African mayors unite for climate action implementation and green job creation
We, the undersigned African mayors, are reaching out to national governments and international organisations with a unified voice and a shared commitment to address the urgent need for climate action implementation and green job creation. As leaders representing cities and communities across Africa, we bear witness to the devastating impacts of climate change on our people, our economies, and our environment.
Climate change knows no boundaries, and its repercussions are felt globally. However, our continent, Africa, is disproportionately vulnerable to its effects, despite contributing the least to the greenhouse gas emissions causing this crisis. Our cities face rising sea levels, extreme weather events, water scarcity, desertification, and the loss of biodiversity, among other dire consequences. These climate risks are threatening to reverse our development gains, causing severe damage to physical infrastructure and exacerbating poverty, displacement and unequal access to resources and services. At the same time, we are grappling with rising living costs, high levels of unemployment and skills shortages. We can no longer afford to delay action while our future hangs in the balance.
We, mayors of cities in Africa, are ready to lead by example and collaborate with national governments and international organisations, civil society organisations, private sector stakeholders, our fellow mayors worldwide, and youth. As such, we pledge to:
- Deliver a just transition, providing good quality green jobs for all: African cities are already helping to deliver high-quality, accessible green jobs and are committed to ensuring that no one is left behind. We will continue to work with a broad range of stakeholders to define how the concept of a just transition can best be applied to specific local contexts. We will tackle systemic inequality by ensuring that green jobs and public services such as renewable energy and sustainable waste management are accessible to marginalised communities, including women, youth, migrants, informal workers and people experiencing poverty.
- Implement our Paris Agreement-compatible Climate Action Plans: By implementing our ambitious and inclusive Climate Action Plans that align with the 1.5 degrees commitment, we will significantly contribute towards our national governments achieving their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs).
- Advance climate-responsive budgeting: By committing to integrate climate considerations into our municipal budgeting processes, we pledge to align our financial decisions with our climate action ambitions.
- Foster collaboration: We pledge to forge partnerships with a diverse spectrum of stakeholders, including local communities, businesses, civil society, workers, youth, migrants and academia, to catalyse ambitious inclusive climate action within our cities.
- Build resilience: With sufficient support, we pledge to invest in infrastructure, policies, and programmes that enhance our resilience to climate-related impacts and protect communities at risk. By adopting measures such as improved urban planning, flood control systems, and disaster preparedness initiatives in addition to risk mitigation efforts, our cities can minimise the extent of losses and damages.
It is imperative that we come together to elevate our collective ambition and expedite climate action implementation and green job creation. We firmly believe that by collaborating, we can establish a sustainable, inclusive, and resilient future for all. Thus, we call upon you, national governments and international organisations, to heed our appeal and undertake the following actions:
- Prioritise green job creation and a just transition: The transition to a sustainable economy presents significant opportunities for job creation. We call upon governments to prioritise people and their livelihoods through the creation of good quality green jobs, targeted investments, skills development programmes, supportive policies, education and awareness. To achieve equitable access to opportunities, we must be guided by the principles of social justice and ensure that our transition to a carbon-neutral, climate-resilient economy does not entrench existing inequalities by prioritising marginalised groups, including women, youth, informal workers, migrants and people experiencing poverty. Additionally, we emphasise the importance of ensuring a just transition for workers in sectors affected by climate change mitigation measures by providing retraining programmes and alternative employment opportunities.
- Strengthen and implement the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs): We implore all national governments to enhance their NDCs in alignment with the Paris Agreement objectives. By setting more ambitious emission reduction targets and outlining robust strategies for their achievement, we can facilitate a rapid transition to a low-carbon economy and limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. In addition, we call upon national governments to undertake National Stocktakes aligned with the Global Stocktake and establish robust monitoring evaluation and reporting systems that include locally-led actions. We also call on national governments to commit – including in NDCs and NAPs – to the multilevel partnership required for critical areas such as buildings, transport, waste, water, and energy.
- Amplify climate financing: Climate change mitigation and adaptation efforts necessitate substantial financial resources. We urge national governments and, more especially, international financial institutions to increase climate financing and support the development of climate financing models, with a specific emphasis on supporting African nations and cities. This will enable us to invest in just transition plans, skills development, renewable energy, sustainable infrastructure, nature-based solutions, and resilience-building measures while simultaneously fostering the creation of green jobs.
- Empower local governments to accelerate implementation: Recognising the vital role of local governments, we urge national governments to empower and enable municipal authorities by implementing nationwide policies that facilitate climate action, delegating authority, allocating adequate resources, and granting decision-making powers. This will enable us, as mayors of African cities, to implement climate action measures tailored to our cities’ unique needs and priorities. We emphasise the need to set up a dedicated city climate finance programme to massively ramp up financial support for urban climate action.
- Ensure that the loss and damage fund is operationalised at COP28 and made accessible to local governments. African cities support the call from the African Group of Negotiators for climate finance commitments to match the needs created by both past and future losses and damages. In addition, we call for greater recognition of the specific urban dimension of loss and damage within UNFCCC negotiations and a seat at the table for city voices to support in the identification of innovative and inclusive locally-led solutions.
We kindly request your immediate attention to these pressing matters and invite you to engage in constructive dialogue and action with us. Let us seize this opportunity to implement transformative climate action, promote green economies and job creation, and foster sustainable development across Africa and beyond, to create safe, inclusive and prosperous nations and cities. Together, we can forge a resilient future and leave a lasting legacy for generations to come.
Mayor-elect Yvonne Aki Sawyerr – Freetown, Sierra Leone
Mayor Yao Winny Dogbatse – Kloto 1, Togo
Mayor Cilliers Brink – Tshwane, South Africa
Mayor Chilando Chitangala – Lusaka, Zambia
Mayor Manuel de Araijo – Quelimane, Mozambique
Mayor Émile Gros Raymond Nakombo – Bangui, Central Africa Republic
Vice Governor N’cho Kouao Vincent – Abidjan, Ivory Coast
Deputy Mayor Dr. Jemalu Jember Bekele – Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Member of Mayoral Committee (MMC) Dada Moreno – Johannesburg, South Africa
Deputy Mayor Madina Tall – Dakar, Senegal
Deputy Mayor Ojambi Didas – Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
Governor Sakaja Arthur Johnson – Nairobi, Kenya