UPDATING AFRICAN NDCs IN TIMES OF COVID-19 - LOST MOMENTUM?
Olivia Rumble and Andrew Gilder, Climate Legal, South Africa
COVID-19 has important consequences for the full operationalisation of the Paris Agreement including the fundamentally important mechanism for increased domestic climate change ambition, namely the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) submitted by country Parties to the Agreement. Every effort should be made to maintain the progress that has been achieved in framing national mitigation and adaptation efforts as NDCs, since the Paris Agreement was concluded.
Review and updating of African NDCs is at risk including from lack of finances and pandemic restrictions and connectivity challenges which hamper the required specialist input and stakeholder engagement processes. These issues are particularly acute in African Least Developed Countries (LDCs). Despite these factors, the African continent has considerable global strategic value and influence and increases in African climate change ambition, as expressed in NDCs, will likely have cross pollinating effects on other developing countries.
The following illustrative approaches might be applied to overcoming the above-mentioned hurdles to African NDC development:
- use of developed country Party delegation country-offices and their internet connectivity to facilitate meetings on host country NDCs between local players, including the public and private sectors, civil society and specialist advisors;
- development of awareness campaigns of the NDC review process;
- support for public gatherings that conform to local pandemic requirements and outdoor venues, and similar actions tailored to local requirements.
Whilst seemingly inconsequential in scale, these types of actions of support can have far reaching implications for LDC governments and the wider public. Unquestionably, climate finance also continues to play a dominant role in the region’s NDC review process and in this context, developed countries should be particularly attuned to ensuring that outgoing financial support for their review and implementation remains forthcoming.