Across the globe, nations have kick-started a new development agenda aimed at ending poverty and reducing risks linked with climate change, pollution and over-exploitation of our natural environment.
This journey to a more prosperous and resilient future has been forged through two powerful and mutually re-enforcing pathways – the Paris Climate Change Agreement (COP21) and the 2015 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The prospects for success are high, since the involvement of all stakeholders is strong. Countries large and small participated in the negotiation processes for these agreements. The Paris Agreement includes input from 195 countries, with each submitting an Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) plan.
Many non-state actors – including cities, regions and provinces, businesses and investors – have joined in through individual commitments or cooperative initiatives. Some 12,000 commitments and 77 collaborative initiatives have been registered on a UN-led platform so far.
Morocco’s environment minister Hakima El Haite and French climate ambassador Laurence Tubiana have also set out the Global Climate Action Agenda to boost cooperative action between governments and non-state actors in order to catalyse early and effective implementation of the Paris Agreement.
However, the work is just starting. Many challenges lie ahead.
The pledges made will not limit global warming to 2°C. The consequences of warming above this level will be dire for agriculture, water supplies and vulnerable populations.
Governments need to raise their INDCs and make concrete, realistic plans to back up their pledges.
Countries need to translate these goals into investable programmes through greater access to finance, appropriate policy frameworks and better project planning. The involvement of non-state actors could be further strengthened especially on investments, capacity building and technology transfer.
Africa is at the dawn of a period of unprecedented demographic and economic development. As outlined by the Africa Progress Panel, the continent has the opportunity to choose a model for its industrialisation.
A ‘green growth’ model would draw on the region’s vast renewable resource potential, and would give it an advantage on global markets. Similarly, the African Development Bank’s report on green growth highlights that this transition can contribute to creating higher quality growth that is both more resilient and more inclusive.
Africa’s biggest opportunities lie in energy, city planning and urban mobility, as well as agriculture and land use, all sectors facing major choices for their development. The region’s green growth potential can be tapped by:
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