Inaugural COMESA – Global Environment Facility Climate Change Project meeting conducted

The first COMESA Climate Change Programme Steering Committee (PSC) meeting for the Global Environment Facility – funded Capacity Building Initiative for enhanced Transparency (COMESA-CBIT) Project took place, Tuesday, 5 September 2023 on the margins of the Africa Climate Summit and Africa Climate Week in Nairobi, Kenya.

The project is supporting four COMESA Member States; Eritrea, Comoros, Seychelles, and Zambia, to build capacity for enhanced transparency in climate change monitoring, reporting and verification as defined in the Paris Agreement.

It brought together a diverse group of stakeholders and experts who play pivotal roles in shaping the direction and success of the COMESA-CBIT Project. They included government officials from Comoros, Seychelles and Zambia as well as representatives from Conservation International (CI) and Regional Centre for Mapping of Resources for Development (RCMRD)

COMESA Assistant Secretary General in charge of Programmes, Ambassador Dr. Mohammed Kadah, chaired the meeting, which provided an opportunity to establish a collaborative framework and a shared vision for the project.

Discussions centred on the project’s overarching objectives, emphasizing the key priorities and goals and outlining the preliminary timelines with key milestones to guide its progress. Also discussed was resource allocation and budget planning to support the project’s various components.

Further, the meeting emphasized the need to leverage on the current COMESA-CBIT project to mobilize additional financial resources from Global Environment Facility (GEF) and other potential funders, given that a majority of COMESA Member States face financial stress due debt burdens and budget deficits.

Dr. Kadah expressed appreciation to the project’s Member States and the two partners, CI and RCMRD for their technical assistance, which has collectively entrenched a collaborative spirit and commitment.

“The success of our inaugural Steering Committee meeting reinforces our dedication to delivering exceptional results with the COMESA-CBIT project,” he said. “We are confident that the collective expertise and experience of our committee members will propel us toward achieving our project goals.”

He expressed COMESA’s commitment to maintain transparency and provide regular updates on the progress of the COMESA-CBIT project.

“As the project unfolds, stakeholders and the public can expect to hear more about COMESA’s efforts to build the technical and human capital of Member States to meet the Enhanced Transparency Framework (ETF) requirements. These are critical, as Parties to the UNFCCC and Signatories to the Paris Agreement are required to report under the new ETF regime on their Green-House Gases (GHG) data inventories,” he added.

Member States representatives at the meeting pledged to support the implementation of the project, while RCMRD which hosted the meeting, committed to continued technical support. The CI representative committed to continue supporting the project and promised further collaborative resource mobilization efforts through upcoming funding windows such as GEF 8 and GEF 9.

Going forward, the PSC will facilitate collaboration among the stakeholders, monitor project progress, review key deliverables and ensure that the delivery of the project goals and the broader objectives are in line with the Paris Agreement and development goals of Member States. It will be meeting bi-annually to review project progress and provide overall guidance and strategic direction for the project. The next PSC meeting was scheduled for January 2024.

Prior to the PSC meeting, Dr Kadah paid a courtesy call on the Director General of RCMRD, Dr. Emmanuel Nkurunziza where they discussed potential collaborative projects between their organizations. They appreciated the critical role of geospatial mapping to ascertain the resource endowments of COMESA Member States and promote sustainable utilization of natural resources and achievement of sustainable development.

They identified key thematic areas of collaboration including climate change, ecosystems monitoring and biodiversity, food security and common challenges faced by Member States.