Council of European Municipalities and Regions (CEMR)
European section of United Cities and Local Governments

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Covenant of Mayors for Sub-Saharan Africa


By 2050, the urban population in Africa is expected to grow to 1.26 billion, up from 575 million in 2015. African cities need to respond to these challenges to provide a sustainable future for their citizens and keep greenhouse gas emissions low. Therefore, ensuring access to affordable, reliable and sustainable energy, all the while adapting to the effects of climate change, are among the most pressing issues for people in Africa.

In this context, the European Commission launched the Covenant of Mayors in Sub-Saharan Africa (CoM SSA) in 2015. This initiative aims to help African cities face these challenges by increasing their planning capacities and providing them with a platform to share knowledge and best practices. CoM SSA is inspired by the success of the Covenant of Mayors – Europe (CoM Europe) that already unites over 10,000 municipalities in the fight against climate change.

Pioneering bottom-up climate action in Sub-Saharan Africa

CoM SSA is a major catalyst for local climate action in Africa with political commitment from over 250 local governments. The platform supports local governments in moving from planning to implementation, with a focus on unlocking climate finance at the local level.

The CoM SSA initiative is an EU action that supports the external dimension of the European Green Deal, as the global challenges of climate change and environmental degradation require a global response. At the same time, CoM SSA strengthens the Africa-EU partnership and supports the African Union's Agenda 2063.

CoM SSA is the regional chapter of an international alliance of cities, the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy. This partnership between city networks, development agencies and funding institutions supports cities in meeting the dual challenge of climate change and access to sustainable energy to achieve a low-emission, climate resilient and sustainable energy future.

What is CEMR's role?

CEMR coordinated the two first phases of the Covenant of Mayors Office for Sub-Saharan Africa between 2015 and 2020, partnering with six networks: Climate Alliance (CA), Energy Cities (ENC), United Cities of Local Governments Africa (UCLG Africa), ICLEI Africa and ICLEI World Secretariat; three institutional organisations: the French Agency for Environment and Energy Management (ADEME), the International Association of Francophone mayors (AIMF) and the Portuguese Energy Agency (ADENE); and two non-governmental organisations: Environment Development Action in the third world (ENDA) and Sustainable Energy for Africa (SEA).

Since 2020, CEMR has focused on reinforcing multi-level governance on climate action in Africa. This involves organising training and capacity-building sessions in partnership with UCLG Africa. We also strengthen cities and Local Government Associations in their political advocacy vis-à-vis national governments and regional organisations, help them access climate finance and empower the Associations as the key interlocutors between national and local governments on climate issues.

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