Promote sustainable energy for economic development

03 Jul 2014 14:50pm
WINDHOEK, 03 JUL (NAMPA) - The African Development Bank Group (AfDB)'s senior climate change specialist says the promotion of sustainable energy and clean technologies in Africa should be motivated by its potential contribution to social and economic development.
Speaking during the opening of a three-day African Carbon Forum in the capital on Wednesday, Uzoamaka Nwamarah said there is a need for a developmental path which helps mitigate the adverse impacts of climate change.
“It is quite encouraging to see how several of our African countries have embraced the low-carbon development agenda in the provision of appropriate energy infrastructure for their population, setting an example for others that this is the right path for the continent, yet much more work still remains.
We need to strive to balance the goal of avoiding high carbon-emitting infrastructural choices today with the goal of enhancing long-term access to clean, modern energy services for the future,” she said.
Nwamarah stated that there are enormous opportunities which can be realised as Africa’s renewable energy potential is very high, adding that up to 93 per cent of the continent’s natural and renewable energy resources remain untapped.
There are also still several impediments which need to be overcome, some of which include inadequate financial resources and limited institutional capacity.
She added that access to sufficient financing is at the heart of the needed response, with increased resource flows required to promote resilient and cleaner technologies.
Adequate policy frameworks and governance arrangements should also be put in place, while capacity-building and knowledge-sharing are also essential in this regard.
“It is our expectation that the discussions we shall be having today and over the course of the forum will be geared towards identifying the much-needed solutions, including the modalities for implementation,” she said.
The sixth African Carbon Forum is an opportunity for participants to learn about the present and future of carbon markets, sources of climate financing, international climate change negotiations, examples of low-carbon development strategies and the opportunities to use carbon credits generated by the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) more easily for voluntary purposes, in addition to their use in compliance market.
The carbon market currently comprises a compliance market made up of carbon emitters who are obligated to reduce their emissions, and a voluntary market, in which organisations voluntarily reduce their carbon emissions.
The CDM within the Kyoto Protocol provides the robust rules needed, but Africa faces challenges on how to preserve these rules and construct a multilateral emissions’ trading system which is open to all interested participants.
The forum was jointly organised by the UNFCCC, the United Nations’ Environment Programme (UNEP), the UNEP Risoe Centre (URC), the World Bank, the AfDB and the International Emissions’ Trading Association (IETA).
Over 50 participants from different African countries are taking part in the forum, which ends on Friday.