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African Union Climate Change and Resilient Development Framework and Action Plan

Africa is one of the most vulnerable regions to the impacts of climate change. Climate change in Africa poses an impediment to biodiversity protection, food and water security, and economic growth. As such, the African Union realises that the realization of Africa’s Agenda 2063 is not possible without proactive collective continental efforts aimed at addressing the impacts and encumbrances of climate change. In June 2022, the African Union released the Climate Change and Resilient Development Framework and Action Plan (2022-2023) which is designed as a key instrumental in unlocking “Africa’s potential in building climate resilient communities and economies”.
The goal of this action plan is to provide a continental framework for collective action and enhanced cooperation in addressing climate change issues that improves livelihoods and well-being, promotes adaptation capacity, and achieves low-emission, sustainable economic growth. The Action Plan outlines the following objectives: 1) Strengthening the adaptive capacity of affected communities and managing the risks related to climate change. 2) Pursuing equitable and transformative low-emission, climate-resilient development pathways. 3) Enhancing Africa’s capacity to mobilise resources and improve access to and development of technology for ambitious climate action 4) Enhancing inclusion, alignment, cooperation, and ownership of climate strategies, policies, programmes, and plans across all spheres of government and stakeholder groupings.

The Africa Climate Change Strategy and Action Plan is guided by the following fundamental principles that drive the African Union and Member States’ work across all sectors: 1) People must benefit from the transition to a low-emission and resilient future. They are at the centre of climate action and need support to manage the transition and changes that accompany climate-focused policies. 2) Healthy ecosystems are critical to addressing climate change in Africa. Conserving and restoring biodiversity and ecosystem services can contribute significantly to both mitigation and adaptation, while simultaneously producing multiple socioeconomic co-benefits. 3) The alignment of existing development plans and existing national development priorities within fiscal budgetary planning processes should be guided by frameworks such as Agenda 2063, the SDGs and post-COVID recovery plans. 4) The Strategy must address issues related to equity and justice, given that climate change has the potential to exacerbate current inequality throughout the continent. 5) The Strategy reflects the need for ambitious climate action in line with the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities, in the light of different national circumstances. 6) The Strategy recognizes that vulnerabilities overlap in multiple ways (climate, gender, poverty, age groups, etc.) and supports comprehensive, integrated responses to resilience building. 7): The Strategy must continue to draw on the best available science, knowledge and practice within the international, regional and national context. This should be based on existing experiences, climate science and traditional knowledge and practices. 8) Built on the foundations of Agenda 2063, the continent must generate its own dynamic scientific, technological and entrepreneurial capability, and innovate new, predictable and sustainable sources of funding for its response to climate change that includes Africa’s social and cultural values and natural capital endowments. 9) The strategy calls for an integrated, cross sectoral and holistic manner throughout national and regional economic planning.

The strategic plan also identifies four strategic intervention axes for the strategy’s objectives of strengthening the continent’s adaptive capacity to manage climate-related risks, achieving an equitable, inclusive low-emissions development pathway, and expanding resource mobilisation and African-led technological development. These axes include: 1)Strengthening Policy and Governance, recognising the critical role that governance and institutions play in hindering or driving climate action. This axis focuses on enhanced institutional coordination, coordinated regional climate action, anticipatory governance, expanded climate information services, and climate literacy. 2) Adopting Pathways towards Transformative Climate-Resilient Development by identifying key sectors where adaptation and mitigation are critical and action areas for building resilience. The chosen sectors are critical given their sensitivity to climate change and their role in driving development; they include agriculture and land use, oceans, food systems, water systems, urban and transport systems, industry, and energy. 3) Enhancing the Means of Implementation towards Climate-Resilient, Low-Emission Development, including through Climate Finance and resource mobilisation, technology transfer and enhanced capacity building; and awareness creation and outreach 4) Leveraging regional flagship initiatives by promoting coordinated regional action and effective collaboration between a variety of stakeholders, including, inter alia, the AU, regional economic communities, non-state actors, and national governments.

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