Making the Africa Climate Strategy a reality through strategic partnerships and investment

In 2022, the African Union's 10-year Climate Change and Resilient Development (CCRD) Strategy and Action Plan – the first of its kind for the continent – was endorsed by the AU Assembly of Heads of States and Government. Ahead of critical climate change engagements in 2023, the AU gathered key partners for a rigorous discussion on the next steps for operationalizing the Strategy.

“While the adoption of the African Union Climate Strategy last year was a key step in shaping Africa’s long-term climate change response, there is still a lot of work that needs to be done, especially around translating the commitments and priority areas outlined in the Strategy into tangible and meaningful actions,” said Harsen Nyambe Nyambe, Director of the African Union’s (AU) Sustainable Environment and Blue Economy Directorate, in his opening statement at a roundtable event held in Addis Ababa in June.

Strategic African and international partners gathered at the AU headquarters for a two-day interactive roundtable on the steps and support needed to realize the ambitions of the AU’s CCRD Strategy. This Climate Investment Partnership roundtable showcased the AU’s move to engage with inclusive and novel partners in an effort to scale the speed and scope of implementing the Strategy, and also served as a critical milestone ahead of the Africa Climate Summit (ACS) being held in Nairobi in September, where the AUC will host a Climate Action Innovators Hub.  

At the close of the Roundtable, a delegation from the ACS, including Joseph Ng’ang’a, CEO for the Summit, Dr. Pacifica Achieng Ogola, Climate Change Directorate - Ministry of Environment Climate Change and Forestry, Kenya, and Amb. George Kwanya, Kenya’s Deputy Ambassador to Ethiopia, joined the roundtable meeting and contributed to discussions on the alignment of efforts in Africa’s response to climate change through the AU Strategy and high-level discussions set to take place during the ACS.

The speakers highlighted the inaugural event as an important opportunity for African bodies to contribute to and lead the conversation on climate action across the continent.

About the AU’s Climate Change and Resilient Development Strategy

On 6 February 2022, the African Union’s Climate Change and Resilient Development Strategy and Action Plan (2022-2032) was adopted, laying the foundation for joint climate action at the continental level.

The African Union Climate Change and Resilient Development Strategy at a glance
The African Union Climate Change and Resilient Development Strategy at a glance

The Strategy seeks to harmonise the continent’s response to climate change over the next decade, setting out a framework for the key guiding principles, priorities, and intervention areas to better coordinate efforts across the continent, leveraging existing regional initiatives or developing new programs as needed. 

The Strategy outlines 4 strategic intervention axes, one of which (Axis 2) was the focus of the Roundtable discussions. Axis 2 focuses on the 9 key pathways towards transformative climate-resilient development.


A selection of the thematic summaries from Axis 2, developed by the AUC, with technical support from AICCRA
A selection of the thematic summaries from Axis 2, developed by the AUC, with technical support from AICCRA

Need for alignment, inclusion and financing - insights from the Roundtable

The Roundtable included presentations from the AU on the Strategy, from AICCRA on the process and objectives of the Roundtable, and from partner and development organizations around existing climate work and areas of interest. Interactive breakout groups were used to discuss the climate priority and interest areas of all participants, and to identify which areas of the Strategy were most aligned with individual strategies.

Image of tweet by AU DARBE


Some of the main points raised at the roundtable:

  • The mandate of the AUC is to coordinate and convene, rather than to be the sole implementer of the Strategy. With technical, financial and human capacity support from the AUC, Member States and regional economic commissions (RECs) will play an indispensable role in turning the framework of the Strategy into meaningful action on the ground.
  • The Strategy was designed through extensive consultation with RECs and Member States, and as a continental blueprint, complements many existing national and regional frameworks such as the Green Recovery Action Plan, the Great Green Wall Initiative, Africa Adaptation Initiative, and more. But there is a need to further coordinate and streamline the continent’s climate strategies, and the AUC is well positioned to lead this process.
  • Funding remains a critical component of the Strategy’s successful operationalization, both at national and regional levels. The AUC has the mandate to support resource mobilization for climate-related programmes.
  • To ensure broad-based ownership of the Strategy, sensitization and communications regarding its goals and aspirations are urgently needed. The document needs to be made more accessible to the public, Member States, and other relevant actors - so that each understands their roles and responsibilities in its implementation.  
  • An emerging technical gap remains between the continent’s climate agenda and the efforts to improve and conserve soil health. Both are intrinsically connected, and Africa needs to explore how to align soil health more closely with the UNFCCC processes.  

In order to effectively plan the next steps for the Strategy’s action and implementation, it’s important to understand the key commitments and priorities across the diverse range of partners.

On the final afternoon of the Roundtable, the AUC led a session to explore these topics across the national and regional development partner missions to AU, the research community and other NGOS, the youth, and the private sector. Some promising opportunities for alignment and progress emerged:


Prioritizing inclusion for women and youth

Women and youth are crucial to the success of the Strategy – through dedicated inclusion, these groups can act as an accountability link between communities and government, raising awareness and support for the framework in their spheres of influence. "In Africa, we have 37 national gender focal points. They should be supported, and included in climate change processes, as they can champion gender across the continent through this action plan," said Mwanahamisi Singano, Global Policy Lead, Women’s Environment and Development Organisation.  


Putting the spotlight back on adaptation

Adaptation remains a key factor in building climate resilience for the continent. The Africa Adaptation Initiative, one of the climate initiatives of the AU, highlighted a need for a renewed spotlight on adaptation financing, proposing an event to showcase current adaptation efforts and build urgency for accelerating adaptation action. Sabrina Trautman, Engagement and Strategy specialist from the Accelerating Impacts of CGIAR Climate Research (AICCRA), spoke on the work AICCRA has been doing in tracking adaptation efforts and progress across the continent,"Now is an opportune moment for Africa to contribute to developing the global goal on adaptation framework with targets, indicators and metrics."


Call for partner support, including non-traditional actors and the private sector

Achieving what is needed to build continental resilience and achieve the goals of the Strategy calls for dynamic, non-traditional partnerships, especially public and private collaboration, that can help to achieve immense impact.

We propose the co-design and joint implementation of projects and initiatives to bring together our strengths to achieve the Strategy,” said Leah Wanambwa, Senior Policy Officer, Sustainable Environment and Blue Economy Directorate, AUC.

Leah outlined four key areas of support needed from partners, namely:  

  1. The dissemination of the Strategy’s key messages
  2. Alignment of key policy and investment decisions with the objectives of the Strategy
  3. Partnership and political support to achieve the priority areas of the Strategy
  4. Specific financial support for the technical programs and proposals being developed


Next steps: on the road to the Africa Climate Summit

As we draw closer to the ACS and Africa Climate Week, all eyes are on Africa’s climate change strategies and plans. This is a critical opportunity for Africa to align and highlight its continental priorities and intervention areas, and to garner the financial support needed to maximize impact in those areas.

For the AU’s CCRD Strategy to succeed, innovators and entrepreneurs across the African continent are needed to spearhead, spur and scale new initiatives and actions. Africa also needs committed investors looking for climate champions to partner with to drive change on the ground.

To this end, on the sidelines of the Summit, the AU will be hosting a Climate Action Innovation Hub - a dynamic space for networking and knowledge-exchange among Africa’s climate champions, and an opportunity to formalize commitments to the Strategy from key partners. The Innovation Hub will showcase a diverse range of the bold, innovative climate actions across the continent that align to the ambitions of the AU Climate Strategy. This event will prioritize projects led by women and young people, as well as initiatives that benefit them directly.

Through the support of the Hub’s knowledge partners, CGIAR, we’re also bringing together African and international investors to connect with climate leaders and form transformative partnerships extending far beyond the end of the Summit.


Harsen Nyambe Nyambe, Director, Sustainable Environment and Blue Economy Directorate, AU Commission
Leah Wanambwa-Naess, Senior Policy Officer, Sustainable Environment and Blue Economy Directorate, AU Commission
Sabrina Trautman, Engagement and Strategy specialist, Accelerating Impacts of CGIAR Climate Research for Africa (AICCRA)
Romy Chevallier, Policy and Engagement specialist, Accelerating Impacts of CGIAR Climate Research for Africa (AICCRA)
Amy Harris, Global Communications – Social Media and Digital Content Manager, Accelerating Impacts of CGIAR Climate Research for Africa (AICCRA)
Rhys Bucknall-Williams, Global Communications and Knowledge Manager, Accelerating Impacts of CGIAR Climate Research for Africa (AICCRA)


For more information about AICCRA's participation at the Africa Climate Summit and Africa Climate Week, please contact Rhys Bucknall-Williams at