ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia, Feb 11 – “Drawing attention to the climate crisis can contribute to a peaceful continent as it will address food insecurity and climate related migration and conflict over resources which are key contributors to strife,” this was the message delivered to the African Union Heads of State Summit in Addis Ababa by the Pan African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA).
Despite the 33rd African Union (AU) Heads of State and Government Summit not fully focusing on climate change, with the overall theme being “Silencing the guns: Creating Conducive Conditions for Africa’s Development”, PACJA put forward a strong case the climate crisis.
The Climate for Development (ClimDev) Africa partners; the African Climate Policy Centre of UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), the African Union Commission (AUC), the African Development Bank (AfDB) and PACJA, hosted a roundtable on the sidelines of the summit, held on February 9 and 10, 2020 under the theme “The Global Climate Crisis and the implications on Africa’s Future”.
The roundtable meeting that took place Sunday and continue into Monday, sought to “reflect and take stock of the UNFCCC-COP 25 outcomes, and the implications for the African people. The keynote speaker at the event was Amb Seyni Nafo, who is the Coordinator, African Adaptation Initiative and African Group of Negotiators Spokesperson.
Ambassador Nafo, in his address, said there was a paradigm shift in the COP negotiations, as the African Heads of State wanted to hear about solutions to climate change from the experts. “The complex geo-political economy is shaping the climate change discourse, where energy is driving investments globally. Translation of important climate decisions into action on the ground in Africa should be emphasized,” he said.
Of key importance for the meeting was how Africa stood to be affected by the decisions made at the COP25 meet in Madrid, Spain in December 2019, and what would be the best way forward.
Africa failed to achieve a special case status at the COP25, and grapples with challenges from finances, technology transfer, infrastructure improvement for the sake of adaptation and mitigation of the climate crisis.
The Roundtable meeting therefore deliberated on what “Africa stakeholders should focus on, especially in the advent of the NDCs implementation in 2020, shaping its resilient future and its approach to the international dialogue on climate change moving forward”.
“Meeting the climate challenge still means keeping below the benchmark threshold of 1.5 degrees Celsius, and thus limiting climate-induced loss and damage effectively,” read a statement from the two day meeting.
According to PACJA Executive Director, Mithika Mwenda who addressed the roundtable meet yesterday, Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) need to work with governments and ensure maximum access to green climate fund to enable capacity building and ensure maximum addressing of the climate crisis.
“Let us work on the policies that will enable the wellbeing of the African people. Push for the policies that will ensure the right knowledge is imparted to the people to ensure preparedness for disaster and development of adaptive infrastructure for the sake of minimising deaths when disasters strike,” he added.
Mithika addressed “Countdown to COP26: Main milestones, events and Actors” while Joseph Masembe, Programme, the Sub-Committee Chair, ACW-2020 National Organising Committee, Uganda, tackled the “Africa Climate Week” topic, laying out key preparations and what should be expected in the April week-long event.