African MPs to craft common stand on climate change

November 9, 2015 1:53 pm
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He said the Paris conference will be a historic opportunity to accelerate the shift to a low-carbon, climate-resilient global economy/AFP
He said the Paris conference will be a historic opportunity to accelerate the shift to a low-carbon, climate-resilient global economy/AFP
NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 9 – Legislators from African Parliaments are meeting in Nairobi to draft a common position on climate change to be presented during the UN Conference on Climate Change in Paris set for November 30 to December 11.

Emuhaya MP Wilbur Ottichilo said a common decision would put to an end years of debate on who is best suited to represent the continent’s interests at global negotiations.

“As we head to Paris, we need as a continent to go with one position. What is the African position on climate change? As you know, Africa is the least in terms of contributing to climate change globally. The amount of emission that Africa emits to global warming is so minimal; it’s actually less than 4 percent, so we are highly aggrieved as a continent,” he said of the three day summit slated to begin Wednesday.

Ottichilo, who is a member of the Parliamentary Network on Renewable Energy and Climate Change said lawmakers are uniquely positioned to influence the shape and content of their respective national energy and development agendas and their implementation processes.

He said the target is to ensure that all countries are capable of keeping the global average temperature rise below 2 degrees Celsius and avoiding dangerous climate change.

He said the Paris conference will be a historic opportunity to accelerate the shift to a low-carbon, climate-resilient global economy.

“In Paris we expect more than 120 Presidents to convene to discuss the next agreement after the Kyoto Protocol and as you know very well climate change has become a very emotive because the countries who are responsible for the green house gas emission into the atmosphere which damage the ozone layer, have refused to reduce their emissions,” Ottichilo said.

At the Nairobi talks, parliamentarians will explore how they can use this position to transform the extractives and renewable energy sectors through legislation, regulation and scrutiny.

Among the issues to discussed is how Africa can benefit from increased opportunities for businesses that manage risks associated with climate change, and increased opportunities for participation in carbon markets and other clean development mechanism projects.

“How are we going to position ourselves so that we can benefit from the funds that will be given under the Climate Change Convention that can be available for capacity building and more importantly how are we as a continent going to position ourselves to access to financing which is necessary to mitigate against climate change,” said the Emuhaya MP.

Parliamentarians representing Kenya, Cameroon, Nigeria, Namibia, Sierra Leone, Zambia and the United Kingdom will gain knowledge and share examples of success and best practice in parliamentary action on energy and sustainable development, with experts from the private sector, civil society and international organisations.

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