Paris Climate Conference/“Climate challenge and African solutions” summit
In order to help reaching an ambitious agreement at COP21, the President of the French Republic organized a meeting on 1 December to support African solutions addressing the climate challenge in the Sahel region, in the presence of Ban Ki-moon, the Secretary-General of the United Nations.
It gave the opportunity to 14 African heads of state and government to present concrete initiatives and to get financial support from other states and development banks that attended the meeting, in order to implement these initiatives. About 20 delegations were represented.
This meeting is a response to a request addressed by Mr Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz, the President of Mauritania, Mr Idriss Déby, the President of Chad, Mr Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta, the President of the Republic of Mali, and Mr Mahamadou Issoufou, the President of the Republic of Niger.
The projects are:
• The right for all Africans to have access to electricity,
• The Great Green Wall project supported by the Pan African Great Green Wall Agency currently chaired by Mauritania,
• Enhancement of the Niger River Basin, and preservation of Lake Chad.
Africa is the continent that contributes the least to global greenhouse gas emissions, but it is very much affected by the effects of climate change, which represents a real and tangible threat in the daily lives of African people.
Ségolène Royal, head of the French delegation, had prepared this meeting during her tour in Africa last summer to meet with many African heads of state and government and visit emblematic sites, on the issue of solutions to the climate challenge.
France announced its intention to allocate €2 billion towards the development of renewable energy in Africa by 2020. France thus supports Africa to draw the world’s attention to the fight against desert encroachment in Africa (Sahel, Namib, Kalahari) and to the solutions that Africa has developed to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to the effects of climate change.
The Great Green Wall is a large wall of trees from East to West of the African continent as a means to curb desertification. The project shows that mitigating emissions and adapting to climate change are closely related. The Great Green Wall will allow local populations to enrich the soil, preserve water resources, and improve the quality of their lives, while it will also provide a carbon sink.
The preservation and enhancement of Lake Chad and Niger River Basin mainly involve helping the communities who live there and make a living from the lake and the basin. Not only does this environmental decision help fight against desertification and food insecurity, but it is also an economic development opportunity for populations threatened by the rise of terrorism in this region occupied by Boko Haram.
Access to renewable energy will reduce deforestation. It will provide households, even the most isolated ones, with energy for domestic cooking, heating and lighting. It will allow businesses, hospitals, schools, and universities to operate. Promoting green energy is an absolute priority on a continent where 600 million people still have no access to electricity. Mr al-Sissi, the President of Egypt, presented the initiative adopted by the African Union in Johannesburg to mobilize Africa’s potential for renewable energy.
The World Bank has committed a total of $16 billion by 2020. It will support concrete initiatives such as promoting climate-smart farming practices, and developing programmes to fight coastal erosion and programmes to provide financial support to meteorological services./.