On Day 1 of COP22 holding in Marrakech, the theme was “Africa in Action.” Foreign Minister of Morocco and President of COP22, Salaheddine Mezouar, said in his opening remark that the conference being held “on African soil demonstrates a whole continent’s commitment to contributing to the global effort” to fight climate change. He emphasised the importance of helping all African countries fight climate change because the “sun does not ignore a village because it is small.”
The Africa pavilion, a large tent housing several separate country pavilions, was animated with big screens depicting desert, ocean, and forest scenes from around the continent. Space filled quickly with delegates, observers, and journalists as the opening plenary concluded and the conference was officially underway.
The pavilion will host many events throughout the 11 days. Getting rural areas more reliable access to energy and working with the international civil aviation industry were just two of the panel discussions taking place on Tuesday.
Several countries hosted events and panel discussions to highlight each of their efforts in climate action. Tunisia and Ethiopia partnered to discuss with German representatives how the three could create carbon market-based solutions to dealing with their environmental issues. Tunisia is especially interested in involving its cement sector. Nigeria also scheduled an event there on that day, where Environment Minister of State, Ibrahim Jibril, briefed members of the country’s delegation to the COP.
The Paris Agreement included a provision for “Loss and Damage,” a term that refers to what Pacific Island nations and the poorest countries around the world face as a result of natural disasters. A panel of scientists discussed climate insurance, of particular help to African farmers facing drought.
Information booths have been set up in a separate area of the venue as well to help make sense of the information being disseminated to participants. Hosts include climate activist organisations, private sector businesses, and academic research organisations.