World Environment Day: A reflection on Climate Action in Africa

Blog post by Laurent Kossivi Domegni who works as a renewable energy advisor with Econoler based in  Lomé, Togo. 

As we celebrate World Environment Day globally, I want to share with you my reflection on Climate Action in Africa and how its contribution to climate action is interwoven in this year’s theme “Only One Earth”.

Funded by Global Affairs Canada, Climate Action in Africa is a 5-year Expert Deployment Mechanism, implemented by Alinea International in partnership with Econoler and WSP – for which I’m the renewable energy advisor.

Climate Action in Africa provides short-term technical assistance to Sub-Saharan Africa – aimed at combatting climate change and biodiversity loss.  Support is demand-driven and based on needs identified at the local level.

The interventions of Climate Action in Africa fall under four pillars:

  1.  building climate change governance capacity,
  2.  climate change mitigation with a focus on energy and forestry and adaption with a focus on water and agriculture,
  3.  women’s participation and leadership in climate action,
  4.  south-south cooperation and knowledge sharing.

It has been 50 years since World Environment Day was first launched in 1973. Organized by the United Nations Environment Programme, World Environment Day is the largest global platform for environmental outreach. This year’s theme “Only One Earth” is an occasion to raise awareness and celebrate environmental action. And so, what are the environmental actions implemented by Climate Action in Africa so far and what are those it can support in the coming years?

So far, the project has started implementation with outreach activities through the participation in UN conferences such as the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA 5.2) in Kenya and the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD)COP 15 in Abidjan, where I was a participant. Both gatherings bring together member states, civil society, non-governmental organizations and the private sector to create policy to address global environmental issues. For Climate Action in Africa, both UNEA 5.2 and UNCCDP COP 15 are important opportunities to reach out to various Sub-Saharan African stakeholders that might be interested in technical assistance support provided by the project.

In addition, many stakeholders communicated that they felt Climate Action in Africa could play a part in filling a gap mostly missing in the climate projects cycle in Sub-Saharan Africa by supporting soft project aspects — such as project design and maturation.

As Climate Action in Africa enters its operational phase, I want to enumerate some of the environmental actions that can be supported under each of the four project pillars:

  • Pillar 1: strengthening national climate policy, gendered national climate policy framework
  • Pillar 2: clean cooking access to women and forest restoration, energy for gender equality
  • Pillar 3: building women’s leadership capacity for climate action
  • Pillar 4: project evaluation and knowledge products

My colleagues and I are more than eager to welcome requests for support and begin work on this important Government of Canada initiative.