Political challenges

As climate change is an undeniable global issue that spares no country, it requires a collective, united response to deal with it. This realization has pushed the issue of climate change to the forefront of international policy, requiring the implementation of a multilateral process.  The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change ( CCNUCC ) was adopted within this framework at the Rio Earth Summit in 1992.

The 21st Conference of the Parties of this framework convention (COP21), held in Paris in December 2015, saw the creation of the Paris Agreement, the first universal agreement on the struggle against climate change: 195 countries committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and to improving adaptation measures in order to keep the global temperature rise to well below 2°C. Unfortunately, the recent announcement made by the current President of the United States, Donald Trump, regarding the U.S.’s withdrawal from the Agreement, has dampened the universality of this hitherto unprecedented Agreement.

 What is climate change ?

To meet the climate change commitments that the states made, they must set up legislative and institutional frameworks providing for the definition and implementation of public policies aimed at adapting to climate change and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Since there must be a realization and willingness to act at all levels, the public policy tools used must be participatory and inclusive in order to foster close cooperation between national governments, local authorities, civil society, the private sector and the scientific community.

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Local authorities, in particular, have a major role to play in meeting national objectives. As they produce 80% of global CO2 emissions and consume 75% of the world’s energy, cities are key stakeholders in initiatives to be deployed, and the states will undeniably have to work with them to reach the goals they set at the COP 21.

As a capacity building project, Africa4Climate put everything into place to help the four partner nations improve their skills and governance in the development and operationalization of climate change-related public policies. The goal was to enable national and local authorities to take part in the efforts required to meet state and global commitments.  The project also sought to keep encouraging participatory processes on the development and implementation of public policies and to integrate inclusive dimensions so that the entire population, especially those most at risk such as women, could benefit from these policies.

Solidarity between countries is another issue that is essential to waging an effective fight against climate change and to finding response elements adapted to its predictable impacts, especially in the most underdeveloped nations, which are also the most vulnerable. African countries are determined to implement the Paris Agreement, but sometimes lack the technical and financial capacities to succeed in fulfilling their ambitions. That is why the international coalition and, especially developed states who are the main emitters with the greatest financial wealth, must actively participate in the capacity building of the most vulnerable nations and help them develop the tools they need to adapt and move towards a low-carbon development path.