANZ to encourage even more innovative investments in climate finance.
At the COP27 summit the Global Energy Alliance for People and Planet (GEAPP), SE for All, UNECA and the Climate Champions launched a new venture, which aims to help shape and harness the potential of voluntary carbon markets in Africa. The African carbon market initiative will enhance carbon credits to protect natural assets and stimulate sustainable development activities which differentiates it from other regional carbon credit strategies.
The Africa Climate Risk Facility (ACRF) is an initiative of the Nairobi Declaration on Sustainable Insurance (NDSI) led by FSD Africa, Africa Risk Capacity, ICEA Lion Group and Namib Re, which represents a commitment by African insurance industry leaders to support the achievement of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. The 85+ NDSI signatories are committed to underwriting $14bn of cover for climate risks by 2030 to protect 1.4 billion people against floods, droughts, and tropical cyclones.
At COP27, the Climate Champions were excited to support the launch of a unique multiple partner platform and fund: the African Cities Water Adaptation Fund (ACWA Fund) and the ACWA Platform. This Africa-focused blended finance instrument aims to support the development and implementation of more than 200 projects in 100 African cities by 2032, to benefit 29 million people, create 69,000 jobs and save 137 million cubic metres of water.
Led by the World Resources Institute (WRI), in partnership with the Continental Africa Water Investment Program (AIP), and together with public and private sector partners, development banks, impact investors, state and non-State actors and experts, the ACWA Fund supports city leaders to fund and scale high-impact water resilience solutions across Africa by leveraging private financing while better coordinating public sector funds alongside climate and development aid.
The ACWA Platform, which is a growing African coalition of 25 cities, city networks, water sector organisations, research institutions and grassroots organisations representing informal settlement dwellers serves as the technical assistance facility for the Fund.
During 2022, UNGC in partnership with the Climate Champions announced the first-ever private sector statement on climate action in Africa, detailing the Africa Business Leaders Coalition (ABLC) participants’ perspective on climate change, their commitments, and their call to action for the global community. At COP27, ABLC hosted a major event for the coalition, themed “Africa Business Leaders Coalition: Defining Africa’s Climate Action Narrative.” It was the occasion for ABLC CEOs to present their Climate Statement and their ambitious commitments while showcasing the individual company’s actions they are already taking across sectors and African geographies.
The transition from a global economy dependent on fossil fuels, to a green hydrogen and renewable fuels-based economy, is happening now. At COP27, technology and policy experts, private sector leaders, governmental officials and global initiatives’ representatives came together to present the latest breakthroughs in green hydrogen and e-fuels development and discuss required policy support, challenges and barriers to the acceleration of hydrogen and E-Fuel development. This led to the announcement and pledges of green hydrogen production projects, targets for electrolysis capacity to be installed in different regions and commitments to purchase of green hydrogen by relevant transportation or industrial sectors as well as a showcase of regional cross-country collaboration on GH2 development and the value of alliances like AGHA.
AFSTI provides a scalable, sustainable approach to pivot the African food system to one which is climate-resilient and adaptive, and which contributes to sustainable, affordable nutrition for all by 2030. AFSTI will drive transformation towards increasing Climate resilient and sustainable agriculture yields by 17%, reduces farm level GHG emissions by 21%, halve the share of food production lost and halve per capita food waste—relative to 2019—by 2030, and make smart and early warning systems available to three billion people.
The Forest Climate Leaders Partnership (FCLP) together with President Macron, President Ruto, Climate Champions and other partners are aiming to boost action to implement a commitment made at Glasgow to halt forest loss and land degradation by 2030 and to convert ambition to action on the ground. At COP27, Government representatives announced that of the $12 billion committed in Glasgow to protect and restore forests over 2021-2025, $6.7 bn has already been spent and that public and private donors have committed a further $4.5 bn since COP 26.
Open burning of waste driven by a lack of awareness about its significant health and climate impact coupled with the systemic deficiency in waste management infrastructure is widely practised in most developing countries, including African countries. The 18th Session of the African Ministerial Conference on Environment (AMCEN), recognizing the scope of the challenge and the multiple benefits of addressing it by promoting the use of waste as secondary resource input, adopted a resolution to eliminate open waste burning from Africa by 2040. A multi-stakeholder partnership for the elimination of open burning of waste from Africa was launched on 10th November at COP 27 as an implementation mechanism for the commitment made by African Ministers.
Women and girls should be at the forefront of building a sustainable climate resilient Africa. As women form a majority of the world’s poor and can comprise 80% of those displaced by climate-related disasters, we must leverage their frontline experiences and knowledge.