African Countries Deserve an Enhanced Climate Ambition

Credit: Benny Jackson on Unsplash

By Robert Muthami
NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 4 2018 (IPS)

African countries have been at the climate-change negotiating
table for more than 20 years. The continent faces some of the most
severe impacts of climate change, but questions remain over its
adaptive capacity despite this engagement.

African civil society organizations, trade unions and
governments have advocated for three main means of implementation:
climate finance for adaptation and mitigation; technology transfer;
and capacity building.

The latter is aimed at facilitating and enhancing the ability of
individuals, organizations and institutions in African countries to
identify, plan and implement ways to adapt and mitigate to climate
change. African countries are participating in the 24th Conference
of the Parties (COP24) to the United Nations Framework Convention
Climate Change (UNFCCC) currently taking place in Katowice, Poland
from 2 to 14 December.

Through the Paris Work Programme (PAWP) expected to be adopted
in Poland, African countries expect that COP 24 will deliver on the
continent’s expectations with regards to facilitating climate
resilience.

Climate finance for adaptation and
mitigation

Climate change is impacting all economies in Africa, a continent
highly dependent on agriculture. The impact is increasing the
already high inequality, as resources meant for investment in
social amenities are being channelled into climate-change
adaptation.

In this case, due to climate change related disasters like
droughts and flooding, there is an adverse impact on agricultural
production—namely food insecurity. Therefore, resources meant to
provide other services like universal and affordable health care,
expansion of infrastructure and other social services for the poor
are channelled to climate change response initiatives.

Panel Discussion for Kenyan Delegation Reflecting on the
Progress of Agenda Items after UNFCCC-SB48. Credit: FES Kenya

During the COP 16, the world’s developed countries agreed to
mobilize 100 billion US dollars per year by the year 2020 for
adaptation and mitigation in developing countries. This is still a
pipe dream as only 10 billion US dollars have been mobilized so far
since the establishment of the Green Climate Fund (GCF) in 2006 to
date.

Additionally, African countries continue to face difficulties in
accessing the funds as they are on a perpetual treadmill of
paperwork to even qualify to receive any of the funds earmarked for
them. Is imperative of global social justice that this funding be
fast-tracked.

As countries head to Poland, African nations approach the
negotiations with the hope that issues dealing with transparency
and accountability on climate financing will be made clearer and
smoother.

Otherwise, African countries will be obliged to divert more
domestic resources to meeting their commitments under their
Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC), which could affect other
development priorities.

If promised international funding is not forthcoming and the
shortfall needs to be made up from scarce domestic resources, this
can mean these resources are no longer available at national level
for example for social protection measures or food security. The
decision in Poland should therefore be clear on provision,
transparency and accountability of climate financing.

Technology transfer and capacity building
Many adaptation and mitigation solutions will require technology as
well as financing, for the purposes of innovation and upscaling
across various sectors. Technology transfer, therefore, is critical
for African countries.

One of the concerns for African countries is the sheer lack of
capacity to implement new technologies for climate-change
responses. But Africa has the potential to also transfer technology
to the north if the existing low carbon technologies that
incorporate the already existing indigenous knowledge of African
countries are expanded.

Therefore, a provision for reverse transfer from South to North
with regard to technology should also be provided. At the moment
the discussion is being handled as North–South transfer only.

Robert Muthami engaging Kenyan Participants during the Post
UNFCCC-SB48 Reflection Workshop. Credit: FES Kenya

Africa is also cautious of becoming a testing ground for new
technologies. Therefore, technologies from the north should be
tried and tested before being transferred to Africa—for example
short-lived solar panel technologies that end up being very
expensive in the long run—a key issue that needs to be part of
the discussions at COP 24.

Finally, the means of implementation, especially climate finance
and capacity building on uptake and implementation, are critical
for technology transfer to work in Africa.

Climate change needs to be tackled on a global level and
in a just manner

The climate-change crisis is now being felt in developed countries.
As Europe and America battle wildfires amid massive heat waves over
the past year, the impact in Africa is felt even stronger.

The increasing frequency of droughts and flooding, and
consequently increased risk of violent conflict in already volatile
regions, present a major threat to livelihoods on the African
continent. Looking ahead to Poland, it is the hope of African
countries that these impacts will be reflected in the outcome
document.

Lastly, as parties move towards operationalization of the Paris
Agreement, it is important to ensure that the commitments towards
promoting decent work and a just transition are properly
articulated in the Paris Work Programme.

This is key because climate change is already having significant
impacts on the world of work in Africa. Over 60 per cent of
Africa’s economically active population works in and lives off
the agricultural sector, which is adversely affected by climate
change.

The transition to low-carbon economies offers great potential
for green jobs creation, in areas such as the renewable-energy
sector. This transition process however means that current existing
jobs that do not offer sustainable production methods will be at a
risk. It is important to ensure that this transition happens in a
socially just and inclusive manner.

Therefore, a socially and ecologically just outcome from COP 24
must take into consideration the African demands on the means of
implementation (climate finance, technology transfer and capacity
building) for adaptation and mitigation as well as the necessity of
a just transition.

This outcome should also facilitate the realization of the
targets of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), especially
goals 8, 10 and 13, which focus on promoting decent work,
addressing inequality and climate action.

*For more information on the work by FES in Kenya visit the country office website
and follow
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African Countries Deserve an Enhanced Climate Ambition
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Excerpt:

Robert Muthami is a Programme Coordinator at
the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung, Kenya Office. He coordinates work
around socio-ecological transformation

The post
African Countries Deserve an Enhanced Climate Ambition
appeared
first on Inter Press
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Source: FS – All – Ecology – News
African Countries Deserve an Enhanced Climate Ambition