New initiative will assist African governments to model, design and deliver low emission development

A new initiative will strengthen the capacity of African countries to plan and implement low emission, climate resilient development.

The Africa LEDS Planning, Modeling, and Implementation Initiative will support Cameroon, Democratic Republic of Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Kenya, Morocco, Mozambique, and Zambia to design and deliver low emission development strategies (LEDS).

The initiative is funded by the European Commission and managed by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) in partnership with the Africa LEDS Partnership and Mitigation Action Plans and Scenarios (MAPS) Africa. It aims to help countries define, build support for, and implement socially inclusive climate strategies. There will be a particular focus on strengthening local expertise to model and implement cross-sectoral LEDS. The initiative will also support countries in delivering their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) – which were a central part of the Paris climate agreement, forged in December 2015.

Dr Richard Munang, the Africa Regional Climate Change Coordinator at UNEP, said, ‘the Paris agreement provides the high level strategic policy framework that, through domestication, will ensure countries in Africa and across the globe can unlock opportunities for economically inclusive, environmentally sustainable, climate resilient growth. This project is a timely initiative towards unlocking these opportunities in the target countries and in providing lessons that will catalyze wider low emission, climate resilient development across the continent.’

As a region, Africa is experiencing huge economic growth, with several African countries consistently listed among the world’s top 10 fastest growing economies between 2005 and 2015. However, an expanding economy does not necessarily result in inclusive growth and socioeconomic development. Africa still faces challenges of persistent poverty, growing inequality, and low human development, challenges which will be greatly compounded by ecosystem degradation and climate change.

Recognizing this fact, there is enormous potential for structural transformation to accelerate development in Africa toward more inclusive, environmentally sustainable economies. Mapping the costs, benefits, and interlinkages of low emission development activities – as this initiative aims to do – will help achieve this goal.

The Africa LEDS Partnership – part of the Low Emission Development Strategies Global Partnership (LEDS GP) — will provide advisory support, coordinate an international technical team, and link technical experts with decision-makers. The Africa LEDS Partnership will also champion a regional component of the program through a series of peer learning forums in five African subregions that will present LEDS planning, modeling, and implementation lessons and good practices to a broader set of African countries.

The Africa LEDS Planning, Modeling, and Implementation Initiative emerged from a request to the LEDS GP’s Remote Expert Assistance on LEDS (REAL) technical assistance service from the Government of the Democratic Republic of Congo for support in modeling the costs, benefits, and interlinkages of LEDS activities. A 2014 meeting of the Africa LEDS Partnership in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) built momentum for the initiative and contributed to its design. Other countries, including Cameroon and Côte d’Ivoire, also noted significant demand for similar support.

Edward Awafo, who leads the Africa LEDS Partnership, says: ‘The Africa LEDS Partnership has built strong relationships with countries and institutions in the region working towards advancing climate resilient low emission development in Africa. The Africa LEDS Planning, Modeling, and Implementation Initiative team will harness these relationships to implement the project.’

‘As manager of the Africa LEDS Partnership secretariat, I am confident that it will provide the needed leadership that will see this project support African countries and strengthen their LEDS and NDCs, adapt and utilize suitable models to inform LEDS policy decisions, and evaluate and design climate resilient low emission development actions. The Africa LEDS Partnership is very hopeful that this project will be successfully implemented and the needed impact made.’


Image credit: Dana Smillie/ World Bank. Photo ID: DS-MA117 World Bank