COMESA set to launch a carbon facility

June 30, 2008
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, NAIROBI, June 30 – The Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) is preparing to launch a Carbon facility for Africa.

The Carbon Facility will comprise of a commercial Fund and a grant component that will build the capacity of disadvantaged communities to participate in the global carbon economy. According to the United Nations’ panel of climate experts, Africa is “highly vulnerable” to the impacts of climate change.

Drivers include recurrent drought, degrading lands, declines in agricultural productivity, and widespread poverty.

In his opening remarks during a workshop held last week, COMESA Secretary General ad interim Sindiso Ngwenya, underscored the need to design a Carbon Facility that not only focuses on COMESA but brings all other regional economic communities on board.

This harmonization of African programmes is in line with the decision taken by Executives of SADC, EAC and COMESA at a meeting held recently in Maputo, Mozambique. “The COMESA region and Africa in general should speak with a unified voice and immediately find space to participate fully in the global Carbon market negotiations’’, noted Ngwenya.

For Africa to benefit from carbon markets, carbon credits should be issued and traded for afforestation, reforestation, agroforestry, enhanced natural regeneration, re-vegetation of degraded lands, reduced soil tillage, and other agricultural practices.

Some of the outputs from the workshop to be tabled at the forthcoming COMESA–EAC– SADC tripartite Summit in October this year, include the proposed framework of the Carbon Fund, criteria for pilot projects, policy and advocacy strategy detailing the scientific evidence of what Africa has to offer and potential financial returns from Carbon trading.

Climate change has serious implications for economic growth, sustainable development and the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) as it magnifies, intensifies and speeds up already serious threats to ecosystems and the people.

COMESA is spearheading the establishment of the Carbon Facility following the climate change meeting in Bali which endorsed the need for such a Facility.

The workshop was convened under the broader COMESA wide approach and programme on Climate Change within the context of the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) and the Environmental Action Plan of NEPAD.

The PTA Bank pledged its support and readiness to work with the African Development Bank to make a business case to not only protect the   environment in Africa but make a profitable business venture for Africa and in particular the small holder farmers.

“There is need for quick win pilot projects in several countries across different ecologies that will demonstrate Africa’s case,” said one of the delegates underlining that investors will be looking for safe investment destinations and good leadership at continental, regional and national levels.

During the workshop, private investors called on COMESA to take a leading role in raising the African Voice in the United Nations Framework Convention for Climate Change – Conference of the Parties (UNFCCC-COP) negotiations.

This should ensure that all of Africa’s carbon stocks are fully credited. The COMESA Climate Initiative will address climate, agriculture, conservation, and livelihoods through building knowledge and capacity and through place-based efforts in Africa as well as help Africa come up with a common position during negotiations of carbon protocols.

 

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