Friday 6 November 2015

Sustainable Development Goals Agenda 2030 priority for Africa? Reflections from the Climate Change Dialogue

By Olga Laiza Kupika, Chinhoyi University of Technology
Cohort 1 CIRCLE Visiting Fellow

On the 12th of October 2015, I had the priviledge to attend the Climate Change dialogue on Mitigation and Perspectives from the Sustainable development goals (SDGs) at the University of South Africa. The event is part of a series of engagements towards COP21 which have been hosted by UNISA in collaboration with the US embassy. UNISA has a partnership with USAID & the US embassy in relation to climate change. The global governance has been negotiating for the past 21 years without any reasonable outcome, now all is set for COP 21.....what is Africa’s position?

Author and other CIRCLE fellows (Dr Bartlomew Itume Aleke & Dr Zelda Elum)
captured during the dialogue session

 The following presentations were made: 
  1. The key note speaker was Dr. Dan E. Arvizu a renowned energy expert from the USA , presented on “The Future of Clean Energy" 
  2. Prof Godwell Nhamo (PhD) Chief Researcher & Chair: Exxaro Chair on Business and Climate Change, ICC (my host CIRCLE supervisor) presented on Climate change and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Agenda

The main speaker gave insights into the historical developments on clean energy using the US as an example. The key note speakers’ main message was: “Today’s unsustainable energy system which is characterized by limited fuel diversity; subject to price volatilize; inefficient and rigid; significant carbon emissions; vulnerable delivery systems; aging infrastructure should be transformed into a future sustainable energy system characterized by diverse supply options; affordable, stable and reliable; efficient and flexible; carbon neutral; secure and resilient and more consumer driven”.  

Prof Godwell Nhamo’s key message was that Climate change poses challenges to growth and development in Africa and Adaptation will bring immediate benefits and reduce the impacts of climate change in Africa. Africa stands to benefit from integrated climate adaptation, mitigation and development approaches”. In his speech, Prof Nhamo emphasised that in the transition from the Millennium Development Goals to the SDGs, other SDGs dealing with the environment e.g. 2, 4, 13, 16 and 17 hang on SDG 13 which deals with climate change. Once SDG 13 is addressed then it implies that all the other SDGs will be catered for. So which of these SDGs is the greatest priority and why? What should Africa prioritise? What do the SDGs mean for Africa which has been dubbed a “dark continent”? Will the SDGs bring the much needed light? Food for thought…..

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