COP25’s message from Africa: Climate change is already here.

Kobie Brand

Director, ICLEI Cities Biodiversity Center
Regional Director, ICLEI Africa Secretariat

The Mayors who are a part of the ICLEI network in Africa often share on-the-ground perspectives of the climate change impacts they experience, many of which are devastating. In our network of local leaders, there is an intense urgency – we cannot afford to wait any longer to take bold climate change action. There is also a strong sense of solidarity between Mayors living in different African cities, who deal with unprecedented climate change challenges on a day-to-day basis.

The effects of climate change are a current reality in our African cities and towns. It is the realness of it, how it ALREADY affects people’s everyday lives, which we need to be reminded of as we engage in the halls of COP25. In Africa, we must scale up our adaptation efforts, as the speed of urbanization and growing informality increase the number of vulnerable people. Through the voices of our African Mayors present at COP25, we want these stories to be heard, taken seriously, and for them to inspire tangible action.

There are some signs of hope: the European Commission-funded Covenant of Mayors in Sub-Saharan Africa is an example of a groundbreaking initiative driving climate action at scale. The deepening collaboration between city networks operating on the continent, such as UCLGA, C40 and ICLEI Africa, is also encouraging and necessary. We are calling on the African Parties to recognize and enable action that responds to the needs expressed by African Mayors, and for all Parties to ensure that the African voice is heard, not only in terms of mobilizing the resources the continent needs, but also to benefit from African-led innovations and solutions.