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Sunday, December 10, 2023

Africa Climate Week: Experts discuss needs, priorities ahead of COP27

Gabon’s President Ali Bongo Ondimba, among other experts, have called for continuous collective efforts and urgent action to safeguard the African continent from climate change.

Africa Climate Week
Delegates at the 2022 Africa Climate Week

In a statement from the Communication and External Relations Department, African Development Bank (AfDB) on Thursday, September 1, 2022, Ondimba made the call at the 2022 Africa Climate Week which opened in Libreville, Gabon on Monday.

The Gabonese president highlighted his country’s efforts to boost climate action and called for continuous collective efforts.

“For more than 10 years, we have intensified our efforts to protect our remarkable forestry heritage and build a low-carbon economy.

“Consequently, Gabon, which has already achieved the objectives set by the Paris Agreement, is considered the most carbon-positive country in the world.”

Also speaking, Patricia Janet Scotland, Secretary-General of the Commonwealth of Nations, said the continent should be able to respond to the situation of climate change.

“If we choose, we can be the solution we need, Africa can be the answer. And this is our time. 

“We are the first generation to suffer the consequences of climate change but we are the last generation able to do anything about it.”

Egyptian Foreign Minister, Sameh Shoukry, said that Africans should work to secure the climate, given the disproportionate impact climate change was projected to have on Africa as compared to other regions

Shoukry is also the designated president of COP27. 

He said: “African governments and all other African voices, be they civil society, youth, women’s groups, farmers, workers, academia and the thriving African private sector, should all continue to call for climate justice.” 

Furthermore, the African Union’s Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture, Josefa Sacko, urged African countries to maintain a common stance as the continent tackled the impacts of climate change to achieve its long-term goals.

Also, Kevin Kariuki, AfDB Group Vice President for Power, Energy, Climate and Green Growth, said a just transition was about “greening the economy”.

“In such a way that it is fair and inclusive, and that ensures the costs and benefits of the transition to low carbon and climate-resilient development are shared across the entire economy.”

A representative of the youth, Omnia El Omrani, however, said that commitments to climate action in Africa needed accelerating. 

“It’s time for real action. Let this generation be the last generation to face the climate crisis,” El Omrani said.

The Africa Climate Week, which has more than 1,200 delegates, provides a crucial platform for the continent to address social inequalities and invest in development to advance climate action and safeguard people and ecosystems.

The opening session featured a ministerial dialogue on the challenges of mobilising and accessing climate finance at scale to spur the implementation of countries’ Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), and priority national climate plans and strategies.

According to the statement, Africa Climate Week is taking place under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and is a crucial step on the road to COP27, which will be held in Egypt in November.

It is also one of a series of regional climate weeks, which gave a voice to a range of actors and partners: civil society, women, local communities and financial institutions. 

The event offers a forum for discussion on how to contribute most effectively to COP27 and achieve the Paris Agreement objectives. 

The 2022 UNFCCC will take place from Nov. 6 to 18 in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt.

By Temitope Ponle

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