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Tuesday, November 29, 2022

‘Outraged’ activists flay removal of Africa’s special needs from COP27 agenda

Following the confirmation of the removal of Africa’s special needs and circumstances from the discussion’s agenda of COP27 on Monday, November 7, 2022, the African civil society under the auspices of Pan African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA) has called on the COP27 Presidency and the African Union Commission to urgently wade in and address the situation.

African civil society
African civil society under the auspices of Pan African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA)

The activists had claimed on Sunday at a media session that they received intelligence about the impending development.

“We are outraged by the removal of Africa’s special needs and circumstances from the agenda of COP27. This development sets the stage for another COP that will fail millions of Africans dying unjustly from the adverse impacts of climate change and strengthen big polluters to continue ruining the planet with impunity,” they declared in a statement, adding:

“Consequently, we call on the COP27 President, the Egyptian Minister of Foreign Affairs Sameh Shoukry, as the bearer of the aspirations of the African people to put his foot down and ensure we do not lose on other fronts. And urge the African Union Commission, through the Committee of African Heads of State on Climate Change, to meet urgently to unite African voices and reassess the future of Africa in UNFCCC processes.”

According to them, Africa is a region with special needs and circumstances under international climate law as articulated in Article 4.1. (e) of the UNFCCC.

“The region suffers more server climate change impacts than most parts of the world mainly because it is exposed to unrivalled weather extremes; is heavily dependent on climate-sensitive sectors such as rain-fed agriculture for economic services and livelihoods and has the least capacity to respond adequately to climatic stresses due to chronic poverty.

“Because the continent is warming roughly 1.5 times faster than the global average, it is exposed to disproportionally severe impacts even at safe global warming threshold of 1.5 degrees Celsius. As the least industrialised and lowest energy-consuming region of the world, Africa accounts for 4% of global emissions.”

The added: “But efforts to implement this recognition have been unsuccessful despite the provisions of Article 4.1. (e) of the UNFCCC, which had been upheld in several COP decisions and reports until the Paris Agreement. In the meantime, Africa has suffered a heavy toll of impacts with loss and damage across communities and critical development sectors. Every future model forecasts “widespread and severe impacts” on the continent, even with the best mitigation effort.

“Addressing the climate crisis can only succeed if the international community addresses the climate injustices faced by Africa. After the failures of previous COPs to truly address this concern, COP27 presented a unique opportunity to put Africa at the centre of negotiations and decisions. It is now evident to us that this is no longer likely. We, therefore, call on African leaders to side with the suffering masses and take the bold decisions needed to safeguard their aspirations.”

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