Local Governments at the forefront in the fight against climate change in Africa

More than 200 mayors and local government leaders from at least 36 countries in the Sub-Saharan Africa are in Accra, Ghana for the Conference of the Covenant of Mayors in Sub-Saharan Africa (CoM SSA).

The conference, convened under the theme, “Towards the institutionalization of Local Climate Action and Access to Finance,” is part of the Climate Chance Summit, Africa 2019.

Ghana’s Minister of Local Government and Rural Development Hajia Alima Mahama was expected to open the conference at Accra International Conference Centre.

The recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report on global warming confirms unequivocally that the implementation of the current Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) will not be sufficient to limit global warming to 1.5 °C. Sub-national actors are key to bridging the gap between national climate targets and the concrete action required on the ground.

The Covenant of Mayors for Sub-Sahara Africa (CoM SSA) is an EU funded initiative that supports Sub-Saharan cities and municipalities to develop and implement sustainable climate and energy actions.

This year, the CoM SSA is the headline initiative featured at the Climate Chance Summit Africa 2019.

CoM SSA is the regional chapter of the Global Covenant of Mayors, the largest coalition of cities committed to local climate and energy action.

“The direct link that we (mayors) have with our citizens and the impact cities can have on people’s daily lives make it one of the most relevant levels of action to fight climate change,”  said Mohammed Adjei Sowah, the Mayor of Accra.

Launched in 2015 at the COP21, the CoM SSA is an initiative shaped by local governments to reflect the importance of climate and energy action at local level while highlighting the context and specificities of the Sub-Saharan region.

More than 200 municipalities from 36 Sub-Saharan countries have made the political commitment to join the initiative and develop a long-term vision to tackle access to energy, climate mitigation and climate adaptation.

The Conference of CoM SSA on 16 October will showcase key achievements and outcomes as well as provide lessons learnt from the cities engaged in the initiative over the last four years.

From the 750 cities and municipality staff trained in the mapping of climate financing mechanisms accessible to local governments, the network of implementing partners, led by the Council of European Municipalities and Regions, will share its key results.

The partner organizations include: ADEME, ADENE, Association Internationale des Maires Francophones, Enda Energie, Energy Cities, Climate Alliance, ICLEI Africa, ICLEI World Secretariat and UCLG Africa.

Adjei Sowah, Ambassador of the Global Covenant of Mayors and Mayor of Accra, has been recognized, along with Accra, amongst the 2019 ‘World’s Seven Best Climate Projects’ for its Informal Waste Collection Expansion project.

“Accra is committed to continuing its urgent action on climate change and being a proactive player in partnering with local and international partners to implement bold local initiatives that impact globally,” Sowah said.