Parliamentary Action on Renewable Energy (PARE): Raising awareness and mobilising political will on climate and renewable energy in Africa
Time is running out. At current emissions levels, the IPCC tells us that a safe 1.5°C “carbon budget” will be exhausted in 7 years. Africa is uniquely vulnerable to climate disruptions. For each additional degree of global temperature rise above the present level, one billion people will find themselves living in areas uninhabitable for humans, cattle and crops, as those areas will be as hot as the hottest parts of the Sahara Desert. Many of those places are located in Africa.
Most countries are moving in the right direction, making climate commitments and investing in renewable energy. But the world is not moving forward at the speed and scale needed to avoid going beyond a point of no return. Legislators have a key role to play in the race to prevent a climate catastrophe, as they are a main source of political will. They are in a unique position to push for climate ambition.
The European Union is partnering with the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and the Climate Parliament to create awareness among key legislators and mobilise them to encourage their governments to raise their climate and renewable energy ambition. The Parliamentary Action on Renewable Energy (PARE) programme, co-sponsored by the Pan-African Parliament, is organising a series of virtual roundtable meetings featuring renowned experts in three areas:
- large-scale renewable energy and green grids,
- sustainable transport, and
- rural access to renewable energy through mini-grids.
Virtual parliamentary roundtables
The online sessions provide a platform to exchange information on cutting-edge research, success stories and best practices, and to discuss the role of policy in promoting investment in sustainable energy. A growing network of legislators from the following countries have participated, from Algeria, Benin, Burkina Faso, Chad, Congo Brazzaville, Democratic Republic of Congo, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Ghana, the Gambia, Guinea, Ivory Coast, Jordan, Kenya, Liberia, Malawi, Mali, Morocco, Mozambique, Niger, Nigeria, Seychelles, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Tanzania, Tunisia, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe. The series includes:
- international roundtables focused on specific topics or research programmes;
- national roundtables including MPs from a single country; and
- one-on-one engagement with key legislators.
Ideas for action
The project supports legislators by providing toolkits and policy briefs on concrete action recommendations in six main areas: climate ambition, large-scale renewables, green grids, sustainable transport, rural access to electricity, and energy efficiency. The project also engages legislators on efforts to promote interconnections within Africa and between North Africa and Europe to trade renewable energy across the Mediterranean.
Expected outcome: awareness, mobilisation and cross-party national parliamentary groups
The main objective of the PARE project is to raise awareness and build capacity among legislators about climate and energy issues, thus creating the conditions for parliamentary action. Informing the legislators has a multiplier effect, as they reach out to colleagues and their constituents, and encourage their governments to act faster. One outcome that has resulted from the national virtual roundtables has been the establishment of informal cross-party groups in several national parliaments on climate and clean energy issues.