Ahead of COP26 Conference, strategies to mitigate impacts of climate change on Africa’s vulnerable communities took the centre stage recently – The conference opened with welcome remarks from the Executive Director of PACJA, Dr. Mithika Mwenda. He said the meeting is holding against the backdrop of little progress in international efforts to address the climate crisis, which has been made worse in the last few years by the COVID-19 pandemic. More than a hundred civil society representatives from across Africa were in attendance at the conference in Abuja, Nigeria, to develop a common position ahead of COP26, the climate change summit, billed for Glasgow, UK, later this year.
Centre for 21st Century Issues representing CSOs in Nigeria and also a board member of PACJA was in attendance and was represented by the Executive Director, Ms Titi Akosa and the Program Assistant, Odediji Jumoke Victoria. The conference held from 12th to 18th July, 2021 at Sheraton Hotel, Abuja. The road to COP26 Conference discussions held for two days, 12th and 13th, July 2021.
Dr. Mithika Mwenda opened the discussions on Monday, 12th July stating that “Africa continues to be the epicenter of the climate crisis in terms of the devastations wrecking communities. From cyclones to drought; unpredictable rains to heat waves; flash floods to desertification; African communities already experience life-changing effects of climate change on agriculture, water resources, livestock production and even spirituality, some of these effects may already be irreversible”.
Amb. Seyni Nafo, AGN Spokesperson and Dr. James Murombedzi spoke about the state of affairs in African and global climate policy processes in the countdown to UNFCCC-COP26. Martin Mubisi from Fair Trade Africa also spoke on the Nexus between trade and climate justice. Speakers on the first day of the Conference indicated that they intend to advocate actions and financial flows that in addition to reducing emissions create thriving and resilient communities in every corner of the continent, however remote.
Day 2 of the conference, the role of the faith-based institutions in the COP negotiations was discussed. A presentation of the AACC position for COP 26 was given by Dr. Ezekiel Lesmore. Discussions were held on the demand for space by Faith actors in climate change.
Rev. Dr. Lesmore Ezekiel, programme director at the All African Conference of Churches (AACC) said issues related to climate change policy is a moral obligation and spiritual responsibility by the faith actors who can no longer seat on the sidelines. He also noted that the faith leaders in Africa state unequivocally that Climate Change remains a serious existential threat facing humanity and that the clamor for faith leaders to be brought at the center of climate change discourses is a convergence of like minds from the CSOs, governments and Faith actors to speak against the climate justice.
The faith leaders, according to Dr. Ezekiel, urged the COP26 Presidency to bring back the trust and confidence that is needed in negotiations to ensure that the climate negotiations take into consideration historical climate injustices in order to ensure accountability, serve justice and achieve reconciliation (transitional justice approach). They also urged African governments to mainstream climate change in development planning to achieve Paris Agreement commitments and enact and enforce laws and policies that are responsive to climate change.
They noted that the COVID-19 recovery strategies should be aligned with Paris Agreement commitments especially in areas that contribute to achieving the NDCs targets. Dr. Ezekiel noted that the clamor for faith leaders to be brought at the center of climate change discourses is a convergence of like minds from the CSOs, governments and Faith actors to speak against the climate justice. Also, there were group discussions on the CSOs demand for COP26 where discussions about what the main issues that African CSOs should push for in COP26, who are our main allies and how we can engage them as push through our agenda. These group discussions led to the presentation of the draft CSOs position paper for COP26.
Day 2 was wrapped up with the launching of the report on the impacts of COVID-19 on the implementation of the Nationally Determined Contributions in Africa. One of the issues discussed stated that; “It has not been clarified whether participants from African countries and developing countries should be quarantined for 14days whether vaccinated or not…. this will affect the COP26 event because by the time participants are coming out from quarantine, the event would almost be over”.
A participant from Nigeria raised a suggestion about Africa moving to action and stop talking alone on climate issues. He suggested that negotiators should go back to their drawing boards and strategies on how to bring funds for implementing the mitigation to be done as regards climate change issues. Another participant asked the panels that what are the strategies that are put in place for CSOs to harness all the funds put in place for climate financing? What strategies can we scale up for climate financing that’s coming to Africa? Another participant made a recommendation that we should come out clear about the Covid19 Recovery regarding upcoming events. At the end of two days of discussions, the CSO representatives are expected to press for a COP26 outcome that reflects the “special circumstances and needs of Africa” created by the injustices of climate change such as the disproportionate vulnerabilities and warming that its people face despite insignificant contribution to global warming.
Day 3 & 4 of the conference, presentations were done on Transitional Justice and Renewable Energy in Africa: State of Play.
Day 3: Speakers talked about Just transition and how it can be applied to all our climate justices. A speaker from Legal Response International in London talked about Transitional justice and how it relates to climate issues. He said Just transition needs social engagement, social advocacy etc. Issues about just transition were discussed: Strategies of CSOs towards the negotiations, economic shift of green development, new economic opportunity, and social engagements. Transitional justice is a process that we are trying to build on and it is an emerging issue. It is a new concept in climate change issues.
Transitional justice is a new aspect in climate change issues that dwells on historical injustices that has been in the past about climate justice. Transitional justices are judicial and non-judicial measures that are put in place to redress legacies of human right abuses. It talks about respecting and protecting human rights in climate issues, making access to justice as a reality to local levels and increasing importance and urgency of the human rights implications of climate change. During the workshop, there were breakout sessions where participants were grouped and asked to develop a draft on the key tasks and strategy development model given on Transitional justice.
The key tasks questions were: What are key messages that we can formulate to undertake transitional justice advocacy? What stakeholders should we target and what strategies can we use to undertake this advocacy? The strategy development model given to be used by participants to focus on to answer the key tasks were: messages, stakeholders and strategy. At the end of the breakout sessions, each group came up with a draft on CSOs position on Transitional justice.
Day 4: Presentations were made on Renewable Energy in Africa, a state of play where Thomas Opande spoke on Renewable Energy and said the potential for renewable in Africa is huge. Eugene Nforgwa, Thematic Lead, Just Transition and Energy Access gave a presentation on Renewable Energy in Africa. He spoke on PACJA’s energy work that starts from Climate Finance, Resilient People, Societies, and Economies, Just Transition and Energy Access to African Coalition for Sustainable Energy Access (ACSEA). African Coalition for Sustainable Energy Access (ACSEA) is an alliance of organizations drawn from civil society, business, academia and research institutions promoting renewable energy, energy transformation and access in Africa. He further explained the ACSEA’s strategy: Increased renewable energy, energy transformation and access in Africa which is broken down into: Increasing Renewable Energy and scaling down Fossil Fuels through Investments, Renewable Energy for poor rural communities through Access, Ownership and Participation through Governance. Eugene also spoke on addressing the energy challenges in Africa using policy focus as a guide.
This policy focus includes Policy focus on access which includes investments in grid expansion and reliance on available resources and tested technologies, Policy focus on Governance which includes investments in energy system transformation, addressing access and sustainability demands, and Policy focus on Climate Action which includes divestments from fossil fuels, pursuit of PA alignment and eye on emission reductions.
After the Presentations on Renewable energy in Africa, there was breakout session in which participants were grouped and instructed to work on key tasks to come up with a draft on CSOs role on Renewable Energy in Africa. The key tasks centers on how African civil society engage the private sector, policy makers and financial institutions to scale u financing for renewable energy transition. Three thematic streams were used to streamline the drafts developed by the groups which are: Private sector, Policy makers, and financial institutions. The three groups came up with drafts on CSOs role in scaling up financing for renewable energy transition.
Day 5&6: Presentations were made on Planning and Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) aspects of results in projects. Inter-linkages between planning and M&E were discussed and it was recommended that without proper planning and clear articulation of intended results, what is to be achieved will not be clear in a project. It was also stated that without a clear understanding of what is to be achieved (results), it is not clear what is to be monitored and evaluated, M&E cannot be done well. Also, without good monitoring, part of the data needed for evaluation will be lacking, evaluation will not be up to standard and without clear results framework, basis for evaluation is weak, and therefore evaluation cannot be done well.
Explanations were given on indicators used in projects and it was mentioned that the indicators shout be SMART- Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-bound. During the presentation, more definition of terms was given as regards projects to be implemented, this includes: Activities: actions taken or work performed through the use of inputs to accomplish a desired activity, Inputs: Financial, human, materials, information resources needed to implement activities, Impacts: Lasting/sustainable significant positive changes in the lives, socio-economic well-being of the beneficiaries and the society in general that development organizations seek to contribute to, through working with others, Outcomes: Changes related to access to improved services, goods, products; the use/application of acquired knowledge and skills; attitude & behavioral change(people’s actions), Policy changes and policy benefits, Outputs: The immediate direct deliverable after implementing an activity or a set of activities, necessary to achieve the outcomes, mainly knowledge and skills acquisition; delivery of materials, etc.
It was noted that Results Chain are logical articulation (diagrams) that show linkages between Inputs-Activities-Outputs-Outcomes-Impacts (intervention logic). Results Chain is a visual tool used to illustrate the logical sequence of successive changes that a project intends to deliver based on the Theory of Change. Results Chains are used to improve programming/design process and help to better envisage the changes and the change process. Results chains should fit within its project Theory of Change.
There was a Breakout session after the presentation where participants were grouped according to their regions and instructions were given on the questions to be discussed based on their platform. The questions of discussion were: What are Results? What is your definition of Results from platform perspective? What elements of RBM do you have in place as a platform? Participants in the groups were asked to fill the M&E form for the monitoring and evaluation of their projects on their various platforms.
Day 7: Pan African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA) General Congress Meeting held on 18th July 2021. Opening remarks and reading of 2018 extraordinary General Assembly minutes were done by the Executive Director, PACJA, Dr. Mithika Mwenda after which the updates from PACJA secretariat was given by Augustine Njamshi. Mrs. Salina Sanou, Head of Programs and Mrs. Fathiya Abdul Majid, Head of Finance and Admin gave a presentation about the focus on prospective and ongoing projects and financial aspects of the projects.
After the presentations, Mrs. Salina Sanou talked about charting the way forward in pursuit of our climate justice advocacy in the context of COVID-19 which is the Pan African Climate Justice Alliance Strategic Focus and Objectives for 2021-2030. Also, Dr. Mithika Mwenda and Mr. Rob Sinclair addressed the issue of the focus on the new strategic plan 2021-2025 and the long-term plan 2021-2030. The Chairman of the meeting handled the compliance with the Alliance’s constitution and the election of the new office bearers.