COP 25: ‘Africa’s future depends on solidarity’ Leaders and development partners rally around climate change goals

Credit: AFDB

By External Source
MADRID, Spain, Dec 13 2019 (IPS-Partners)

There was standing room only as ministers, diplomats, activists
and journalists gathered at the IFEMA conference centre in Madrid
to mark Africa Day at the COP 25 climate meeting.

Speakers called for a united front to tackle the challenges of
climate change in Africa.

In the opening statement for Africa Day on Tuesday, Yasmin
Fouad, Egypt’s Minister of Environmental Affairs, on behalf of
the African Union, said: “We have, and will continue to engage
and to seek landing grounds on the outstanding issues. But we must
flag our concern at the apparent reluctance by our interlocutors to
engage on issues of priority to developing countries, as evidenced
by the large number of such issues which have simply been pushed
from session to session without any progress.”

Africa contributes the least to global warming emissions yet is
the continent most vulnerable to climate change, as witnessed by
devastating natural disasters recently. Africa Day has been held at
the conference every year since COP 17 in 2011 to rally support for
the continent’s cause.

“The climate disaster issues confronting the continent demand
a predictable and unified response,” said UN ASG Mohamed
Beavogui, Director General of African Risk Capacity, an agency of
the African Union that helps governments respond to natural
disasters.

“Africa needs to move towards market-based innovative
financing models to achieve a strong, united, resilient and
globally influential continent. The future of Africa depends on
solidarity.”

Vera Songwe, Executive Secretary of the UN Economic Commission
for Africa (ECA), said the ECA would support African countries to
revise their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) to attract
private sector investments in clean energy.

“The lack of concerted and meaningful global ambition and
action to tackle climate change poses an existential threat to
African populations,” Songwe said.

The Paris Agreement is the guiding force of current climate
negotiations. It calls on nations to curb temperature increases at
2°C by the end of this century, while attempting to contain rises
within 1.5°C. The next step is to implement NDCs, which set out
national targets under the Paris Agreement.

While African countries outlined bold aspirations to build
climate resilient and low-carbon economies in their NDCs, the
continent’s position is that it should not be treated the same as
developed nations as its carbon emissions constitute a fraction of
the world’s big economies.

“The African Union Development Agency (AUDA-NEPAD) remains
committed to partnering with other institutions in providing the
requisite support to AU member states in reviewing and updating
their NDCs,” said Estherine Fotabong, Director of Programmes at
AUDA-NEPAD.

Barbara Creecy, South Africa’s Environment Minister and
current chair of the African Ministerial Conference on the
Environment, said the Africa Day event should come up with new
ideas to enhance the implementation of NDCs in Africa.

Africa is already responding positively to the challenge of
climate change, said Anthony Nyong, Director for Climate Change and
Green Growth at the African Development Bank, citing huge
investment interest in renewables at the Bank’s Africa Investment
Forum in Johannesburg.

“Clearly, we are a continent that has what it takes to create
the Africa that we want to see happen. I believe what has been the
missing link is the ability to brand right and to act on the market
signals,” Nyong said. “We continue to present Africa as a
vulnerable case and not as a business case with opportunities. In
fact, where we have attempted the latter, the results have been
spot-on.”

Chief Fortune Charumbira, Vice President of the Pan-African
Parliament, said robust climate legislation was key.

“The world’s response to the challenge has shown that
legislation is imperative to cement efforts employed by various
stakeholders; from the Paris Agreement to Nationally Determined
Contributions,” he said.

Amb. Josefa Sacko, Commissioner for Rural Economy and
Agriculture at the African Union Commission, said climate change
affected sectors key to Africa’s socio-economic development, such
as agriculture, livestock and fisheries, energy, biodiversity and
tourism. She called on African countries to take stock of the Paris
Agreement, and its implementation around finance capacity building
and technology.

Media contacts:
African Union
: Esther Azaa Tankou, Head of Information
Division, Directorate of Information and Communication, African
Union Commission, email: YambouE@africa-union.org

African Development Bank: Gershwin Wanneburg,
email: g.wanneburg@afdb.org

ECA: Sophia Denekew, email: Denekews.uneca@un.org

Pan-African Parliament: Ntsiuoa Sekete, email:
ntsiuoa.sekete@panafricanparliament.org

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COP 25: ‘Africa’s future depends on solidarity’ Leaders and
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COP 25: ‘Africa’s future depends on solidarity’ Leaders and development partners rally around climate change goals