At this meeting, climate negotiators from East Africa reflected on the major impacts of climate change in their countries, and how their consequences are addressed by current adaptation strategies such as their National Adaptation Plans, National Adaptation Programmes of Action and Nationally Determined contributions. Based on data, statistics and interviews they reviewed top sectorial climate challenges faced in the region, and considered the effectiveness of current stakeholder participation mechanisms in the context of these strategies.
The meeting was based on an issue note developed by CUTS team in Geneva, as well as Country Update Notes received from country partners that gave an overview of the adaptation strategy’s state of implementation in the EAC countries, through interview of various public stakeholders (i.e. government and research institutions), as well as private stakeholders (i.e. farmers and agro-processors). The notes are reflecting their needs to be able to coherently adapt to climate change; their views on the National Adaptation Plan (NAP) and Nationally Determinated Contribution (NDC) of those countries, focusing on the relevancy and inclusivity of those plans of action; as well as what should be included in the government strategy when revising those plans, to be able to address their climate adaptation challenges.
What is at stake in the region ?
According to interviews, alongside desk research (i.e. analysis of adaptation strategies in place), many sectors are affected by climate change in the region, however three of them seem to appear consistently: (i) Agriculture, which represents the backbone of East African economies and is unfortunately concerned with numerous direct impacts of climate change (decrease in rainfall, increase in rainwater acidification and extreme weather events such as drought and floods that affect water quality, etc.) on its production and trading patterns; (ii) Energy, which is affected in terms of power generation and transfer, because of variations in rainfall and evaporation as well as infrastructures’ destruction; and (iii) Tourism, since its high potential of EAC Countries is mostly linked to their unique biodiversity, which seems to be widely affected by climate change consequences.
It was noticed in the different notes that EAC countries’ governments and public stakeholders are clearly aware of most important sectorial challenges they have to face when dealing with climate change. Indeed, a sectorial approach mentioning the above sectors was/is most of the time used to develop adaptation strategies/policies, such as the National Adaptation Programmes of Action (NAPA), the NAPs and NDCs.
Concerning the status of implementation of the adaptation strategies, it differs in different countries, with different projects already implemented and successful in some countries. However, they seem to face two main constraints: (i) the lack of coherent, specialized and contextualized data; and (ii) the lack of sufficient financial resources.
This is in conflict with a need expressed by one of the negotiator, pointing out that more information is needed from countries on available lessons and approaches on how to measure adaptation to climate risks and how gender issues have been addressed in the implementation of adaptation strategies in the region.
Some climate negotiators involved in this forum seem to have different, more precise views on the policies/strategies in place, as well as the lead implementing institutions. This raises the concerns of coherent communication with relevant public and private stakeholders, as well as inclusivity of the process.
One negotiator explained that concerning the NDC, as it was developed quite rapidly, it now takes timee to spread the information to the concerned technical and financial partners, as well as the overall public.
Three challenges should be considered to provide more inclusion in the adaptation strategy implementation/revision/development: (i) Improve/widen inclusivity of consultation processes, avoiding traditional technocratic practices, which could often imply gaps/isolation between decision centers and communities concerned; (ii) Develop information sharing and education on this topic. Indeed, it was made clear that some groups of stakeholders lacked sufficient knowledge on the contents of the NAP/NDC and other related documents to be able to determine their needs and how they can benefit from those strategies/plans; and (iii) Address some methodological constraints on how consultations are conducted. It seems that workshops and meetings organizations are not always relevant and do not provide consulted stakeholders with good conditions to participate to the discussions (timing, place of the workshop, share of preliminary documents, etc.)
While the notes have provided a wide range of achievements and priorities regarding adaptation strategies in East Africa. It was suggested by one of the negotiators to also strengthen discussions on what are the current developments at country level to strengthen agriculture in the implementation of national adaptation strategies (especially measures taken to increase access to technology transfer, capacity building, gender equity and resource mobilisation to reduce vulnerability).
CUTS support was requested to enable identification of country level experiences and documents, East African Community’s collective views and priorities, that inform regional planing but most importantly inform global processes such as the ongoing discussions relating to the UNFCCC - COP 23 Koronivia Decision on joint work on agriculture. That could be done through future climate change negotiators’ forums, as well as an on-demand research study.
CUTS remains in direct contact with some negotiators to make sure that they will receive relevant support before the next UNFCCC COP, keeping in mind the financial and timing constraints.
The next forum will take place in September 2018, on the sidelines of the 3rd Regional Annual Meeting of the PACT EAC2 project. It will be a joint forum with their WTO counterparts. The topic has not yet been fixed.