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South Africa calls for robust multilateral response to climate change

South Africa on Monday, December 9, 2019 called for a robust multilateral response to climate change in a way that would assist African and other developing countries to adapt to the associated loss and damage.

Barbara Creecy
Barbara Creecy

The Minister of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries, Barbara Creecy, said this before leaving for Madrid, Spain to attend the ongoing Climate Change Conference under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) (COP25).

Developing countries must secure the finance, technology and other support they require to combat climate change and to transition their economies to more sustainable development pathways, Creecy said.

She recently assumed the Presidency of the African Ministerial Conference on the Environment (AMCEN) and, in this capacity, has a mandate to advance Africa’s shared priorities.

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For Africa and all UN member states, the impacts of climate change are real and most felt by the poor and vulnerable groups in society, the minister said.

According to Creecy, over the past year, every sub-region of Africa has experienced weather events that have caused considerable loss of life and destruction.

South Africa, for example, is experiencing unprecedented increases in the frequency and intensity of heatwaves, bush fires, and droughts, which are placing a tremendous burden on its stressed water resources, said Creecy.

“Given this reality, it is imperative for South Africa to contribute to securing a robust multilateral response to climate change,” the minister said.

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The Madrid conference’s priority task is to finalise the implementation guidelines for the Paris Agreement, which becomes fully operational in 2020.

This includes, in particular, reaching an agreement on a market mechanism to replace the current Clean Development Mechanism of the Kyoto Protocol.

Creecy said market mechanisms need to incentivize climate action to achieve the global goal of the Paris Agreement.

“The new market must benefit Africa and help finance our adaptation efforts,” Creecy said.

Africa also requires the Madrid conference to recognise the special needs and circumstances of African countries and to advance work towards achieving the Paris Agreement’s global goal on adaptation, review the work of the Warsaw Mechanism on Loss and Damage and the Gender Action Plan, Creecy said.

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The conference comes at a pivotal moment where science is sending a clear message that the world faces a climate emergency and that everybody needs to act with a renewed sense of urgency, said the minister.

South Africa is fully committed to contributing to the success of the conference, she said.

The Climate Change Conference started on Dec. 2 in Spain and will end on Dec. 13. 

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