Aether at Africa Climate Week

24 August 2022

At the end of August Aether’s Justin Goodwin and Laurence Opie are travelling to Libreville to attend Africa Climate week hosted by the Government of Gabon. Travel at Aether is considered very carefully due to our Net Zero target and is assessed against our expectations for the impact that Aether can deliver through attendance. Africa Climate Week, a regional climate week recognised under the Glasgow Climate Pact, is a platform for governments and stakeholders to strengthen credible and durable responses to climate change. This presents a valuable opportunity for Aether to contribute experience and expertise, and in turn accelerate the response to climate change.  As such, it has been considered appropriate that Aether attends to contribute to these important discussions. In preparation for the event Justin Goodwin has summarised Aether’s plans for the event and his hopes for how a focus on climate transparency can accelerate climate action in Africa.

Africa faces significant direct threats associated with climate change with increased incidence of flooding, drought, wildfires, species loss expected.  Whilst the need for action and the barriers to action are well recognised, the big problem is creating the right incentives and monitoring mechanisms for effective short, medium and long-term decisions by businesses, communities, and governments. In many cases there is a lack of up-to-date, accessible evidence to justify large scale, transformative action.

Aether's focus for Africa Climate Week 2022 is on improving the availability and credibility of evidence  to inform decision making. “We want to continue to support the building of a strong community of transparency experts that can track progress and inform good decision making. Our existing transparency community has a massive contribution to make to accelerate positive action. However, it is currently fragmented and under-valued and needs time, resources and voice to take this work forward.” says Justin Goodwin Director of Innovation and Technical Development at Aether.

What was previously called "MRV" - Monitoring Reporting and Verification, then "Transparency", is now recognised under the new Paris Agreement as the Enhanced Transparency Framework. It is now necessary to mobilise transparency experts in order that reliable and regular information is available to decision makers for at least the next 15-20 years to accelerate climate action.

During Africa Climate Week Aether will be:

  • Engaging with partners and country representatives for ICAT’s Regional Climate Action Transparency Centre being established in Douala, Cameroon. This hub will act as a long-term focal point for building transparency capacity and excellence in the area.

  • Justin Goodwin will provide panellist views on transparency needs and progress going into the Paris Agreement for the Policy Dialogue segment of the Africa Regional dialogues on the Enhanced Transparency Framework (ETF). This builds on 25 years of experience in transparency and as author to the CGE's Handbook on institutional arrangements to support MRV/transparency of climate action and support and development of 2019 IPCC refinements chapter on National Institutional Arrangements and GHG inventory management tools (see chapter 1). Justin will bring in updated learning from recent Transparency system development.

  • Aether support the development of a Transparency Hub for Southern African countries. This initiative is being championed by SADC and Eswatini Department of Energy with Aether as a technical support partner. The concept gained support from countries in the region and now needs to identify funders and establish a delivery team.

In addition, we will be talking to people about raising the profile, value and desirability of transparency work.  Our mission is to strengthen an already passionate, intelligent transparency workforce and to help it to realise its true value to decision makers. We will be talking to people about building long-term resilient and sustainable transparency leadership, experts and collaborative teams. We will be highlighting to policy makers the value this brings through regular reliable and trusted evidence (on progress and on ambition) to help us reach our goals on climate change whilst also enhancing quality of life and vibrant ecosystems for all.

Through attending Africa Climate Week, we also hope to pose thought provoking and challenging questions to attendees with a view to strengthening work on climate transparency. These questions are summarised below:

  • How do we protect transparency teams from political uncertainty and enable them to develop and grow high quality evidence for action irrespective of political changes?

  • How do we make it appealing to be a transparency expert and raise the profile and value of transparency work so it becomes well-funded, trusted resource for decision makers and leaders?

  • How do we equip transparency teams with the resources and tools they need to inform and influence decision makers, sectoral strategies and provide high quality national reports (e.g. UNFCCC reports BTR/NC/NDC updates)?

  • Who is going to “champion” the transparency expert and the transparency teams needs over the next period 2022-2024?

We travel to Libreville with expectations high for a productive week and hopeful for positive advancements in the climate transparency agenda.

Justin Goodwin

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