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Tuesday, February 7, 2023

African climate lead coordinators meet to strategise ahead of COP27

Lead Coordinators of the African Group of Negotiators (AGN) are meeting in Sham El-Sheikh, Egypt, to strategise and consolidate Africa’s position on the various thematic climate negotiation issues ahead of COP27 scheduled for November 2022.

Sham El-Sheikh
Sham El-Sheikh, Egypt

Key on the discussion table is the importance of delivering on the special needs and special circumstances of Africa – a continent which is the least contributor to global greenhouse gas emissions (less than 4%) and yet the most adversely impacted region, as reaffirmed by the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reports.

According to the IPCC, Africa is already experiencing severe and widespread impacts of climate change, causing devastation to lives, livelihoods and the continent’s development trajectory.

According to AGN Chair, Ephraim Mwepya Shitima, this is a clear manifestation of climate injustice, which must be corrected.

“As COP27 takes place in Africa this November, there are high expectations that ‘the African COP’ will deliver substantive progress and implementable climate actions on the priority issues for Africa and other developing countries, including on adaptation, loss and damage and delivering on the pledges on climate finance, with the ultimate aim of correcting the injustice and getting the world on a path to a secure and safe climate future,” said Shitima.

In deliberating on Africa’s special needs and circumstances, the AGN Lead Coordinators’ Strategy Meeting is also spotlighting the continent’s energy poverty, with the latest statistics showing that over 600 million people have no access to electricity and 900 million people with no access to clean cooking.

However, this is against the backdrop of a heightened global campaign for countries to transition to clean and green energy sources. Africa will require support for just energy transition that ensures resources and technologies are made available to enable the continent achieve climate, energy and development goals.

But how does one without food react when asked to choose what to eat? This is the argument that the AGN team is putting across, highlighting the need to consider Africa’s special needs and circumstances in the context of the international climate policy discourse.

Other key issues of concern at the meeting include the need for scaled-up financial and technical support to implement Africa’s highly ambitious Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), in particular, adaptation finance through a call for grant-based financial resources for African countries and the need to expedite operationalisation of the Global Goal on Adaptation (GGA) under the Paris Agreement which will be a game changer for adaptation action and support.

The question on climate finance is as old as the climate negotiations. Still, the AGN team is determined to resolve it at COP27, including recommending an action plan for developed countries to deliver on their climate finance pledges. Their key ask is for developed countries to provide predictable and accessible funding for climate action on affordable and reasonable terms that do not further worsen the debt crisis; and, of course, deliver on their financial obligations in relation to the provision of a decade-plus pledge of $100 billion per annum.

The group also wants a clear and traceable delivery mechanism for the doubling of adaptation finance, a commitment made by developed countries in Glasgow in 2021, to avoid the mystery of the $100 billion per year, which has haunted negotiations since 2009.

The AGN team is also not overlooking Agriculture – the lifeblood of most African countries. Given its importance to most African countries’ food security and economic transformation, the AGN has firmly set its agenda on the need for a concrete and practical outcome through establishing an implementation mechanism to facilitate concrete actions and support climate-resilient agriculture in the continent.

Another key ask of the AGN at the “African COP” relates to delivering finance and technical support for loss and damage through the operationalisation of the Santiago Network for Loss and Damage to catalyse technical support as well as agree on fit-for-purpose funding arrangements for loss and damage to supporting developing countries effectively address loss and damage associated with climate change.

Notwithstanding the concentration on adaptation, the AGN’s call on developed countries to take their leadership role in climate action seriously and cut their emissions to achieve the global goal of 1.5 degrees. The group’s emphasis is also on the importance of support to implement conditional components of African countries and other developing countries’ NDCs to enable them effectively contribute.

Whichever one looks at it, the AGN is determined to ensure that COP27 dubbed the “African COP,” delivers for the continent that is clearly suffering from climate injustice.

By Friday Phiri, PAMACC News, Sham El Sheikh, Egypt

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