The actions proposed in the roadmap were generated at a multi-stakeholder policy dialogue held in July 2023 in Nairobi, Kenya. This brought together 30 representatives from organizations at the forefront of dealing with transboundary climate risks in Africa, including Regional Economic Communities (RECs): the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), the East African Community (EAC) and the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA). They are also informed by world-leading experts on transboundary climate risk management, and an in-depth political economy analysis of the cooperation and integration mechanisms, policies and financing instruments of the African Union (AU) and the RECs (Opitz-Stapleton et al., 2023, forthcoming).
The actions proposed are neither exhaustive nor representative of the views of all relevant stakeholders. The process of producing the roadmap was necessarily limited in scope, and it should be considered an indicative guide that should be strengthened and improved over time.
The authors of the roadmap recommend that the African Union Commission (AUC) and key partners develop an implementation plan to realize the commitment to “Enhance coordination between the regional economic communities and Member States in addressing and managing transboundary and cascading climate risks”, as established in the African Union Climate Change and Resilient Development Strategy and Action Plan (2022-2032) (African Union, 2022).
Such an implementation plan would provide continuity with the Resumed Eighteenth Session of the African Ministerial Conference on the Environment (AMCEN) in September 2022 (Dakar, Senegal) where the Statement of the African Major Groups and Stakeholders recognized: “the importance of enabling African Member States to identify, manage and adapt to transboundary and cascading climate risks in line with Africa’s Climate Change and Resilient Development Strategy and Action Plan (2022-2032). We call for capacity-building measures on transboundary climate risk, support enhanced coordination between the regional economic communities and Member States in addressing such risks, and recommend stronger regional and global cooperation on adaptation to build resilience to the impacts of climate change.” (UNEP, 2022).
The announcement of such a plan would also increase visibility for this critical issue at an opportune moment during the September 2023 Africa Climate Summit and ahead of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Conference of the Parties (COP) in Dubai in December. It is imperative that transboundary and cascading climate risks are considered in the outcome text of COP28, and in the framework that will be negotiated in Dubai for the Global Goal on Adaptation. In short, 2023 is a key moment to signal African leadership on this topic, demonstrating how African RECs and governments are taking steps to manage and address transboundary and cascading climate risks, and to identify the financial and technical resources that are required.
This roadmap is envisioned as a potential guide for such an implementation plan: a first step in the development of longer-term partnerships to strengthen Africa’s resilience to transboundary and cascading climate risks.
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