In a response to the decision to postpone the 26th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP26) to the UNFCCC due to the global COVID-19 crisis, the African Group of Negotiators on Climate Change (AGN) has emphasised the vulnerability of African countries to the negative impacts of climate change.
The group also called on developed countries to agree on a path forward to close the climate finance gap in 2020, even as it stressed the importance of holding COP27 in 2021.
Tanguy Gahouma-Bekale, AGN Chair and Vice-President of the Bureau of COP/CMP/CMA, states that the AGN stands in solidarity with countries affected by COVID-19, and stresses the importance for all nations to continue to build momentum for ambitious climate action.
Gahouma-Bekale highlights 2020 as “an important year for the completion of the rules of the Paris Agreement and the Communication of revised and updated Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) as well as the start of the implementation of the Paris Agreement.”
He laments the postponement due to COVID-19 of many events which are crucial to building political momentum before the sessions of the UNFCCC subsidiary bodies and COP26.
The AGN emphasises the urgency for all nations to take ambitious collective climate action at COP26. Highlighting African countries’ vulnerability to the effects of climate change, the group notes scientists have warned that the world has reached a “tipping point.”
The AGN calls on developed countries to close the climate finance gap by the end of 2020 despite the postponement of the COP, in line with the commitment by developed countries to provide $100 billion per year by 2020 to support developing countries’ climate adaptation and mitigation efforts.
However, the statement notes, a September 2019 report by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) found that developed countries provided only $71.2 billion in climate finance to developing countries in 2017.
The AGN also maintains that the UNFCCC should hold COP27 in Africa in 2021, as originally planned, stating that the timing of the COPs “must be linked to the urgent need of addressing the climate emergency.”
By Gabriel Gordon-Harper, SDG Knowledge Hub