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Towards COP26: What are NDCs and why are they important?


Towards COP26: What are NDCs and why are they important?

As part of their commitment to global climate goals, countries in anticipation of the upcoming COP26 have submitted their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs).

What are NDCs, what are the contents of NDCs, and which African country has submitted their updated NDCs? Those are the questions this piece will be answering.

What the NDCs is all about

The Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) is part of the Paris Agreement, which was signed in 2015 by parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) with the goal of assisting each country in reducing national emissions and adapting to the effects of climate change.

The issue of climate change and how it is affecting many countries prompted the development of Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) to assist members in setting goals for reducing their carbon footprint and mitigating climate change.

Many African countries were among those that filed Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) in 2015 and followed up with an update of the documented goals.

The Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) are plans made to highlight climate actions, reduce the emission of greenhouse gases, non-depletion of the ozone layer, and also measures and efforts made by countries to reduce the negative impacts of climate change on the planet.

Given that the African continent is the lowest contributor of greenhouse gases on the planet, it is impossible to dismiss their attempts to reduce their carbon footprint. Even now, Africa produces only 4% of global carbon emissions, yet it is the most vulnerable to climate change.

The content of the NDCs

The NDCs are at the heart of the Paris Agreement, and each country is required to submit one. The NDCs detail each country’s efforts to reduce national greenhouse gas emissions as well as adaptation measures to climate change impacts. In simple terms, the NDC is each member country’s climate action plan.

Almost all NDCs include a target to reduce CO2 emissions by a certain percentage over a certain period of time. The majority of them also discuss how climatic changes may influence their country and how they plan to adapt.

When this is done, the world’s climate activities will determine whether the world accomplishes the Paris Agreement’s long-term goals of reaching global peaking of greenhouse gas emissions as soon as feasible and taking significant reduction measures using the best available means, such as science.

Also, Parties shall pursue domestic mitigation measures, with the aim of achieving the objectives of such contributions.

African countries to have submitted the NDC

Many parties have demonstrated their commitment to the Paris Agreement by submitting and updating their NDCs in advance of COP26. Ethiopia, Kenya, Morocco, South Africa, and Ethiopia.

Only Nigeria has proposed a stronger NDC objective in Africa, while the rest of the continent is still being studied.

The NDCs of some African countries

If you keep up with climate news, you’ll note that Kenya has put in a lot of effort to combat climate change, making the country the leading East African jurisdiction in terms of designing and implementing climate change mitigation measures.

One of Kenya’s agreements to a Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) is to reduce domestic greenhouse gas emissions by 30% in 2030 compared to a business-as-usual scenario at COP-21 in Paris in 2015. Currently, the country’s renewable energy which includes solar, wind, hydro, geothermal, and bioenergy is at 75% while non-renewable energy is at 26%.

This is a significant step toward achieving the NDC aim of decreasing global warming and carbon emissions, and it is hoped that the country would continue on its current path.

Nigeria is among the African countries to submit the NDC. The West African country’s total greenhouse gas emission from 2010 to 2018 is a total is estimated at 247 million tonnes of which the energy sector of the country contributes the highest to greenhouse gas emission with 36% as of 2018.

The goal of the country is to combat global warming and reduce its carbon footprint by eliminating kerosene lighting by 2032, greater uptake of bus rapid transit, 50% reduction in the fraction of crop residues burn by 2030, implementation of forest program and initiative to deliver 20% greenhouse emission reduction, among others.

Furthermore, through its NDC update, Nigeria aims to mainstream gender across all sectors, to this end, the country’s Federal Executive Council in 2020 approved the National Action on Gender and Climate.

Another African nation that is doubling down on its efforts is Angola. By 2025, Angola intends to cut GHG emissions by up to 14% compared to the baseline year (unconditionally). Agriculture and fisheries, coastal zone, Forest, ecosystem, and biodiversity water resources, human health, and infrastructures are among the six sectors covered by this NDC’s adaptation action.

These and many other nations in Africa have updated their NDCs in preparation for the COP26, demonstrating Africa’s commitment to lowering carbon emissions, combatting global warming, and developing strategies for climate change adaptation.

Is the continent still feeling the effects of climate change? Yes, absolutely. Due to the effect of climate change, the melting glaciers, recent floods in various regions of the continent, and drought, several countries are experiencing severe food shortages, the African leaders have their work cut out for them based on their NDC.

As the COP26 approaches and countries prepare to attend the summit, the summit will present an opportunity for African leaders to find solutions to their climate goals.

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