Some Climate Reality Leaders (CRLs) in Ghana led by Chibeze Ezekiel (Country Mentor) met key officials of the African Development Bank (AfDB) during the bank’s recent AGM held from 23rd – 27th May in Accra to discuss the Position Paper submitted to the bank last year as well as deliberate on ways of strengthening work relations with CSOs.
The AfDB reiterated its recognition of CSOs as important collaborators in the work of bank by acknowledging their contributions through project monitoring, strengthening reach on the ground (impact of interventions) in an attempt to reach the last mile. They also encouraged CSOs to share views on national priorities with the bank.
The bank further noted that the CSOs Engagement Division was set up to improve the working relationship and that the Action Plan on CSOs Engagement developed was one of its ways for effective consultations with CSOs. The Division was established about 4 years and even though it has helped engaged CSOs better, there is room for improvement and better collaboration. The bank intends to train or build the capacity of its staff to enhance their work delivery or performance with CSOs.
Also, it was indicated that a Civil Society Strategy is currently being developed and the draft concept will be shared with CSOs for inputs or comments. The bank took the opportunity to share copies of its Position on Fossil Fuels at the meeting.
The CRLs also took turns to share their views on the AfDB’s CSOs Committee and how it ought to work effectively, especially at the national level and called for the need to ensure active CSOs participation at the national level in the development, implementation, monitoring and reviews of the bank’s Country Strategy Paper (CSP) for example. The need for youth involvement was also flagged which the bank welcomed and pledged to take steps to provide the necessary support.
Overall, the meeting was very successful. Both parties acknowledged that even though we may have divergent views or differences on issues, we ultimately want to see Africa grow and develop.
By way of information, the bank shared its plan to commence some consultations soon which will involve CSOs towards COP27 in Egypt.
The bank was represented by:
- Dr Beth Dunford (Vice President, Agriculture, Human and Social Development) and her special aide
- Dr Amel Hamza (Acting Director, AHGC0 – Gender, Women and Civil Society Department)
- Ms Maria Mulindi (Director, Special Programmes – Engagement with CSOs & CBOs, East & Southern Africa).
Based on the assurance from the bank to continue working with CSOs, it presents an opportunity for CRLs to work closely with their respective AfDB country offices to push for more climate ambitions, campaign against fossil fuels and advocate for the judicious and pragmatic use of funds that the bank provides for its development priorities on climate change; agriculture, forestry, land and ecosystem and energy.