COP28: Onward March to Just and Sustainable Energy Transition Plan

Following his participation in this year’s UN Climate Change Conference (COP 28), in Dubai, the African Refiners and Distributors Association Executive Secretary, Anibor Kragha, says ARDA remains aligned with the key outcomes of COP 28 related to a just, equitable, tailored energy transition process that considers the peculiar energy poverty and development requirements of African countries.

Mr Kragha says ARDA is pleased to have ended this year by attending COP 28 and progressing the Association’s message. He was part of the delegation from Ipieca, the UN-mandated global oil and gas association for advancing environmental and social performance across the energy transition. ARDA has subsequently applied to the UNFCCC to secure formal “Observer” status for COP 29 next year and looks forward to a favourable response. “Given the significant increases in population and energy demand projected for the African continent over the next two decades, ARDA will continue to promote the implementation of a just, robust, sustainable energy transition roadmap that focuses on the adoption of cleaner transport and cooking fuels in the near-term, and mature, cost-effective renewables solutions as soon as practicable,” he says.

Going forward, ARDA would also foster an intentional approach to the uptake of targeted climate finance, capacity development and technology transfer initiatives. “The objective is to emplace the requisite regulatory frameworks to support investments, ensure essential project preparation to determine scope, cost and schedule of projects with critical ESG overlays. This, along with targeted human resource upskilling and reskilling programs, especially for the youth, will ensure that Africa’s just energy transition roadmap is delivered as envisioned,” he says.

To accomplish these goals, ARDA will continue to leverage its seven robust Work Groups – Regulation; Refining & Specifications; Storage & Distribution; LPG, HSE & Quality; Human Capital and Sustainable Financing – to promote sharing of best practices among its members and partners. The Association also plans to hold its first-ever Investment Forum during the 2024 ARDA Week, with a view to sharing a register of investable pan-African energy infrastructure projects and to providing viable climate finance and other relevant funding options for African refiners, marketers, distributors and regulators, as well as key players in the clean energy space.

ARDA Week will be held from April 22 to 24, 2024 in Cape Town, South Africa with the theme: “African Downstream Energy Transition – The Way Forward”. Reviewing the lead-up to his COP 28 experience, Mr Kragha said he’d had a preview of the conference when COP 28 President Sultan Al-Jaber, Chairman of the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC), addressed ADIPEC in October during a Leadership Round table hosted by NNPC Limited, on the role of energy companies in accelerating a just transition for Africa. The COP President, the first head of a national oil company (NOC) to lead the COP process, stated that he would pursue a fair, just, fast, orderly, equitable, responsible and well-managed energy transition which fully aligned with ARDA’s view on the kind of equitable, inclusive energy transition process that African nations need. In addition, said Mr Kragha, COP 28 itself provided the first opportunity for all parties to evaluate the first-ever global stock-take on the status of climate action and progress against the long-term goals adopted at the Paris Agreement of 2015, and parties prepare for the next round of NDCs in 2025.

Energy Security and Transition is Critical Overall, the COP 28 President made good on his plans to pursue a just, inclusive COP 28 process and buttressed his objective of “fixing” climate finance by announcing a $30 Billion Fund to bridge climate finance with a view to attracting $250 Billion of investment by 2030. ARDA is particularly pleased that the UAE Fund (Alterra) aims “to steer private markets towards climate investments and focus on transforming emerging markets and developing economies.” This action set the stage for the final Mitigation, Adaptation and Means of Implementation and Support recommendations, especially the goal to double collective provisions of climate finance for adaptation to developing countries (from 2019 levels) by 2025. In addition, there was clear recognition of the Article 2 provisions which stipulate implementation to reflect equity and the principle of differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities due to different national circumstances. This in addition to the emphasis on the critical roles of finance, capacity building and technology transfer in enabling climate action. Furthermore, the recommendations underscored that just transitions can support more robust and equitable mitigation outcomes, with tailored approaches addressing different contexts. Finally, the specific needs and special circumstances of developing countries were recognised, especially those that are particularly vulnerable to adverse effects of climate change (as seen in Africa).

ARDA’S PARTICIPATION IN COP 28 ARDA’s Panel Sessions @ COP 28 – Providing Just Transition Lens to Deliberations ARDA served as a panelist on a total of five (5) panels during COP 28 in conjunction with Ipieca, International Emissions Trading Association (IETA), Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA), US Chambers of Commerce and International Business and the Oil Sustainability Program (OSP) of the Kingdom Saudi Arabia to provide pan-African insights on how just transition priorities must drive sustainable energy choices and SDGs, the need for cost-effective, near-term decarbonization technologies like low carbon aviation fuel (LCAF), bioLPG and clean cooking via LPG and renewables and catalyzing investments in Africa amidst the global stock-take. Other key sessions where ARDA participated alongside its partners included the 2023 IMO Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Strategy to define a global level playing field for shipping decarbonization, scaling up public and private capacity to deliver the Paris Agreement Goals while launching the West African Carbon Market Hub, igniting change and youth empowerment through clean cooking, McKinsey’s Regional CEO panel to provide energy perspectives from around the world and several key sessions at the Saudi Green Initiative. Says Mr Kragha: On behalf of ARDA, I wish all our Members, Sponsors and Partners a very happy holiday season and a Happy New Year in advance. Stay tuned… 2024 promises to be a very exciting year for ARDA and the African continent!