On the Road to COP27: Making Africa’s case in the global climate debate

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15 recommendations from the Ibrahim Governance Forum call on climate leaders to take urgent action to make Africa’s case ahead of COP27

Following the Ibrahim Governance Forum held on 25-27th May, the Mo Ibrahim Foundation releases the comprehensive 2022 Ibrahim Forum Report which now includes the main take aways and recommendations from the debates.

Download: 2022 Ibrahim Forum Report

Dakar and London, 12 July 2022 – The final 2022 Ibrahim Forum Report, ‘The Road to COP27: Making Africa’s Case in the Global Climate Debate’, outlines key facts and figures and 15 recommendations for how policymakers, climate leaders and African citizens can articulate Africa’s case in the global climate debate.

The Report draws on the Mo Ibrahim Foundation’s latest research, and on the essential arguments put forward during the 2022 Ibrahim Governance Forum debates between experts, policymakers and African youth over three days.

Commenting on the final 15 recommendations, Mo Ibrahim, Founder and Chair of the Mo Ibrahim Foundation, said: “It is clear that the current climate agenda is failing Africa. When over 600 million in Africa still lack access to electricity, equivalent to twice the total US population, we need to pause and think very hard.”

“With COP27 fast approaching, we must not repeat the mistake of overlooking Africa’s specificity, both negative and positive, in the assessment of challenges and choice of solutions. The recommendations put forward in this report offer a blueprint to reshape the climate debate, ensure it takes into account Africa’s specific context, and acknowledge Africa’s key role in global climate solutions.”

Bringing together latest and most relevant data as well as insights from leading climate and energy experts and practitioners, the 2022 Ibrahim Forum Report provides a comprehensive analysis of the specificity of Africa’s context in the global climate debate: how the climate crisis impacts in Africa intersect with pre-existing social and development issues; the challenge of balancing access to energy and climate protection; and last but not least, Africa’s key assets and potential role in a global low carbon future.

The report concludes with a set of recommendations issued from the Ibrahim Governance Forum debates to inform COP27 preparatory works and decisions, as well as any other global climate-related debates on the way to COP27 and beyond. By taking these recommendations on board, policymakers can ensure that going forward climate commitments take into account the continent’s specific context, including the Africa’s economic development path, and acknowledge the important role the continent can play globally.

Key recommendations include:

Take Africa’s specific climate vulnerabilities into account

Do not work in silos: address the interaction between climate, development and security challenges: Climate change has a major impact on pre-existing development and security issues. At the global level, debates and decision-making on development, climate change and conflict continue to take place in silos, missing opportunities to address how these challenges intersect.
Mitigation alone cannot address the scope of the problem: increase focus on adaptation and ‘loss and damage’ compensation: Mainly driven by the Global North, the current global climate debate has up to now focused on mitigation, mainly through achieving net-zero emissions. Adaptation measures have been deprioritised while no ad-hoc ‘loss and damage’ fund has been set up yet.
Invest in resilience to prevent loss and damage to lives, livelihoods and critical infrastructure: African countries need to set up clear adaptation investment plans, prioritising investments in early warning systems, disaster risk reduction and climate-resilient infrastructure. This includes stepping up data capacity.
Address Africa’s people’s right to energy access
Balance net-zero, energy access, and energy security: Global development goals cannot be achieved while over 600 million people still lacking access to energy in Africa, a number set to continue growing.
Consider gas as a key transitional fuel, to be developed in parallel with renewables: Renewables are already the main source of electricity for almost half of Africa, and carry great potential for expansion, but alone will be insufficient to address the continent’s energy gap. Gas, an abundant resource in Africa and the least polluting fossil fuel must be included to bridge the energy access gap on the continent.
Whether for gas or renewables, look beyond just production alone: Whether gas or renewables, production is just the first challenge. Storage, transport and distribution infrastructure, affordability, relevant market sizes, maintenance capacities must also be addressed to attract needed investments and tackle access challenge.
Clean cooking solutions are key to both climate and health goals: Replacing polluting cooking fuels such as firewood or charcoal with cleaner gas (LPG) or electricity is key from both a health and climate perspective. However, a transition clean cooking fuels must be a bottom-up process and take local contexts into account.
Highlight Africa’s potential in a global green economy
Raise awareness of Africa’s assets and Africa’s ability to be a key stakeholder of a global green economy – not just a victim of the climate crisis: Assess Africa’s huge potential wealth in green and sustainable economies. Build and leverage Africa’s collective bargaining power as a key sovereign owner of ecosystems and assets that are essential for a low-carbon future at global level.
Assess – and monetise – Africa’s carbon-sequestration potential: The continent is not only the lowest per capita carbon-emitter, but also home to key carbon sinks. African countries should be duly compensated for the preservation of these global assets, including with a price on carbon storage.
Avoid the ‘resource curse’: upgrade the value chain and put governance at the forefront: Move from exporting raw commodities to local processing, in order to upscale local business and employment. Define the relevant measures to avoid corruption, ecological disasters, human rights violations and resource-driven conflicts, and include them from the beginning in the management of Africa’s ecological and mineral assets
“You don’t get what you need or what you deserve, you get what you negotiate”
Define, present, and negotiate a Common African Position: Africa must be on par with other global actors at COP27. African leaders can define a common narrative for international negotiations, as Africa’s position cannot be reduced to one or two countries’ specific situations.
Re-build trust lost through previous summits: Africa’s partners should implement pledges that have already been made at previous summits before committing to new ones.
Emphasise responsibilities: The link between carbon emissions and the climate crisis should be recognised and monetised. Adaptation and loss and damage mechanisms should be fully implemented so that the biggest emitters take relevant responsibility for the climate crisis.
Adopt a wide range of integrated and innovative financial solutions: Address the link between climate and debt and increase the mobilisation of Africa’s domestic resources, leveraging pension and sovereign funds and strengthening tax systems.
Humanise the climate debate: The climate debate should highlight the impact on people’s daily lives and livelihoods. “Climate literacy” should be developed. Local contexts and solutions should be leveraged.