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Thursday, December 12, 2013

Africa unites on Climate Change negotiations

African Ministers of the Environment have agreed on a unified continental position at the Conference of Parties (COP) to the 19th United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) negotiations in Warsaw, Poland, reports NaijaAgroNet.

Correspondent gathered that the jointly organized event with the NEPAD Agency, African Union Commission and the Environment ministries, saw to the consultative meeting also attended by some Heads of State and chaired by Dr Terezya Huvisa, Minister of State for Environment, Tanzania.

Dr. Huvisa said that with 96 per cent of African agriculture dependent on rainfall and 50 per cent of fisheries related jobs estimated to be lost by 2050, climate change poses unimaginable consequences to livelihoods in Africa.

Thus, the ministers were forthright in calling for a new climate regime that is legally binding and which addresses the continent’s needs after the current regime, which is at end of the Kyoto protocol in 2015.

At the, NaijaAgroNet reports that Warsaw talks the continent will engage the global community on negotiations relating to climate change adaptation measures which Africa, led by the Conference of African Heads of States on Climate Change (CAHOSCC) has consistently flagged as a priority for the continent.

NaijaAgroNet recalls that Africa is responsible for less than three per cent of total global emissions yet bears the brunt of climate change, hence calling for a post Kyoto climate change agreement that is binding, rules-based; predictable, robust, clear, enforceable and scientifically-sound.

The African Ministers also pointed out that historical responsibility in greenhouse gas emissions as well as loss and damage should be addressed in the new agreement. The African group will negotiate on issues such as a programme of work on adaptation, technology transfer and development, capacity development and climate change finance.

Director of Programme Implementation and Coordination at the NEPAD Agency, Mrs Estherine Fotabong expressed confidence in the work of the ministerial body particularly as the continent speaks with one voice and with a unified position. She pledged that NEPAD is always available to assist the AMCEN technically towards presenting a common position for the continent.

“We shall push for all developed countries to commit to new and additional public finance over the period 2013-15, in a way that is transparent and predictable” said Mr Emmanuel Dlamini from the Kingdom of Swaziland who is the chair of the African Group of Negotiators.

The ministerial group indicated that the continent will negotiate for the implementation of commitments made under previous COPs and ensure that mechanisms established from previous decisions such as finance, technology transfer are pursued. The group singled out commitment of new and additional finance that must clearly demonstrate year-on-year increases for climate change initiatives on the continent.

While recognizing the need for Africa to increase domestic resources allocated to Environment and Climate adaptation, they strongly reiterated the obligation of developed countries to allocate public resources to support adaptation actions in developing countries. The idea of an African Climate Change Fund was mooted and supported.

Isaac Oyimah with agency report/GEE
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