No. 6 December 1994


Climate Change Mitigation in Southern Africa

National studies and regional collaboration

A number of international activities and bilateral support programmes have already been established to support the implementation of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. National studies are under way, or have been completed to address different aspects of the climate change problem: emission inventories, impact assessment, mitigation and/or adaptation strategies. Most of the international methodological work, as well as the actual analytical activities, have focused on the national level. This is a logical consequence of the fact that it is the national governments who sign and have commitments under the Climate Convention. However, from the national studies undertaken so far there are indications that a number of mitigation aspects touch on inter-country or sub-regional collaboration issues. Therefore, a broader analysis, focusing on sub-regional interaction and possible joint mitigation activities, is necessary to complement the scope and effectiveness of national mitigation strategies. The UNEP Centre has initiated such an activity in collaboration with institutions in Botswana, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe. The project deals with sub-regional mitigation analysis and national strategy development in Southern Africa and aims to:

This approach intends to analyse the regional implications of major abatement options implemented either in individual countries or in all countries of the region. These may include technical options in specific sectors (energy, forestry, agriculture, industry or transport) or policy instruments like taxes, financial schemes and investment grants. Two types of regional and national economic effects of implementing alternative abatement options are expected to appear:

In order to evaluate such effects an initial survey of main economic relations and energy sector and transportation links between the countries has been carried out within the first phase of the project. This survey includes information on customs regulations and foreign exchange systems between the countries. Following this, general development paths for regional economic and energy collaboration in the region will be analysed to provide a background for establishing a baseline scenario. The baseline scenario will serve as reference point for the assessment of positive effects of regional collaboration on larger technical systems, and the negative effects of implementing national abatement options which imply loss of regional competitiveness for the country in question. The recent political change in South Africa opens new development perspectives for the region, and it is expected that this country will play an even more important economic role in the development of the region. It is therefore crucial to work closely with on-going studies that examine the future role of South Africa in the general context of regional economic development, and particularly in the energy sector. The project team has already established contacts with relevant institutes in South Africa with a view to future collaboration. The project, supported by Danida, is managed and coordinated by the UNEP Centre and will build upon the experience accumulated through the UNEP GHG Abatement Costing Studies. The UNEP Centre is also responsible for developing the regional methodological framework on the basis of the existing guidelines for national GHG abatement costing. In the four countries involved in the project, relevant ministries are formally responsible for the activity. In each case a local institution or NGO is responsible for performing the actual analysis. The involved ministries and institutions are:

The close interaction between the ministries and local institutions is considered crucial for securing the necessary institutional capacity building and political support for the implementation of the measures. The first phase of the project runs from September to December 1994. The second phase is tentatively planned to run for two years.


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