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Climate Change in Africa

A race against time

We live in a complicated interconnected world, on a continent experiencing considerable economic, social and environmental challenges. Among the most significant of the environmental challenges is climate change.  In Africa, climate change threatens to derail the significant development gains that have been made over the last decades; climate change also threatens future growth and development.

09 Jan 2018

How concessional climate finance can unleash the potential of the private sector to fight deforestation and forest degradation in Africa

Often over the past few years, I’ve come across fellow colleagues working as investment officers who view concessional climate finance as a pure co-financing instrument that can quickly and effectively cover a funding gap in any given project. They fail to understand that if structured in such a simple way, the full potential of concessionality to drive private investment in under-invested sectors will not be met. Concessional Finance can be instrumental in, for instance, crowding-in commercial investors, addressing information asymmetries, market and institutional failures and...
03 Jan 2018

A truly global response to climate change

Securing a smooth transition to low-carbon and climate-smart development will require effective global partnerships that mobilize funding and track its impact around the world. That is where the world’s multilateral development institutions come in. Climate action is not just about controlling global temperatures. It can also be a driver of development and poverty reduction all over the world. At the COP 23 Climate Conference in Bonn, Germany, in November, multilateral development institutions showed themselves to be more committed than ever to the urgent and central issue of...
18 Dec 2017

Is climate diplomacy holding its promises with the Paris Agreement, especially for Africa?

Climate diplomacy is the process of advocating for actions to respond to climate change in diplomatic dialogues, public diplomacy, and policy instruments, and of contributing to public awareness about climate actions needed to effect change. What role does climate diplomacy play in ensuring effective climate actions around the globe? From my perspective, it remains clear that countries’ implementation of climate actions on the ground cannot be achieved without multilateral climate diplomacy. This is despite the challenges encountered by diplomacy in climate change negotiations over the...
14 Nov 2017

The Paris Agreement is a marathon, not a sprint

The challenge of the Paris Agreement is “to achieve a balance between anthropogenic emissions by sources and removals by sinks of greenhouse gases in the second half of this century”. It’s a 50-year marathon, made up of successive five-year sprints, and we need to approach it as such. In the rush to create the Paris Agreement and submit their Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs), Parties have understandably focused on the five-year event and overlooked the fact that the next five-year event is to be harder, and the one after that harder still. It is not sensible to embark...
11 Nov 2017

A balancing act: implementing climate change commitments while striving to end poverty!

Sometimes as a quick-fix solution to ending poverty, the world’s poor countries including Least Developing Countries (LDCs) resort to cheap but unsustainable exploitation of natural resources: develop now and clean up later! This approach may have been used by developed nations years ago, but times have changed. Today, climate impacts have become more alarmingly urgent, and at the same time climate-smart solutions are becoming more viable and affordable. It would be simplistic bordering on fatalism to adopt yesteryear’s solutions to 21st century development challenges.   In the...
07 Nov 2017

The role of carbon markets in the Paris Agreement

In the run-up to 2015’s historic COP21, there was a lot of debate about the role carbon markets should play in the final negotiated Paris Agreement.  Many, myself included, called for inclusion of carbon trading; and I recall a general sigh of relief when Article 6 of the Agreement was accepted, seemingly creating space for a new carbon market mechanism (Article 6.4) and transfer of International Mitigation Outcomes (ITMOs) (Article 6.2). However, as the dust settled and the full implications of the Agreement started to become clear, I began to doubt the efficacy of carbon markets...
03 Nov 2017

Green Climate Fund + Climate Investment Funds = Global Finance Architecture

In 2008, as the urgency of global support for climate-smart development became increasingly apparent, donor and recipient countries established the Climate Investment Funds (CIF) through the multilateral development banks as a transitory financial mechanism to help provide an interim climate source of funding, pending the effectiveness of a new multilateral climate finance facility developed under the guidance of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). This multilateral climate finance facility, now operationalized, is today known as the Green Climate Fund (GCF)...
12 Apr 2017

Public and private sector investment in adaptation

The imbalance in investment in adaptation and mitigation is both well documented and logical. The Multilateral Development Banks, for example, report that 80% of climate finance is tagged as mitigation whilst only 20% is adaptation, and that comes from institutions whose mandate is development. For the private sector, there is no obvious or easy return for investing in technologies that improve public health or air quality, or provide long term flood defenses or irrigation services to subsistence farmers. These are public goods that are traditionally provided by public funds. However, for a...
12 Apr 2017

Why is the Adaptation Benefit Mechanism a non-market mechanism?

Article 6 of the Paris Agreement makes provision for the development of both market and non-market mechanisms. While there is no formal definition of a market and a non-market mechanism, one may suppose that market and non-market mechanisms could share a common basis of how to methodologically determine baselines and estimate climate outcomes. The verification process could also be similar. The key difference could be that non-market mechanisms do not result in universal and internationally tradable units that could be re-sold and be subject to market price fluctuations and speculation. It...