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African leaders to speak with a strong, unified voice at COP26

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Cabo Verde’s Prime Minister, Ulisses Correia e Silva urged African countries to attend the 26th UN climate change conference (COP26), showing their unity while pushing for bold African solutions for global efforts to tackle climate change.

He made the call at the Ninth Climate Change and Development in Africa (CCDA-IX) conference. CCDA-IX is Africa’s premier climate summit convened by the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), the African Union Commission (AUC), and the African Development Bank in collaboration with the Government of the Republic of Cabo Verde.

As he welcomed participants to Sal Island, in the Atlantic Ocean island nation of Cabo Verde Premier Correia urged the participants to adequately prepare the African continent’s position and ensure “a single, strong and unified voice in COP26”. CCDA-IX takes place six weeks before the world converges in Glasgow, United Kingdom for the global 26th Conference of Parties (COP26) of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

Correia outlined three critical areas that need significant attention during the conference. These included the invaluable role played by African states in the reduction of greenhouse gases through ambitious nationally determined commitments, increased adoption of renewable energies by African states, and the concept of development through climate financing. He stated that Africa’s climate financing agenda should not be jeopardized.

“Towards a Just Transition that delivers jobs, prosperity and climate resilience in Africa: Leveraging the green and blue economy” is the theme for CCDA-IX, which is expected to amalgamate the tone as well as bolstering Africa’s position and participation in the forthcoming UN climate talks in the United Kingdom.

The importance of Africa’s position at the COP26 negotiations was accorded the prime slot within the CCDA-IX opening ceremony, as all the speakers who addressed the high-level segment of the opening session of the conference called for a coherent and robust posture by Africa in the much-awaited COP26.

The African Union (AU) Commissioner for Agriculture, Rural Development, Blue Economy, and Sustainable Environment Ambassador Josefa Sacko who gave the key-note address noted that CCDA-IX adds great value not just for the African climate conversation but also in preparation for COP26. Sacko also outlined three key framework strategies being pursued by the AU on climate change, Blue economy, and meteorology weather and climate services that are collectively aimed at “strengthening and mainstreaming climate governance in Africa.”

The Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) & United Nations Under-Secretary-General, Vera Songwe who also addressed the high-level segment acknowledged that the theme of the conference was timely and appropriate for the current times and offers a suitable platform to concretize Africa’s key messages to COP26. According to Songwe the quest for a just transition for the continent needs the participation of the private sector which must be included “at the center of Africa’s green recovery” agenda.

Songwe applauded Cape Verde’s uptake of renewable energy pathways with the aim of reaching 30 percent of its electricity from renewables by 2025. “Africa needs to be at the forefront of finding solutions to the climate challenge,” Songwe said.  The ECA chief repeated her call for the uptake of blended finance in green and blue bonds which have so far offered sustainable development solutions in several countries in Africa as case studies were done by ECA revealed.

According to Songwe more attention should be placed on carbon-pricing and African peatlands and forests which are essential carbon sinks to boost emission targets in the race to Net-Zero by 2050 while at the same time offering Africa a climate-smart revenue stream.

“Africa’s just transition to carbon-neutral and resilient economies must be gradual with adequate consideration to access to finance, technology and capacity which are all critical to achieving the transformational change required to achieve the Paris Agreement and the sustainable development goals in Africa,” Al-Hamdou Dorsuma of the African Development Banks said. “As we move towards COP26 we look forward to the positive outcomes that will lead to the just transition needed for Africa.”

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