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ECOWAS gears up for climate change conference in Paris
Oxfam_East_Africa_-_A_family_gathers_sticks_and_branches_for_firewoodTrue to its commitment to safeguarding the environment, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) is gearing up for an impactful participation in the 21st session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP21-UNFCCC) holding from the 30th of November to the 11th of December 2015 in Paris, France.The conferees would be aiming at reaching for the first time in history, a universal and legally binding agreement that will enable the world to combat climate change effectively and boost the transition towards climate resilient low-carbon societies and economies.

The ECOWAS Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (ECREEE) is leading the regional organization’s participation at the conference, drawing strength from its mandate which is “to contribute to the sustainable economic, social and environmental development of West Africa by improving access to modern, reliable and affordable energy services, energy security and reduction of energy related externalities (GHG & local pollution)”

ECREEE’s delegation to Paris would showcase its activities to the rest of the world as well as get firsthand information on the aspirations and agreements on climate change by the developing, emergent or industrialized countries that will be present at the negotiations. The delegation will also seek to contribute to the debate by exchanging ideas and interacting with Climate Change experts while unravelling its programs and activities that contributes to both Climate Change mitigation and adaptation.

Apart from taking part at the high level segments and stating its contributions to the global Climate Change response, ECREEE will be participating in several sessions relevant to its mandate. It will also host a number of events in collaboration with it partners including a presentation (at the UNFCCC level) of the ECREEE Climate Change Programme encompassing the report of the Situation Analysis of Energy and Gender Issues in ECOWAS Member States’.

Other side events to be hosted by ECREEE are on Advancing Low Carbon Development in West Africa as well as the Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions (NAMA) Fair. Its involvement in the Fair is in order to pledge support for the implementation of the NAMA on Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency in the Gambia. ECREEE would also participate at side events hosted by the African Union on –A New Climate Agreement: Implications and Prospects for Africa and another by the African Development Bank (AfDB) on Getting Africa ready for the 2015 Agreement: Role of regional and international organizations.

Among other activities, in collaboration with the “Agence de l’Environnement et de la Maîtrise de l’Énergie” (ADEME), ECREEE will co-organize a side event on energy efficiency in buildings during which the ECOWAS Regional Directive for Energy Efficiency in Buildings (EDEEB) will be presented. The Directive aims to ensure that minimum energy efficiency performance standards as well as a common general framework to calculate energy performance of buildings are put in place.

Despite contributing minimally to global CO2 emissions, the impact of Climate Change in the ECOWAS region is becoming more experiential and intertwined with the region’s economic and developmental challenges. In view of the high vulnerability of the region to climate change and the urgent need for access to reliable and affordable energy supply, ECREEE recognizes the role of renewable energy and energy efficiency projects in addressing Climate Change. An active participation in the COP21 provides an excellent platform to reiterate the contribution of Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency to climate protection.

The COP21 is a landmark meeting, coming at a time that global atmospheric temperatures have increased and continue to do so beyond unprecedented levels, with widespread impacts on human and natural systems.

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