Strengthening national capacity to enhance reporting on climate action and building momentum towards the submission of first biennial transparency reports (BTR) were the objectives of the second Africa Dialogue on the Enhanced Transparency Framework (ETF). Held in September at Africa Climate Week 2023, the dialogue focused on the first BTRs, which will have to be submitted by all signatory countries to the Paris Agreement latest by the end of 2024. The BTRs are a key component of the ETF, demonstrating progress in implementation of the Paris Agreement.
The dialogue, organized under the #Together4Transparency initiative in the run-up to the UN Climate Conference (COP28) in Dubai, was hosted by UN Climate Change and the Initiative for Climate Action Transparency (ICAT), in collaboration with the Africa NDC Hub and UNDP.
Building international confidence
Welcoming African ministers and senior policymakers at the Africa ETF Dialogue, UN Climate Change Director Cecilia Kinuthia-Njenga emphasized how crucial high-level visioning is in generating the political momentum required to mobilize resources, achieve political buy-in and enhance transparency.
"Transparency is essential as the world gears towards a significant milestone: the submission of the first biennial transparency reports by the end of 2024. Transparency is not just about checks and balances; it is central to our commitment to climate action," she said.
ICAT Director Henning Wuester stressed that current progress on the Paris Agreement is off-track, urgently requiring heightened action to strengthen implementation. He emphasized the pivotal role transparency plays in climate change policy – from mobilizing finance through measurement, reporting and verification to building policy frameworks for implementing nationally determined contributions (NDCs, national climate action plans) at the country level. "Transparency builds international confidence and is crucial to ensure national implementation," said Wuester.
Since the Regional Transparency Dialogues’ inaugural session in Gabon last year, progress has been made in building capacity and strengthening national transparency frameworks. For instance, 11 new ICAT projects have been initiated in Africa.
Ministers, vice-ministers and high-level policy makers from Cabo Verde, Côte d’Ivoire, Mauritius, Mozambique, Nigeria, São Tomé and Príncipe, and Somalia participated in the high-level opening of the two-day dialogue, laying out their countries’ visions for the ETF process and highlighting the benefits and challenges of its implementation.
Boosting credibility and unlocking resources
Many participants pinpointed existing concerns, including insufficient financial resources, challenges in gathering and processing reliable data, and the lack of capacity and national expertise.
Regarding financial needs, participants emphasized that transparency does not just help to amplify the effectiveness of existing resources, it also signals to local and international financial institutions that national strategies and actions undergo rigorous monitoring and reporting, enhancing their credibility and increasing the potential for support. Transparency efforts can also help mobilize private sector resources for NDC implementation.
In this regard, the African Development Bank (AfDB) emphasized the importance of the ETF in helping member countries make informed investment decisions for low-emission and climate-resilient development. The AfDB invited participants to join the Bank’s initiatives, such as the Climate Change and Green Growth Strategic Framework or the Africa Climate Risk Insurance Facility.
Participants also highlighted the importance of assessing the greenhouse gas impact of policies and measures when updating NDCs and designing new policies, as a strong policy basis can help guide investment decisions for the required transition.
The Africa ETF Dialogue also brought together representatives from civil society. Young people called on governments to allow more active and meaningful participation in climate action planning and implementation, while media requested more training and access to climate data and other reliable sources of information.
On the margins, experts from different countries shared what transparency means to them: from being accountable for climate promises made under the Paris Agreement to being transparent towards support providers.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).