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AGN commits to multi-stakeholder engagement as PACJA strategises for COP28

The African Group of Negotiators on Climate Change (AGN) has committed to multistakeholder engagements for the development of Africa’s unified position regarding the continent’s climate change and development aspirations as the continent looks forward to COP28 later in the year.

AGN Chair, Ephraim Mwepya Shitima (third from left); Jean Paul of UNECA (second from left); and PACJA Executive Director, Mithika Mwenda (second from right), at the multi-stakeholder meeting

Speaking on Wednesday, February 15, 2023, at a Multistakeholder Consultation and Strategy meeting for COP28 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, AGN Chair, Ephraim Mwepya Shitima, said the African group remains committed to engaging with, and providing technical guidance and support to all stakeholders ranging from political leaders, civil society and other development actors to ensure Africa’s success at climate change negotiations.

Mr. Shitima noted the importance of continuous engagements among stakeholders to ensure that Africa remains united and speaking with one voice. 

“As AGN, we take stakeholder engagements and consultations very seriously as they provide us with different views and positions that we have to advance in the negotiations, thereby cementing our legitimacy to speak for the continent,” said Shitima, adding that the AGN is “determined to build on the successes we achieved at COP27 and strengthen areas where we did not do well as we head to COP28 and will rely on inputs from all stakeholders.”

The AGN Chair also emphasised the group’s desire and strategy to increase the number of women negotiators in support of gender equality and in view of the unanimous agreement that women are on the frontlines of climate change not only in Africa but globally.

“In order to ensure that we grow the AGN and in support of gender equality, we are partnering with UNDP to host a capacity training workshop for young negotiators, focusing mostly on young women. This is important as the strength of any group lies in grooming young people. In view of the importance of gender equality, we have given priority to young female negotiators as it is unanimously agreed that women are on the frontlines fighting climate change impacts. We thus believe that increasing the number of female negotiators adds to our strength as a negotiating block,” said Shitima.

And speaking at the same function, the Pan African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA) Executive Director, Mithika Mwenda, paid tribute to the AGN for its continued key role in pushing Africa’s agenda in the climate change negotiation process and called on African governments to get actively involved in the technical processes to ensure unity of purpose.

Dr. Mwenda said PACJA wishes to see a unified approach at both the technical and high-level engagements to ensure that there is no misrepresentation of Africa’s interests and aspirations.

“The Africa Group of Negotiators (AGN) played a key role in the negotiations at COP27; we therefore encourage everyone to be fully involved in the negotiations so as to have a stronger voice in the negotiation rooms. This meeting is therefore important to put in place a strategy to ensure unity of purpose as Africa heads to COP28,” said Dr. Mwenda.

Earlier, United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA’s) Director for Technology, Climate Change and Natural Resources management, Jean Paul, highlighted the increasing costs associated with climate change impacts in Africa and the need for an interlinked approach to addressing them.

He said an analysis by UNCEA has revealed that Africa requires in excess of $400 billion for climate adaptation by 2030.

“Our approach is to ensure that climate change is not treated as a single development issue but rather be tackled in a systematic and holistic manner – addressing all interlinked issues as they relate to the continent’s development and achievement of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs),” said Jean Paul.

To ensure a coordinated approach from all stakeholders, PACJA convened a two-day Continental Strategy workshop from February 15 to 16, 2023, in Addis Ababa, on the sidelines of the 36th Ordinary Session of the African Union Heads of State and Government Summit.

The meeting, which brought together key stakeholders from public, civil and private sector, was aimed at strategizing and shaping a common framework for the continent’s advocacy and participation at COP28. The AGN Chair was part of the engagement to highlight the group’s priorities for 2023 to ensure unity of purpose for Africa.

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