ECA Urges IPCC Findings to Support Africa’s Quest for Structural Transformation

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The Economic Commission for Africa’s Director for the Special Initiatives Division(SID), Fatima Denton, says recommendations of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), in their Sixth Assessment Report (AR6), should support African countries in their developmental trajectories.

Addressing the IPCC’s Expert Meeting on Mitigation, Sustainability and Climate Stabilization Scenarios that ended recently in Addis Ababa, Ms. Denton said it was also important for the panel to find ways of threading sustainable development and climate action, particularly mitigation, in the same needle to leverage climate action.

“Many of our countries in Africa are striving towards achieving the sustainable goals and climate change is one of the greatest threat to achieving sustainable development,” the SID Director told the experts meeting ahead of IPCC’S scoping meeting that begins in Addis Ababa from 1-5 May 2017 to draft the outline of the Sixth Assessment Report.

The meeting is bringing together 200 experts from some 60 countries.

Ms. Denton said IPCC’s deliberations should also address the development challenges facing the majority of its 195 member states.

“The challenges of achieving sustainable development will increase as the magnitude of climate change increases. For instance, effects of climate change on key ecological resources and systems can jeopardize sustainable development in systems closely dependent on natural capital,” she said.

Ms. Denton said it was also important that IPCC recommendations support the planning imperative in developing countries, adding greening African cities is an opportunity to leapfrog the industrialization process.

“Governments want to know how to arrive at sustainable cities, especially knowing that cities are generating 70 percent of carbon emissions,” said Ms. Denton.

“I trust that your findings will find both relevance and a receptive audience in countries struggling with problems related to energy poverty and under-consumption yet want to genuinely make climate change action a priority but do not want to do so at the expense of their development priorities.”

The IPCC’s AR6 is due to be completed in the first half of 2022. The scoping meeting in Addis Ababa will draft the outline and indicative coverage of the contents of the three Working Group contributions to the report, which will be released in 2021, for consideration by the IPCC when it next meets in September.

A further scoping meeting is planned for November 2018 to draft the outline of the Synthesis Report, which will integrate the three Working Group contributions and the three Special Reports that are being prepared in this assessment cycle.

“With this meeting we are taking a decisive step to advance the work plan of the IPCC. During the AR6 cycle we will see one or more policy-relevant reports released almost every year from 2018 until 2022.” said Hoesung Lee, Chair of the IPCC.

AR6 will assess scientific findings that have been published since IPCC’s last comprehensive report, the Fifth Assessment Report (AR5), which was completed in 2014. AR5 provided crucial input into the Paris Agreement on climate change adopted in December 2015. The AR5 report findings pointed to the fact that the world has the means to limit global warming and build a more prosperous and sustainable future, but pathways to limit warming to 2ºC relative to pre-industrial levels would require substantial emissions reductions over the next few decades.

Prior to the scoping meeting, IPCC Bureau members and authors will present the findings and activities of the Panel in workshops for policymakers, academia, media and students as part of a two-day outreach event this weekend (29-30 April) which was organized by the ECA’s African Climate Policy Centre.

The IPCC’s Working Group One deals with “The Physical Science Basis of Climate Change”, Working Group 2 with “Climate Change Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability” and Working Group 3 deals with “Mitigation of Climate Change”.

IPCC is a UN body that assesses science related to climate change to provide policymakers with regular scientific assessments concerning climate change, its implications and risks, as well as recommend adaptation and mitigation strategies.

Its assessments provide governments, at all levels, with scientific information that they can use to develop climate policies.

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