New York / Addis Ababa, July 15, 2021 – In early March 2021, the Seventh African Regional Forum for Sustainable Development (ARFSD7) took place in Brazzaville, Congo under the theme of ‘Build better: Towards a resilient and green Africa to achieve the 2030 Goals and Agenda 2063‘.
By the close of ARFSD7, it was clear that Africa had placed the green economy at the center of the continent’s responses to COVID-19 and economic recovery. ARFSD7 resulted in the consensus document on key messages and the Brazzavile Declaration as a conference outcome to be implemented by regional governments. Highlights of the Forum will also be presented to the United Nations High Level Political Forum in July.
The results of ARFSD7 plead in favor of prioritizing nature-based solutions to environmental and societal challenges. This is one of the main features of Africa Day at the HLPF, in recognition that climate change has a direct impact on Africa’s ability to achieve its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and aspirations of Agenda 2063.
Africa’s biodiversity riches, including the Cuvette Centrale peatlands in the central Congo Basin, the world’s largest tropical peatlands estimated to store the equivalent of three years of total global fossil fuel emissions, have been at the center of ARFSD7 discussions. The Brazzaville Declaration invited ‘development partners to mobilize the necessary financing for the operationalization of the Blue Fund for the Congo Basin, in order to support the member countries of the Congo Basin Climate Commission in reconciling the fight against climate change and economic development. ‘
The Blue Congo Basin Fund, which promotes the “blue economy” in the Congo Basin, is an innovative financial mechanism put forward by the 16 countries of the Central African Basin to facilitate a sustainable water-based economy, improve sequestration of carbon and reduce deforestation. ‘.
Three months after the Brazzaville declaration, Gabon became the first African country to be paid to reduce carbon emissions by protecting its rainforest. intensive protection of forests. This development has captured the heart of the Brazzaville Declaration, which called for all “African countries to redefine and develop economic models integrating the protection of natural resources, the promotion of renewable energies, the development of green and resilient infrastructure and inclusive digitization.‘
Similarly anchored in the strengthening of African solutions based on nature as is the case with the Climate Commission for the Congo Basin are the Climate Commission for the Sahel Region (CCSR), the Climate Commission for Island States and the ‘Oceans Economy (CCISOE), (ClimDev-Africa), African Adaptation Initiative and African Renewable Energy Initiative (AREI). The AU, ECA and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) have worked together to ensure that these nature-based initiatives are inclusive. This joint coordination of synergies also refines the African Green Stimulation Program (AGSP) and the African Strategy on Climate Change 2020-2030 support ambition and promote the implementation of the SDGs, amplify the achievement of Agenda 2063 and strengthen climate action.
Beyond land resources, ARFSD7 was comprehensive as it also mapped mangrove cover and seagrass habitats in Africa, recognizing marine resources as vital carbon sinks and essential buffers to prevent coastal erosion. . The seagrass and mangroves that cover more than 3.2 million hectares of the continent have proven their ability to absorb up to three to five times more carbon than tropical forests.
‘Carbon offsets offer Africa the opportunity to harness the value of its natural assets by taking into account carbon sequestration values in accordance with the principles of Article Six of the Paris Agreement.‘The CEA Advancing the report on green recovery in Africa which was launched alongside the ARFSD7 notes. ‘Carbon trade deals have already been concluded in Africa, with some success. The lack of global oversight, the relatively low cost of carbon, and the limited capacity of African financial markets, however, remained obstacles to this becoming a meaningful financing opportunity for Africa.‘
Gabon’s forest revenues underscore the need to integrate carbon credits into Africa’s economic planning. It is also part of the central objective of Africa Day, which is “share good practices and lessons learned from the efforts of African countries in the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the priorities of Agenda 2063. ‘
In the same vein, there are other notable examples like South Africa and Kenya which have initiated their respective Rhino obligations. Others include the Congo Blue Bonds, the Great Green Wall of the Sahel, the adoption of solar power by Morocco and Egypt, and Ethiopia’s Green Legacy initiatives.
Seychelles pioneered the nature-based solution as a financial instrument in 2018 with its Blue Economy-to-Nature debt swap, a world’s first sovereign bond.
Gabon and Seychelles are amplifying Africa’s just transition and climate action implementation through nature-based solutions. They also encouraged the adoption of newer and sustainable funding models to complement the conservation of fragile ecosystems and species at risk. These included Climatic exchanges and Blue bonds,Payment for ecosystem services (PSE) and Conservation Trust Funds (CTF).
It is noteworthy that nature-based solutions have crystallized as a pillar of the ministerial parliament of Africa Day whose theme is “The Green Recovery: Renewable Energy, Digitization and Nature-Based Solutions for Inclusion and Resilience in Africa ”.
The high point of Africa Day is the presentation of these concerted nature-based solutions as real business models. Africa Day at HLPF is a joint initiative of the Office of the United Nations Special Adviser on Africa (OSAA), ECA, the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and the Commission on African Union (AUC).
Economic Commission for Africa
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UNECA – United Nations Economic Commission for Africa published this content on July 15, 2021 and is solely responsible for the information it contains. Distributed by Public, unedited and unmodified, on July 15, 2021 04:52:03 AM UTC.