Energy transition in Africa: building parliamentarians capacity for action towards cop28
OPENING ADDRESS BY THE SPEAKER OF PARLIAMENT OF GHANA
The Chairman of the CVF Global Parliamentary Group, Hon Dr Emmanuel Marfo, who also chairs our Committee on Environment Science and Technology here in Ghana, the Head of KAS Regional Programme on Energy Security and Climate Change in Sub-Saharan Africa, Miss Anja Berretta, the Coordinator of the Global Parliamentary Group of the Climate Vulnerable Forum, Miss Rachel Mundilo, The Chair, Hon Jacqueline Amongin and the Executives of the African Parliamentarians Network for Climate Action (APNCA);
Honourable Members of Parliament from across the continent herein present, representatives of the Partners of this workshop, mainly the Konrad Adenauer Foundation (KAS), the Climate Vulnerable Forum (CVF), the Global Renewables Congress and the APNCA;
Our distinguished resource persons, representatives of Climate Parliament, Ladies and Gentlemen.
Let me on behalf of the Speaker of Parliament for Ghana, the Rt Hon. Alban Bagbin, who is currently out of the country and on my own behalf, welcome you most warmly to Ghana. As we say in Ghana, Akwaaba!
I must express my appreciation and the honour to open this all important workshop for African MPs who are championing climate action in your respective countries and across the continent.
As we all know, African countries are facing significant consequences of a changing climate. There has been increasing vulnerability to the impacts of climate change, with rising temperatures, frequent droughts, and floods. African countries vulnerable to climate change are increasingly missing out on opportunities for greater energy independence as well as access to green investment and export opportunities. The continent urgently requires effective mechanisms and frameworks for responding to and influencing the climate change agenda both nationally and regionally. Effective response will require comprehensive approaches that include the utilization of renewable energy sources, energy efficiency, and development of sustainable energy infrastructure. These will be facilitated through adequate policy interventions to allow speedy reforms, enhance investments, climate action and efficient energy access.
Parliament and Parliamentarians play crucial legislative, budget approval and oversight roles which are important in policy making and implementation and therefore ensuring government accountability and effectiveness. They also provide vital knowledge links with constituents which facilitates need-based and effective climate action. At the international scale, parliamentarians have the opportunity to work with their counterparts to build synergies and coordinated approaches and the international negotiation stage for the common regional interests. Despite this understanding, the role of Parliamentary institutions and Parliamentarians is yet to gain adequate attention and support in the climate negotiations and processes, especially for African countries. Indeed, according to an Africa All Party review, until recently, development partners have tended to focus exclusively on the executive branch of government, with limited involvement of Parliaments and Parliamentarians thus undermining their role, understanding and potential contribution to climate governance and processes.
Honourable Members, ladies and Gentlemen, there cannot be any critical time for increased parliamentary voice and participation in the climate discourse and policy processes more than now. In our various countries, there are a number of initiatives and climate change programmes running without the involvement of Parliaments and Parliamentarians. There is huge financial resources for capacity building and support for local climate action floating around the globe, yet parliamentarians, who are the representatives of the people, have not adequately benefited. We approve national budgets and programmes which include executive commitments to climate action, yet we usually lack the knowledge and resources to do effective monitoring and oversight to ensure that executives compliance with national commitments. The issue of energy transition is critical to Africa; to what extent have parliaments taken a leading role in the discourse and the formulation of appropriate investment response? At the global scale, we are talking about climate prosperity Plans; what is Parliamentarian’s understanding of this phenomenon and how do we ensure that national development plans are aligned to this phenomenon. In effect, de facto, the representatives of the people have been sidelined or I should say, have allowed ourselves to be side-lined, effectively making climate policy and action largely an executive affair in most countries. Particularly, as we approach COP28, which has been earmarked as an accountability COP, the role of Parliamentarians as the foremost public officers responsible for ensuring accountability becomes more critical.
It is against this background that I highly commend the growing effort by African Parliamentarians to ensure that Parliaments do not lag behind and that Parliamentarians must take our rightful place in the climate space. I am happy that leading climate MPs who occupy important positions in parliaments from at least 12 African countries have gathered for this capacity building workshop. I believe the workshop, will afford you the opportunity to reflect on the role of parliamentarians in climate action, at local, national and global level. In this sense, the time has come for African Parliamentarians at the forefront of the climate conversation and action to create and ensure an effective networking to build not only a critical mass of climate champions across the continent’s parliaments but also consolidate the African voice in the climate debate, particularly in demanding a fair share of climate financing and investment on the continent. Against this background, I am happy to learn the leading effort by the Global chairperson of the CVF-GPG and other African MPs to create the African Parliamentarians Network for Climate Action. It is an initiative that, I believe, should have massive support across our parliaments. I can assure you that whenever the opportunity comes, I shall highly commend this initiative to other Speakers in the Continent.
At this time, I must highly commend the financial and logistical support of KAS, CVF and the Global Renewables Congress to enable this capacity building workshop to happen here in Accra. I will urge you to continue to be partners to support the growth of the continental networking of African Parliamentarians. Going forward, I hope we can build effective synergies within the Continent and also outside to ensure that we do not duplicate efforts and that we work towards a greater harmonisation to ensure a more efficient use of our limited human and financial resources. I know that at the global level, Climate Parliament is making efforts to build such networks and it may be useful to explore how you can create an effective linkage to ensure that your Network becomes a global team player in the climate space.
I must end here with high hopes, that this workshop will be productive and that you will all leave Ghana charged to do more to improve climate action in your respective parliaments and across the continent of Africa. In Ghana, we are in the process of inaugurating a climate caucus to bring all MPs who are interested and whose works have a bearing on the effective implementation of climate policies have the opportunity to network and increase climate advocacy.
I can only wish you well and look forward to reading many success stories from this humble initiative.
On this note, I wish to declare the Workshop on Energy Transition in Africa: Building Parliamentarians Capacity for Action Towards COP28 duly opened. Thank you and Long live parliamentary democracy.