The roundtable meeting was held on the second day of the African Carbon Forum 2013, which took place in Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire, from 2 to 5 July.
The UNCTAD-organized roundtable sought to complement the discussions held at the Forum, on market mechanisms and nationally appropriate mitigation actions designed to reduce the carbon intensity of the fast-paced development that is taking place in Africa.
Bioenergy is the most immediate option for providing high-quality, low-carbon energy in a number of African countries. The session sought to disseminate best practices, by bringing together experts with project management and research experience in Africa. The meeting attracted an audience of 60.
Among the speakers were Professor Semida Silveira of KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Sweden; Professor Charles Jumbe of the University of Lilongwe, Malawi; and Dr. Emmanuel Ackom of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Risø Centre, a Danish-based research and advisory institution working in the areas of energy, climate, and sustainable development. All three speakers have wide experience in Africa.
Henrique Pacini of UNCTAD acted as moderator, and gave a presentation on the state of play in bioenergy and the challenges that the sector faces in Africa.
The panellists gave examples of specific projects and experiences - for example in agro-ecological zoning - which have led to positive developments in bioenergy in many African countries.
Bottlenecks were looked at, too; there was, for example, discussion about overcoming difficulties in attracting investment (with a suggestion made for more international investment guarantee funds). Also reviewed were methods for making sure that decarbonization is actually taking place under bioenergy projects. It was recommended that better information be acquired on agricultural conditions in African countries, such as proper soil mapping. And the meeting addressed concerns about food availability and affordability - for example, the importance of developing non-food-based bioenergy products.
The African Carbon Forum 2013 attracted 600 participants to its programme of presentations, exhibitions, and buyer-seller "matchmaking" sessions. The forum was opened by the Prime Minister of Côte d'Ivoire, Mr. Daniel Kablan Duncan, who said that the country was strongly committed to supporting its domestic carbon market. Despite a strong headwind in the form of low prices paid for certified emission reductions (CERs), steady improvements in the Kyoto Protocol's clean development mechanism (CDM) and the possibility of new sources of demand have kept an interested core of stakeholders engaged in the market, Mr. Duncan told the Forum.
The African Carbon Forum 2013 is part of the Nairobi Framework of activities launched in 2006 by then UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan. The Nairobi Framework aims to assist developing countries, especially those in sub-Saharan Africa, in improving their levels of participation in the CDM. The Framework partners are the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the UNEP Risø Centre, the International Emissions Trading Association, the United Nations Development Programme, the World Bank, the African Development Bank, and UNCTAD.