Gossas set to achieve safe air quality by 2030

With a population of 150,000 inhabitants, the Department of Gossas is committed to achieving safe air quality by 2030 and to harmonizing its policies on climate change and air pollution. In the framework of the UN Climate Action Summit, we interview Adama Diallo, President of the Departmental Council of Gossas and Vice-President for the North and Central Africa of Regions4, to learn about their actions to attain their commitments, as well as their leading role to raise the voice of regional governments worldwide.

Regions4: The UN Climate Action Summit was held on 23 September and UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres has called all leaders to show up to the Summit “not with beautiful speeches but with concrete actions, plans and commitments”. In this sense, what commitments has Gossas undertaken to meet the SDGs and the Paris Agreement?

Adama Diallo: The Government of Gossas is truly committed to act on climate change and we have several plans underway. As Vice-President for the North and Central Africa at Regions4, we join the Network’s support to the coalition for Social and Political Drivers of Climate Action, and as a regional government, Gossas is committed to achieving air quality that is safe for our citizens, and to align our climate change and air pollution policies by 2030. This ambitious commitment will include a quantitative assessment of the health improvements that can be expected from interventions such as the promotion of sustainable mobility, the reduction of methane emissions from livestock into the atmosphere, or the development of domestic biogas among others.

R4: The Summit focused on the acceleration of climate actions that will enable the implementation of the 2030 Agenda, and specifically, SDG 13. What actions has Gossas taken so far to adapt to climate change and further enhance its resilience? What other actions are planned?

AD: Gossas is very active in the implementation of climate change adaptation and resilience actions. Currently, we are implementing a project to strengthen the resilience of vulnerable communities within our region, by putting forward adaptation actions in sectors such as forestry, biodiversity, agriculture and livestock. The issue of energy is also taken into account with the promotion of renewable energies; specifically, the electrification of villages with solar energy. However, these projects are still in a pilot phase since funds are not yet available for scaling up.

R4: It is more and more recognised that to successfully achieve the SDGs it is crucial to have a multi-level approach alongside the collaboration of a wide range of stakeholders. How is Gossas working to further promote multi-level governance in Senegal? What opportunities and challenges have you encountered?

AD: The main difficulty for regions is related to access to funds. The levels of governance are very hierarchical in Senegal, particularly in the area of sustainable development planning, and competences are very well delimited. Nowadays, Senegal has a national platform to support decentralized financing for regional adaptation, which has developed a guide to access financing for climate change-related actions. In addition to working with the national government to operationalise adaptation and mitigation actions in our region, we collaborate with international networks such as Regions4 in order to engage in multi-stakeholder and multi-level partnerships and opportunities.

R4: In your opinion, what should be the result of the UN High-Level Week in order to ensure a stronger representation of subnational governments in the decision-making fora and the effective implementation and acceleration of the 2030 Agenda? 

AD: The region of Gossas is convinced that the local and regional levels of government are the relevant scales for implementing global climate action and operationalising the SDGs. Indeed, while States meet within the UNFCCC framework for strategic planning; regional governments are forums for implementing, monitoring and evaluating policies to combat the effects of climate change and collecting indicators for achieving the SDGs. Our commitment is clear. Therefore, the UN High-Level Week must reflect that in order to move faster towards the implementation of concrete climate actions, it is essential to strengthening the capacities of regional governments by enhancing access to funds and resources, as well as raising the voice of regions.