This analysis reviews the effects of climate change in Africa, the
response measures undertaken in the continent and the expected
position of African countries at the meeting at Cancún,
Summary: The analysis first provides an overview of climate change impacts in
Africa. It begins with a brief review of general climate projections
for Africa, with their overall impacts. Later, it moves on to assess
specific climate impacts of the continent’s climate zones. The
paper uses a sample of African countries to provide specific details
of vulnerability in accordance with national circumstances. Secondly,
the analysis looks at the policies implemented so far, or foreseen,
in Africa, to respond to the climate threats previously reviewed. The
analytical framework proposed is in line with the approach followed
in the Bali Action Plan, which was established ahead of last year’s
Copenhagen summit. That is, it reviews measures undertaken to respond
to climate change in terms of mitigation actions, adaptation
responses, technology interventions and finance provisions. This
section briefly concludes with an overview of the contributions of
Spain and the EU to these measures, before and after Copenhagen.
Against this background, the third section of the analysis looks at
the negotiating position of Africa in the aftermath of COP-15.
Namely, it looks at the demands of the Africa Group and other
relevant alliances within the continent, for consideration in Cancún.
Main Consequences of Climate Impacts in Africa: Strategic Interests and
Science has become more unequivocal about global climate-related events. In
Africa, average annual temperatures have been rising steadily and
during the 20th century the continent saw increases of around 0.5°C.
Meanwhile, countries in the Nile Basin had an increase of around
0.2°C to 0.3°C per decade during the second half of the
century, while in Rwanda temperatures increased by 0.7°C to
0.9°C. Climate models project that across the entire continent
and for all seasons, the median temperature increase by the end of
this century will be between 3°C and 4°C, roughly 1.5 times
the global mean response. Future warming is likely to be greatest
over the interior of semi-arid margins of the Sahara and central southern Africa.
In this regard, vulnerability to external factors continues to threaten
the region’s ability to make progress towards the Millennium
Development Goals (MDGs). Food price volatility has become a critical
challenge for Africa to achieve food security for all. Coupled with
the current global financial and economic crisis, these factors
continue to negatively impact African economies. Therefore, the
following key impacts of climate change threaten the sustainability
of the gains that have been achieved in terms of MDG attainment, including:
A drop in agricultural yields of up to 50% in some countries, with the
consequent effects on agricultural output, food security and nutrition.
An increase in the number of people (from 75 to 250 million) at risk
from water stress.
An increase in the exposure to malaria.
An increase of between 5% and 8% in the surface area of arid and semiarid land.
Rising sea levels that could severely affect mangrove forests as well as
coastal fisheries, and lead to increased severe flooding, with a
potential cost of 5% to 10% of annual PIB.
Many of the predictions for the continent were summarised by the IPCC
(Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change),
along with the potential implications for international climate
negotiations. However, climate change impacts in Africa vary across the continent owing to its sheer size and diversity. Scientists distinguish at
least seven climate zones in Africa (Figure 1), with varying
Figure 1. Africa’s climate zones
A case study selection of one country from each climatic zone, adding
an island state and a mixed region, is shown in Annex 1 to provide an
overview of Africa’s climatic diversity.
Policies Implemented in Africa or Foreseen for the Near Future
Africa’s responses to climate change impacts can now be better understood
against the backdrop of the preceding case study in various climatic
zones of the continent (see Annex 1). A suggested approach to
reviewing climate policy development in Africa is to look at the
measures adopted in the four areas constituting the building blocks
of the Bali Action Plan: (1) mitigation; (2) adaptation; (3) technology; and (4) finance.
Reference will be made to interventions in some of the countries
studied in Annex 1. In addition, it may be relevant to review other
activities and initiatives that might have a policy or regulatory
impact when addressing climate change.
(1) Mitigation: it is important to note that the main sources of global
emissions are key sectors relevant to the attainment of the
Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). These key sectors include
electricity and heat (29%), agriculture (14%) and land-use change and
forestry (12%), with the remainder having a comparatively less direct impact on MDG attainment.
Consequently, emission reductions in these sectors require transformation of
economies that should be well informed. Indeed, any actions to be
undertaken in Africa should be informed by the diverse range of
national priorities of its countries, particularly for poverty
reduction (see Box 1, for a sample of mitigation efforts in this regard):
Box 1. Africa’s Climate Change Mitigation Actions at a Glance
preparation of the Second National Communications (SNC) to the
UNFCCC, including studies on measures to reduce emissions in the
main polluting sectors, including forestry, and actions
undertaken in this regard.
the Barrier Removal to Namibia’s Renewable Energy (NAMREP)
and Namibia’s Energy Efficiency Programme in Buildings
(NEEP) projects, both executed by the Ministry of Mines and
Energy, are being implemented to expand access to energy services
to the poor and to promote the adoption of energy-efficient
practices. In addition to climate change mitigation, the removal
of policy, financing and cultural barriers to the use of solar
energy technologies (eg, solar water heaters, solar water pumps
and other solar home systems) is contributing to poverty
reduction in rural areas that might not be connected to the grid.
Meanwhile, more efficient energy demand-side management practices
in urban areas are expected to address escalating energy prices
and reduce the high dependence on energy imports.
a consultative and multi–stakeholder approach was taken in
the development of the Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Action
(NAMA), encouraging similar highly participatory and
consensus-based processes. Nigeria has now been granted observer
status in the UN-REDD process, with a roadmap being developed by
the government to fast track designation as a full blown REDD+
pilot country and taking steps to establishing a National REDD
Source: UNDP (www.undp.org).
(2) Adaptation: one of the main objectives of adaptation is to improve
climate resilience, particularly as it impacts existing development
assistance. The main purpose is to strengthen the capacity of
national institutions to incorporate adaptive planning and management
into development policy in an iterative manner. The focus is on
anticipatory and deliberate measures. Examples of support to Africa
in this area are the Africa Adaptation Programme (see Box 2), the
Adaptation Learning Mechanism and the Community-based Adaptation project.
Box 2. Africa’s Climate Change Adaptation Responses at a Glance
Adaptation Programme (AAP):
there has been a sustained effort to improve the alignment of
adaptation programmes with national strategies and priorities in
Africa. AAP funded by the Government of Japan has been
instrumental in supporting a comprehensive and integrated
national approach towards climate change adaptation. AAP is
helping 20 countries in Africa to develop their capability to
design and implement holistic climate adaptation and disaster
risk-reduction programmes that are aligned with their national
development priorities. It is a US$92 million programme, started
in 2009 and to be completed in December 2011. The donor recipient
countries are: Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Republic of the Congo,
Ethiopia, Gabon, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Mauritius,
Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria,
Rwanda, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Tanzania and Tunisia.
preparation of a National Adaptation Plan of Action (NAPA) and a
National Adaptation Strategy, as well as the development of a
Climate Change Policy and a National Response strategy. A
consultative and multi-stakeholder approach was taken in the
development of the NAPA, encouraging similar highly participatory
and consensus-based processes.
Source: UNDP (www.undp.org).
(3) Technology: technology transfer and capacity development need to take
place effectively for African countries to pursue climate change
mitigation actions that at the same time contribute to their economic
development. The installation of additional technological capacity
not only requires significant investment but also capacity
development and technical assistance in order to support the ensuing
economic transformation and reap the expected poverty dividends. A
sample of efforts in this regard is summarised in Box 3.
Box 3. Africa’s Climate Change Technology Transfer and Capacity
Development Interventions at a Glance
the Concentrated Solar Power Technology Transfer for Electricity
Generation (CSP TT NAM) project, executed by the Ministry of
Mines and Energy, and implemented through the Renewable Energy
and Energy Efficiency Institute (REEEI) at the Polytechnic of
Namibia, aims to increase the renewable share of the country’s
on-grid energy mix. Beyond the obvious mitigation impact, the
technology transfer component will seek to attain this goal
through a pre-commercial demonstration pilot plan, which should
allow the promotion of domestic manufacturing, development of an
in-country national skill-set and overall contribution to local
content in the process.
- Pilot Electrification Project for Five Agglomerations by Solar
Means in Kinshasa (US$4 million).
- Pilot Development Installation for 50 Micro Hydroelectric Power
Stations (US$361 million).
- Firewood Plantation in Kinshasa, Lubumbashi and Mbuji‐Mayi
Source: UNDP (www.undp.org).
(4) Finance: a key challenge for the transformation of African economies
towards low-carbon and climate-resilient development is accessing
sustainable financing to support the process. The challenge is at
institutional, regulatory and policy development levels, which are
required for investment to take place. It is also crucial to ensure
that any financing mobilised actually contributes to the development
of the national priorities of African countries.
Any success in furthering this approach will significantly contribute to
poverty reduction and MDG achievement. Access to sustainable finance
should allow Africa to control and direct financing consistent with
the low-emission climate-resilient development strategies (LECRDS) of
its countries. This is particularly so, considering that
international climate financing is largely unpredictable and
currently provides little guarantee of long-term sustainability.
For instance, the fast-start finance proposed in the aftermath of last
year’s Copenhagen climate talks (US$30 billion for 2010-12) and
the US$100 billion per annum envisaged from 2020 onwards do not
provide any assurance on the funding allocation approach or
eligibility criteria. Meanwhile, financial mechanisms such as the
Global Environment Facility (GEF) are co-funding a range of
initiatives (see Box 4) to attain global environmental benefits.
Box 4. Africa’s Climate Change Financing Actions at a Glance: the
Global Environmental Facility (GEF) is a financial mechanism under
the UNFCCC established to mobilise financing to address
environmental sustainability and climate:
the GEF has been funding enabling activities to support the
fulfilment of the country’s obligations to the UNFCCC. In
addition, it is funding a NAPA, a capacity-building project for
global environmental management, as well as a climate-change
project in the agriculture sector focusing on food production
GEF is funding adaptation (eg, pilot crops and livestock farming
practices), mitigation (barrier removal to access off-grid
renewable energy technologies, energy efficiency in buildings)
and technology transfer (concentrated solar power for on-grid
electricity generation) projects. These interventions are in
addition to supporting enabling activities for UNFCCC commitments
(eg, Second National Communication).
Source: GEF (www.thegef.org).
It is important to note that GEF has become a significant instrument to
support African countries on the climate change and environment agenda.
Indeed, using a project approach to bring about change from business-as-usual
scenarios, the GEF has positioned itself as a catalytic co-financier
of environmental projects.
However, in addition to mechanism-driven approaches, other countries are using
country-driven approaches to ensure national ownership and direct
access to financing. Some of these are briefly explained in Box 5.
Box 5. Africa’s Country-Driven Approaches to Climate Financing
as part of UNDP’s global project towards the ‘Capacity
Development for Policy Makers to Address Climate Change’,
the country is currently finalising its assessment of the
investment and financial flows (I&FF) needed to meet national
adaptation and mitigation costs. The I&FF process is
contributing to a better understanding of the magnitude of funds
needed to tackle climate change now and in the long term. The
process followed relies on a multi-stakeholder approach to ensure
Source: UNDP (www.undp.org).
(5) The role of Spain and the EU: Spain has been one of the most active
players in international development assistance in recent years. The
establishment of the Millennium Development Goal Achievement Fund
(MDG-F) between Spain and the UNDP in December 2006 has been a
landmark instrument for bilateral contribution and joint programming.
The MDG-F is supporting, through the UN development system, over 140
initiatives to promote the attainment of MDGs in 49 countries to the
tune of €528 million, with an additional €90-million
contribution received in 2008.
Several of these initiatives (around €68 million) are supporting
countries to co-ordinate efforts towards environmental sustainability
and climate change, with some pilot initiatives taking place in
Africa. For instance, in Mozambique, the MDG-F is supporting
processes for environmental mainstreaming and climate change
adaptation in rural and coastal zones (a €6-million joint
Therefore, Spain is an active partner in development assistance for addressing
climate change and broader environmental concerns, and has continued
to do so during its Presidency of the EU. The latter earmarked €7.2
billion for 2010-12 (with €2.4 billion available for 2010).
Meanwhile, in April 2010 Spain became the first country to make a
voluntary contribution to the Adaptation Fund, with €45 million
disbursed for 2010.
The Negotiating Position in Cancún: Alliances, Demands and Institutional Arrangements
Considering Africa’s size and diversity, it is quite a complex task to
summarise and simplify the negotiating position of the whole
continent. An easy starting point is the positions advanced by the
Africa Group, within the Group of 77+China, in the various
negotiating areas. This would also serve as the point of departure
from which various alliances are being formed. In turn, this would
help us better understand the range of demands and preferred
institutional arrangements by Africa, including the red lines the
region will not cross if it is to agree on a legally-binding
(1) Regional alliances: Africa has been playing a significant role in the
climate-change negotiation process. The African Group, with its 53
member states, is the largest regional group (28% of all UN
members). However, the group’s main challenge given its size has been defending positions suitable to its variety of members. Consistent
with the preceding sections, which have underscored the range of
climate-change impacts in Africa, and measures adopted to increase
resilience in the continent, there is also a diversity of negotiating
positions, in accordance with the major alliances noted in Box 6:
Box 6. Africa Regional Alliances
Angola, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Cape
Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Congo DR,
Djibouti, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gabon,
Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Ivory Coast, Kenya,
Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania,
Mauritius, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Republic
of the Congo, Rwanda, São Tomé & Príncipe,
Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Africa, Sudan,
Swaziland, Togo, Tunisia, Uganda, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Africa Group members also exert significant influence within the
Group of 77 (eg,. South Africa, Nigeria and Egypt).
LDCs (Least Developed Countries), currently incorporating 33 African
Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Central African Republic, Chad,
Comoros, Congo DR, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea,
Ethiopia, Gambia, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Lesotho, Liberia,
Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mozambique, Niger, Rwanda,
São Tomé & Príncipe, Senegal, Sierra
Leone, Somalia, Sudan, Togo, Uganda, Tanzania and Zambia.
APPA (African Petroleum Producers Association), including OPEC
countries (Algeria, Angola, Libya and Nigeria) alongside 12 other
African countries (Benin,
Cameroon, Chad, Congo DR, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Ivory
Coast, Mauritania, Republic of the Congo, South Africa and
African Development Community), with 15 member states that are
trying to exert influence of their own within the African Group
Botswana, Congo DR, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius,
Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, South Africa, Swaziland,
Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe). Several member countries are
currently negotiating for SADC to form another negotiating group
within Africa at the UNFCCC. Similar moves are currently unknown
from other existing regional alliances (eg, ECOWAS, CEMAC, EAC).
COMIFAC (Central African Forest Commission): at present including 10
forested nations in Africa (Burundi,
Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Republic of the Congo,
Congo DR, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Rwanda and São Tomé
SIDS (Small Island Development States): at present including six
African countries (Cape
Verde, Comoros, Guinea-Bissau, Mauritius, São Tomé
& Príncipe and Seychelles).
Both LDCs and SIDS can be considered the most vulnerable, whereas South
Africa, Nigeria and Egypt (all part of APPA) are the continent’s
economic powerhouses. However, the level of power and influence of
these alliances depends on the negotiating demand or issue at stake,
with COMIFAC countries playing a progressively responsible role in
issues such as mitigation actions related to forests and land use,
and SADC countries seeking to exert more strategic influence in the
overall African group position. However, it should be noted that the
diversity of positions was not as marked prior to the Bali road map to Copenhagen.
(2) Main African demands: the proposed framework for analysis of African
demands is in line with the main areas of the Bali Action Plan
(mitigation, adaptation, technology and finance), and the shared
vision for long-term cooperation action. It is within these areas
that issues such as commitments by African countries vis-à-vis
developed economies, positions on land use, land-use planning,
conservation and forestry (LULUCF), sectoral and market mechanisms,
capacity building and other response measures can be better
understood. Overall, there is agreement that these demands might not
be met in Cancun. Meanwhile, Africa will push for a deal to be agreed
on African soil (COP-17/MOP7 in South Africa); however, significant progress will be required during and after
Mexico, so that a package with advances in all areas may be agreed upon.
Mitigation: the Copenhagen Accord provided for quantified economy-wide emissions
targets for 2020 by developed countries. The vision was to further strengthen the emissions reductions
initiated by the Protocol. Meanwhile, developing countries would
undertake national appropriate mitigation actions (NAMAs) in the
context of their sustainable development, with LDCs and SIDS allowed
to undertake voluntary actions on the basis of external financial
support. The African group has clearly said that mitigation
commitments by developed countries must be resolved urgently.
Progress in other negotiating areas will be rendered insufficient if
a legally-binding outcome does not emerge from the negotiating
sessions with a clear post-2012 regime in terms of commitments.
While developed countries acknowledge that greater ambition is needed on
their part, disagreement remains on the form of commitments (eg,
relative reductions, baseline years); the role of offset mechanisms,
including Land Use, Land Use Change and Forestry (LULUCF), towards
commitments; and the inclusion of Annex I parties not currently
subject to the Kyoto Protocol (eg, the US). In the meantime, further
technical guidance is required for other mitigation actions relevant
to Africa, ie, REDD+ (eg, particularly for COMIFAC member states).
For instance, there is a consensus on the need to provide social and
environmental safeguards for forest-dependent communities (including
indigenous people) for REDD+ to succeed.
Adaptation: the African group demands that developed countries assume their
historical responsibilities by prioritising adaptation actions for
the most vulnerable. Africa’s main contention is that it has
contributed the least to climate change, following decades of
greenhouse gas concentrations caused by industrialised nations.
However, the continent is the most vulnerable to its consequences and has the least capacity to adapt.
Meanwhile, mechanisms to address revenue losses have been demanded by APPA
countries, opposed to by SIDS. Namely, oil exporters (such as Nigeria
from the case study selection) call for the inclusion of compensation
for economic losses within any adaptation support. Again, the demand
relates to expected mitigation actions in developed countries (ie, a
reduced reliance on fossil fuels and a transition to non-fossil or
renewable energies). However, island states like Mauritius (also in
the case study selection) demand that any economic compensation be
primarily devoted to support adaptation.
Technology: as a cross-cutting element of the negotiations, Africa is placing
great emphasis on progress in climate-change technology transfer and
capacity building. Current negotiations are mostly engaged in the
institutional arrangements required for an international technology
framework to play an effective role in addressing climate change.
Beyond that, Africa and most developing countries are concerned with
the issue of intellectual property rights (IPR).
Effective technology transfer, particularly in a North-South context, requires
the building of IPR provisions into any proposed technology
mechanism. While developed countries refuse such a proposal, Africa’s
counterargument is that mitigation actions in developing countries
are unlikely to take place without an increase in the installed
technological capacity of its economies. Apart from infrastructure
capacity, the processes of knowledge sharing, skills development and
overall human resource strengthening are crucial for Africa to
benefit from any investment flows to address climate change in its
Finance: One of the landmark outcomes of COP-15 in Copenhagen was the pledge
of US$30 billion for developing countries for 2010-12. While the
pledge may address some of the Africa Group demands, the fast-start
finance proposal still does not provide financing arrangements for a
post-Kyoto regime beyond 2012. Another test for this pledge is to
prove that any sources of climate financing put forward are actually
new and additional to existing development assistance.
The incentives arising from carbon credits are creating an enabling
environment for the establishment of promising linkages between the
private and the public sector. These should now move on from their
current seemingly “piloting and testing” stage, to
another where market mechanisms are enhanced and improved under the
UNFCCC convention. However, Africa demands that this transition is
accompanied with significant pledges on emission reductions by
developed countries first. Indeed, other developing countries have expressed their caution about private sector funds altogether
replacing public climate financing.
(3) Institutional arrangements: the UNFCCC is undergoing significant
pressure to convince all its parties that it is the adequate platform
to negotiate a deal. As the new UNFCCC Executive Secretary Christiana
Figueres emphasised throughout the year, there is a ‘need to
prevent multilateralism from being seen as an
endless road’. While all parties seem to agree in principle with the multilateral
approach, there is widespread disagreement on the acceptance of the
instruments from the Convention.
Africa is pushing for a continuation of the Kyoto Protocol into a second
commitment period. In terms of mitigation by developed countries, the
African group sees the Kyoto Protocol as the best model to reach a
legally-binding agreement and to hold industrialised economies
accountable for their past and future GHG emissions. LDCs have
stressed that the Protocol has established the institutional and
governance structures that ‘are and must remain at the heart of
the climate regime’.
Regarding adaptation, further guidance is required on how adaptation funding
will be allocated and disbursed. Africa (particularly LDCs and SIDS)
argue for priority access based on the continent’s
vulnerability. With regards to technology, a three-part technology
mechanism under the Convention has been proposed. The question remains as to how any technology institutional
frameworks would be supported and resources, given the lack of
clarity on climate financing mechanisms. The institutional
arrangements for climate financing will largely depend on final
agreement reached in terms mitigation, adaptation and technology.
Africa is demanding additional flexibility in these instruments so that
low-emitting or carbon-neutral nations can still benefit from them.
For example, South Africa, as the continent’s biggest emitter,
has been able to tap into the CDM market easily owing to its great
emission reduction capacity. However, the current CDM methodology
does not account for the fact that the country’s coal-based
electricity supply is also exported to other countries in the SADC
region. As a result, energy importers such as Namibia, Zimbabwe and
Lesotho are not eligible to cash-in on emission reductions from their
neighbour, even though they are contributing to South Africa’s
growing global carbon footprint.
(4) Africa’s red lines: the African group has clearly stated that
mitigation commitments by developed countries must be resolved
urgently. Progress in other negotiating areas will be rendered
insufficient if a legally-binding outcome does not emerge from the
negotiating sessions with a clear post-2012 regime.
The African demands noted above on the way to Cancun are fairly comprehensive, with
common areas of agreement with the position of other developing
countries. There are certain lines Africa will not cross and paths
the continent will not follow, if it is to agree to a legally-binding
In line with the G77+China, Africa has a firm position on resisting any
mitigation action commitments imposed on developing countries by
Annex I parties. This approach is informed by the principle of
‘common but differentiated responsibilities’. It is important to underscore that progress in other negotiating
areas will be rendered insufficient if a legally-binding outcome does
not emerge from the negotiating sessions with a clear post-2012
regime. Meanwhile, the continent agrees to the development of
mitigation strategies that include NAMAs in a way that effectively
capture and follow the national priorities of each of the countries,
particularly poverty reduction and the attainment of the MDGs.
Discussions around the requirement by developed countries for developing
countries to follow international measurement, reporting and
verification (MRV) procedures for internationally-supported NAMAs
will not be entertained until developed-country commitments are
undertaken. Africa underscores the need for international MRV
requirements to respect national sovereignty of its countries. Most
critically, Africa requires that Annex I countries determine an
overall numeric target both in the current AWG-LCA and AWG-KP
negotiation texts. This is due to the insufficient level of ambition,
or willingness to comply, shown by Annex I countries in the
The Accord shifts the emphasis from legally-binding commitments to
voluntary emission pledges. Recently, South Africa noted that the
long-term global goal for emission reductions is more than just a
number, but also nothing without a number. Also, Africa will not pursue NAMAs unless this is accompanied with
intellectual property-right sharing provisions to support them. The
process of economic transformation to a low-carbon intensive path is
costly in the short term for any country. Therefore, Africa feels
less compelled to make any efforts in this regard, particularly in
the current economic context.
Conclusion: This paper has attempted to provide a detailed understanding of
climate impacts in Africa. Indeed, reduced rainfall may have adverse
effects in dry regions (eg, land degradation in northern Nigeria),
but have a positive impact in humid or flood-plain areas (eg, a
reduced incidence of malaria in Mozambique). Therefore, climate
policy-making in Africa should not only respond to general climate
risks (eg, coastal infrastructure development against sea-level rise
around Africa), but also reap the specific opportunities brought
about by climate mitigation (eg, carbon markets for REDD+ initiatives
in Congo DR). In the same light, the EU, and particularly Spain,
should not only identify interventions requiring donor assistance in
Africa (eg, support for crop-switching initiatives in rural Lesotho)
but also developments making business sense (solar or wind technology
investment in Namibia). Taking this detailed approach has also
contributed to a better understanding of the nuances in national
negotiating positions across the continent. Nonetheless, Africa’s
overall approach to Cancún shows its focus on the next step in
the road to a post-Kyoto climate regime (COP-17 in South Africa). It
considers the little room provided in Mexico for a global outcome
that bypasses the red lines Africa will not cross.
Raúl Iván Alfaro-Pelico
Programme Analyst, Energy & Environment, United Nations Development
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Annex 1. Africa’s Climate Zones: Case Study Selection
Middle Latitude DryLesotho
(1) Tropical Rainforest: Congo DR
The impacts of climate change are already noticeable throughout the
country. Particularly, there is a persistence of excessive heat
waves, violent rain, soil degradation (especially by furrowing
erosion), a prolongation of the dry season and an increase of the
drought sequences during the rainy seasons, as well as floods. Figure
2 shows an overall summary of the range of projected variations for
temperature, precipitation and atmospheric pressure.
Figure 2. Congo DR: Climatic Parameter Variation
Source: UNFCCC (2009) DRC’s SNC.
Climate impacts on agriculture, among other land-use, land-use change and
forestry (LULUCF) activities, are expected to have a direct incidence
on the population’s food security. Indeed, the LULUCF sector is
DRC’s most carbon intensive (see Table B below for GHG
assessment). Its greenhouse gas inventory shows Congo DR’s
insignificant contribution to global emissions and significant carbon
Figure 3. Congo DR: CO2 Emission/Sequestration Sectoral Assessment
CO2 emissions (Gg)
Source: UNFCCC (2009) DRC’s SNC.
(2) Tropical Wet and Dry: Nigeria
The IPCC’s Second Assessment Report of 1995 established a general
trend of 0.2ºC-0.3ºC rise in temperature in West Africa per
decade. Nigeria’s large size and geographical location affords
the country both wet and dry climates. The Niger Delta, the Lagos,
Calabar and Ondo regions, belonging to the southern humid tropical
zone, expect an increase in both precipitation and temperature.
Expected climate impacts include shift of optimal crop conditions for
Nigeria’s most common produce (eg, millet, sorghum, sugar and
maize) to less used crops (eg, wheat, rice and potatoes). Meanwhile,
the Sudan-Sahel zone, or northern savannah area, expects drought
persistence leading to reduced soil moisture and a further
desertification processes, with a negative impact on the country’s
large livestock numbers (eg, reduced pastureland and declining water
Finally, as the continent’s largest oil exporter, a sea level rise is
projected to have adverse effects on offshore oil and gas production
facilities, as well as along the coastal areas, both in terms of
equipment and infrastructure maintenance. Meanwhile, electricity
production in the north, through the Kainji hydroelectric power
station on the River Niger, will suffer from reduced rainfall due to
an expected decrease in river flow.
(3) Tropical Dry: Namibia
Namibia is one of the driest countries in the world, with low and highly
variable annual rainfall, and with water scarcity in a large piece of
land, the least densely populated in the continent. Climate scenarios project mean annual temperature increases
(depending on region) ranging from 2ºC to 6ºC above the
1961-90 mean temperature, coupled with decreases in rainfall (see
Figure 4. Namibia: Climate Change Projections in Windhoek in Various Climate
Source: UNFCCC (2002) Namibia’s INC.
With lack of water as the key limiting factor for the country’s
development, already high solar radiation, low humidity and high
temperatures is expected to lead to higher evaporation rates, extreme
climatic conditions will directly impact 70% of Namibia’s
population, who practise subsistence crop farming and
agro-pastoralism on communal land. Climate change is also projected
to have an adverse impact on the country’s energy-intensive and
key mining sector (diamonds, uranium).
Namibia’s own electricity production is primarily concentrated in the northern
border with Angola. The Ruacana hydroelectric power plant
significantly depends on the flow of the Kunene River, expected to become drier, thereby leading to curtailed electricity
generation. Meanwhile, sea level rise and warming-up of its Benguela
current system can negatively impact Namibia’s fishing sector,
ie, its second foreign-currency earner (after mining), and with the
third-largest output (after both mining and agriculture). Apart from
the impact on the coastal infrastructure and declines in pilchard
stocks, the effects might be extended to other marine resources.
(4) Mountain: Tanzania
Climate-change projections for Tanzania point to rises in temperature and increases
in rainfall in high altitude areas (with decreases in other areas).
The impact of these changes will be noticeable in vulnerable sectors
of the economy (agriculture, water resources, forestry and
livestock). The severity of the impact will depend on the area, with
the focus on the mountain climate of the highlands, eg, Mount
Kilimanjaro and Mount Rungwe (see Figure 5).
Figure 5. Tanzania’s topography
High-altitude zones may suffer an increase in the occurrence of diseases and pests
as a result of higher temperatures and increased rainfall. Maize
yields are expected to be reduced by 33% around the country. In the
meantime, areas getting less rainfall than normal (in the plateau
zone) will require a switch to drought-resistant crop varieties due
(5) Mediterranean: Tunisia
Tunisia’s location at the junction of the West and East Mediterranean sea, and
north of the Sahara, gives the country a mixture of Mediterranean,
semi-arid and desert-arid climates. The main focus of the present
case study selection is on the former, characterised by a hot and dry
summer, and a relatively mild and rainy winter.
An accelerated sea-level rise poses the biggest threat to the economic
development of the country, with potential adverse effects on any
sector related to the sea or the coast. On the basis of the six
climate scenarios from the IPCC, an elevation of the sea level from
38 to 55 cm will occur, thereby affecting the coastal natural and
fitted infrastructure of the country’s 1,300 km-long coast.
(6) Middle Latitude Dry: LesothoLesotho is a small landlocked country that experiences harsh climatic
conditions. With a resource-poor economy and high levels of
environmental degradation, including soil erosion, the growing season
for many crops is very limited. Climate scenarios predict a warmer
temperature (Figure 6) and lower precipitation, with a drastic water
stress and scarcity prospects.
Figure 6. Lesotho’s temperature change scenarios
Source: UNFCCC (2000a) Lesotho’s FNC.
These conditions will have a severe impact on households and livestock,
given the rain-dependent crop yields and the country’s heavy
dependence on food imports to satisfy local demand. Meanwhile,
Lesotho’s freedom from climate-related diseases, such as those
in the tropics (eg, malaria), is projected to shift given drier
conditions, with an increased incidence of respiratory infections
(7) Humid Subtropical: Mozambique
Mozambique’s tropical climate is characterised by two main seasons: one hot and
rainy (October-April) and the other cold and dry (May-September).
Extreme events (floods, droughts and tropical cyclones) around the
country and sea-level rises on its 2,515 km-long coast line (the
third largest in Africa) pose serious threats to the country (eg,
flooding of low coastal areas, aggravation of coastal erosion, soil
erosion, reduction of agricultural production and a decrease of
nutritional value of plants impacting livestock). In addition to the
economic impact, longer lasting floods will increase the incidence of
malaria, amongst other health issues (Figure D).
Figure 7. Mozambique’s malaria projections
Source: UNFCCC (2003c) Mozambique’s INC.
(8) Island: Mauritius
Small island states are highly vulnerable to climate change, particularly
to sea-level rise. In addition to the natural catastrophic effects,
the economic impact on sectors dependant on coastal and water resources is significant.
Mauritius is no exception to these impacts. The effects will be pronounced due
to natural phenomena (ie, tropical cyclones and tidal waves) or
human-induced (anthropogenic) activities (eg, infrastructure
development, sand removal, hazardous construction and poorly designed jetties and harbour facilities).
According to the IPCC, an accelerated sea-level rise is expected to worsen
these problems with sea level expected to rise between 15-95 cm (some
scenarios in Mauritius project rises from 50 cm to 2m). Apart from
the expected land loss, beaches will be eroded (with adverse impacts
on the country’s tourism industry), coral reefs will become degraded and wetlands be lost.
(9) Mixed: South Africa
South Africa represents a mixture of at least five climate zones (see Figure 1): (1) humid subtropical; (2) tropical dry; (3) middle
latitude dry; (4) mountain; and (5) Mediterranean. Overall climate projections for the country in the next 50 years
predict 1ºC-3ºC temperature increases from current levels,
broad reductions of 5%-10% of current rainfall (though with regional
variations depending on the zone) and a general extension of summer season characteristics.
The impact of the expected climatic conditions also varies depending on
location. However, general predictions point to an increase in the occurrence of respiratory and skin-related illnesses (eg, strokes,
dehydration, skin rashes and non-melanoma skin cancers). In addition,
the extension of summer months is expected to result in the increase
of malaria-prone areas and periods, particularly on the humid coastal
regions of the Indian Ocean. Furthermore, the overall expected
reduction in the amount or reliability of rainfall, coupled with an
increase in evaporation from increasing warming, is expected to
exacerbate South Africa’s water availability concerns. Water
scarcity will directly impact on the country’s maize production.
Meanwhile, global climate change concerns, as well as responses to it, will have
an incidence on South Africa’s mineral exports (eg, coal, diamonds and uranium). The implementation of mitigation measures in
industrialised countries may be, on the one hand, positive (with the
shift from fossil-fuel energy production from the North to the South), and negative (with a decrease of energy imports from these
same countries). South Africa needs to carefully manage the expected
increase of greenhouse gas emissions fuelling its growth (see Figure 8).
Figure 8. South Africa: GHG emissions
Source: UNFCCC (2000b) South Africa’s INC.