Intended Nationally Determined Contributions as a Means to Strengthening Africa's Engagement in International Climate Negotiations

"Countries will meet in Paris to conclude the 2015 Global Climate Agreement (GCA). In a departure from previous attempts, such as the Kyoto Protocol, where climate targets were ‘prescribed’, countries will be submitting their self-determined climate commitments which will form an integral part of the GCA. African countries’ participation in climate change negotiations has always been challenging, with these countries often playing catch-up. In this context, this paper explores how African countries can constructively and effectively engage in the ‘new’ international climate change negotiations. This paper analyses the pledges made by African countries, in the form of Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs), to establish their key mitigation and adaptation priorities. Based on these priorities the paper recommends various ways in which African countries can successfully engage in the final round of negotiations for the GCA. Findings indicate that the top priority mitigation areas are energy, agriculture and forestry. For adaptation, the top priority sectors are water, agriculture, health and biodiversity. It is important to note that all African countries’ INDCs request financial and technical support for means of implementation. Further, African countries place strong emphasis on taking climate action within the context of sustainable development. This paper concludes that a coherent Africa Group position based on empirical research and evidence, especially on the INDCs, stands to enhance strategic engagement of African countries in the post-2020 international climate regime."