African Carbon Markets initiative puts continent on track to achieve climate goals: Mohieldin

Ahram Online , Tuesday 21 Feb 2023

Mahmoud Mohieldin, the UN Climate Change High Level Champion for Egypt, has stressed that the success of the African Carbon Markets initiative would put the continent on track to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including the climate ones.

Mahmoud Mohieldin
UN Climate Change High Level Champion for Egypt and UN Special Envoy on Financing 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda Mahmoud Mohieldin. AP


This came during his participation in the session titled "African Carbon Markets: A New Era of Growth" at the Africa Business Forum 2023 on Monday, in the presence of Lazarus Chakwera, president of Malawi; José María Neves, president of Cape Verde; Emmerson Mnangagwa, president of Zimbabwe; and a number of heads of African organisations and banks.

Mohieldin, who is also the UN special envoy on financing 2030 sustainable development agenda, said that carbon markets are one of the innovative and sustainable solutions to the climate and development finance crisis in Africa, praising the remarkable progress achieved by the initiative and the official attention it receives.

He also praised the involvement of a number of sponsors and companies in the implementation of the initiative, setting criteria for its activation and determining the prices of carbon credits that suit Africa's needs to finance its climate and development action.

According to Mohieldin, Africa has always been a victim of a reductive approach that separates climate action and development, stressing the importance of Egypt’s call during COP27 in Sharm El-Sheikh last year to adopt a holistic approach in dealing with climate change by paying equal attention to various dimensions of climate action, and integrating climate action as a whole with different SDGs.

Mohieldin reported that United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres stressed the importance of activating and accelerating development action in a way that achieves the sustainable development goals, including the goal of confronting climate change.

He added that this requires African countries to work upon this holistic approach that tightly links climate action with other sustainable development goals such as combatting poverty and unemployment, providing water and energy sources for all and conserving biodiversity.

Existing financing for climate action is insufficient, inefficient and unfair, he stressed, adding that overcoming these problems will be done by combining climate financing with financing development action.

Africa's efforts with regard to innovative financing and the creation of carbon markets must ultimately aim to provide adequate, effective and equitable financing to achieve development and climate goals, explained Mohieldin.

Financing solutions include developed countries fulfilling their pledge at the Copenhagen climate conference to finance climate action in developing countries worth $100 billion annually as a form of commitment, explaining that climate action in Africa needs ten times that amount annually, he noted.

The climate champion also stressed the need to reduce dependence on debt to finance climate action, as borrowing instruments represent 60 percent of climate financing worldwide and more than 80 percent of the tools of financing climate action in developing countries.

He also shed light on the importance of activating the mechanism of debt swap for co-investment in the environment and nature.

He stated that strengthening the role of the private sector in financing and implementing climate and development action would contribute to overcoming the financing crisis. There is also the need to deal with the phenomenon of green washing through the expert report issued during the Sharm El-Sheikh climate conference, which set out ten recommendations for the governance of environmental practices of companies.

Mohieldin highlighted the need to link the public budgets of countries to climate and development action, especially in developing countries, with the importance of cooperation at the regional level among African countries to implement initiatives and projects that push climate and development action forward in the continent, such as the African Carbon Markets initiative.

This year’s COP28 conference in the UAE, Mohieldin noted, will build on the significant results of COP27 regarding the files of climate finance, losses and damages, just transition, adapting to the negative impacts of climate change and mitigating emissions.

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