This is an extract from a recent WWF report titled “Africa NDCs: Recommendations for Decision-Makers”. This particular section gives recommendations for green recovery in the African context.
Africa also has the potential to leapfrog traditional, expensive energy systems and move to a climate-smart and renewable energy future. The submission of revised National Determined Contributions (NDCs) ahead of COP26 is an opportunity to signal ambition and inform the international community of the priorities for finance, capacity building and technology transfer needs in the region. The international community should stand ready to support action through many programmes and instruments and this support will be most effective when aligned with country priorities. NDCs provide a vehicle for African countries to set out expectations for transformative ambition where this support is forthcoming.
In an effort to foster NDC enhancement, WWF has developed the NDC Checklist to benchmark updated NDCs submitted in 2020/21 against five areas: i) ambition (in mitigation, adaptation and finance), ii) fostering systemic change, iii) inclusiveness and participation in the NDC design process, iv) contribution to sustainable development, and v) systems for tracking progress. In this report WWF adds a sixth criteria to consider efforts for a green recovery. Using the Checklist enables WWF to hold countries accountable and to shine a light on the main advances and challenges towards implementation of the Paris Agreement. The checklist is also used to open conversations with governments on how to improve NDCs – to lay foundations for a proper long-term response to the climate crisis. As of 12 September 2021, twenty countries in Africa have submitted new or updated NDCs.
As with other regions, there is an opportunity in Africa to implement measures that contribute to recovery from the impacts of COVID-19, while strengthening social and economic development and protecting nature. In line with this, ministers from countries across the Sahel region have called for further investment in the Great Green Wall – a 8000km green belt – to aid recovery from COVID-19. Rwanda committed to a green recovery on World Environment Day 2020, but concrete measures still need to be defined. Zambia’s Economic Recovery Programme (2020-2023) places importance on the agriculture sector, with a focus on transforming the sector by encouraging private sector participation and promotion of climate resilient agricultural practices.
Climate change aspects are not explicitly covered in the COVID-19 recovery plans in Kenya, which focuses on the four pillars of the President’s Big Four Agenda: manufacturing; affordable housing, universal health coverage and food security. Indeed, some measures such as the introduction of taxes on clean cooking and solar products could undermine climate action. In contrast, Senegal has exempted 22 different products used in renewable energy from VAT to boost green energy. Angola has been trying to diversify away from dependence on oil, but the impact of COVID-19 and a fall in the price of oil have had a significant economic impact. In response, the Angolan government revoked a ban on oil and gas drilling in some nature preservation zones and announced an auction of nine onshore oil blocks.
Recommendations for governments to set the right conditions for green recovery by:
- Use NDCs and long-term strategies (LTS) to facilitate and incentivize early investment to maximize environmental and social benefits. This can be done by, for example, unconditionally and conditionally pledging to increase the use of renewable and off-grid energy solutions to improve energy access and developing cities to provide safe, resilient and sustainable living places for the growing population.
- Focusing NDC implementation on investing in resilient infrastructure and food and water security to address climate change and reduce inequality and vulnerability of populations.
- Actions to diversify the economy away from fossil fuels, including by phasing out subsidies and inefficient taxes, need to continue and be stepped up wherever possible, and ambitious unconditional and conditional fossil fuel pledges should be updated in NDCs when needed.
- Recovery spending should focus on creation of green jobs in renewable energy, conservation and sustainable tourism, supporting NDC implementation alongside supporting the SDGs.
- Stopping habitat destruction such as deforestation, ensuring the rights and livelihoods of local indigenous territories and empowering indigenous peoples with land and water-use rights.
- Including climate pledges in NDCs which generate opportunities through restoring ecosystems and developing the sustainable use of natural resources, including nature-based solutions such as conservation and recovery of mangroves or increasing community-managed forest areas (where appropriate) to address social and economic issues.
The complete paper can be accessed here