Catalyzing Change: GCC Joins West Africa's Carbon Market Hub
Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire – The West Africa Carbon Market Hub recently concluded its event with a significant development—the adoption of the “Abidjan Declaration.” This 15-point declaration signifies a strong commitment to cooperation for promoting the benefits of carbon markets in the underrepresented region of West Africa.
The Abidjan Call for a West Africa Carbon Market Hub represents a significant milestone for generating awareness and building capacity towards sustainable and low-carbon West African sub-region. Held in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire, from September 26 to 28, 2023, this gathering of stakeholders underscores the pivotal role of carbon markets in catalyzing finance for transformative changes across various development sectors.
You can access the 15 points in the Abidjan-Call_Final-Version.pdf (westafricaclimatealliance.org) on the West Africa Climate Alliance website.
Abidjan Declaration stands as a monumental commitment to the betterment of West Africa, emphasizing the pivotal role of carbon markets in catalyzing transformative changes across vital development sectors. It mirrors a collective dedication to reduce emissions in line with the Paris Agreement, conserve nature and biodiversity, and elevate the living standards of the region’s people. The declaration also champions cooperation, harmonization, and capacity building, demonstrating a holistic approach to driving sustainable development and climate action. It serves as an inspiring roadmap, signaling the region’s readiness to embrace Article 6 and embark on a journey toward a more sustainable and environmentally responsible future, making it a laudable and visionary achievement.
Global Carbon Council’s Participation
The Global Carbon Council (GCC), a Gold sponsor of the event, organized sessions focused on the role of independent standards in operationalizing Article 6.2 of the Paris Agreement. The GCC played a pivotal role in the event, contributing to discussions and initiatives aimed at promoting sustainable development and the adoption of carbon markets in West Africa. It also participated in an event moderated by UNDP on digital infrastructure for carbon markets.
Key Sessions Covered by GCC
Session 1 – Digital Infrastructure for Carbon Markets:
The session delved into the significance of data-driven solutions in revolutionizing carbon markets. It emphasized the role of digitalization in enhancing transparency, efficiency, and cost-effectiveness in emissions reduction efforts.
During this session, esteemed speakers included Wesley Geisenberger from HBAR Foundation, Kishor Rajhansa representing GCC, Carlos Cordova from S&P Global, and Evan Kong of CAD Trust. The session was expertly moderated by Richemond Assie from UNDP.
This session highlighted the transformative role of digitalization in the fight against climate change. It emphasized how digitalization acts as a powerful catalyst, reshaping the carbon market landscape with cutting-edge technology and data-driven solutions. These advancements provide unprecedented opportunities to tackle pressing environmental challenges.
The discussion underlined how digitalization is a game-changer in the realm of carbon markets. It empowers stakeholders to operate with heightened transparency and accountability. By harnessing the capabilities of data, emissions reductions can be meticulously tracked and verified, achieving an unparalleled level of accuracy. This newfound transparency not only aligns with the objectives of the Paris Agreement but also fosters trust among participants and investors.
One of the primary advantages discussed in this session was the substantial enhancement of efficiency and cost-effectiveness brought about by digital infrastructure in carbon markets. It was highlighted that processes that once relied on extensive manual labor and resources are now streamlined. This transformation makes carbon markets more accessible and cost-efficient. The automation of methodologies, project submissions, verifier management, MRV (Measurement, Reporting, and Verification), and connections to exchanges and CAD Trust simplifies operations and, in turn, reduces costs for all stakeholders.
During this enlightening session, Kishor Rajhansa, Chief Operating Officer of GCC, shared valuable insights and perspectives on the pivotal role of digitalization in reshaping carbon markets. He emphasized GCC’s ongoing efforts in extensive digitization, encompassing methodologies, project submissions, verifier management, MRV, registry, and connections to exchanges and CAD Trust. This comprehensive digitization is viewed as a holistic market solution aimed at simplifying processes, enhancing credibility, scaling up operations, and reducing costs for all stakeholders. A roadmap of GCC’s digitization efforts was thoughtfully presented during the session, providing a clear vision of their commitment to digital transformation in carbon markets.
Session 2 – The Role of the Voluntary Carbon Market (VCM) in Operationalizing Article 6.2 of the Paris Agreement:
In the course of a dedicated session on the role of the voluntary carbon market (VCM) in operationalizing Article 6.2 of the Paris Agreement, the Global Carbon Council (GCC) played a vital role. It explored GCC’s ongoing efforts of extending its infrastructure for rolling out Article 6.2 and voluntary markets to bring carbon finance to West African countries. The session highlighted the region’s ambitious steps towards sustainability and its surge of interest in leveraging the carbon market to fulfill Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) under the Paris Agreement.
Speakers: Kishor Rajhansa, Global Carbon Council; Andrea Bonzanni, IETA; Alexandra Soezer, UNDP (virtual); Lucy Naydenova, African Development Bank; Perumal Arumugam, Article 6 Manager, UNFCCC (virtual); Moderator: Hemant Nandanpawar, GCC
The discussion revolved around expanding the infrastructure required to operationalize Article 6.2 and enable the participation of West African nations in the VCM. Technical details were thoroughly examined, encompassing the mechanisms, tools, and platforms involved in this extension.
The session emphasized the ambitious sustainability goals of West African countries and their alignment with the Paris Agreement. Countries need to define their priority SDGs and formulate the metric around them while signing cooperative approaches and firmly communicating their demand on ITMOs characteristics for NDC compliance.
The technical intricacies of utilizing the carbon market to secure carbon finance for investments in clean energy and GHG reduction, avoidance, and removal projects were explored. This involved a detailed examination of the financial instruments, transaction methods, and digital tools necessary for efficient financing.
The technical discussion highlighted the critical role played by the international Voluntary carbon Market in financing climate actions. The complexities of cross-border transactions, credit issuance, accounting standards, and market dynamics were analyzed, focusing on the technical aspects of international participation.
The session delved into the technical attributes of high-integrity Carbon Credits, which play a crucial role in offsetting unavoidable emissions while boosting mitigation efforts cost-effectively. This included an exploration of the technical standards, verification processes, and market mechanisms supporting high-integrity credits.
The discussion emphasized how participation in the carbon market enables countries to bring critical carbon finance to invest in clean energy and other GHG reduction, avoidance, and removal projects, all while driving positive change. Panelists discussed the role of the international Voluntary Carbon Market as essential vehicle for financing Climate Actions and keeping the cost of mitigation manageable. Tradable high-integrity Carbon Credits were seen as instrumental in offsetting unavoidable emissions while increasing mitigation ambition at low costs.