Africa Takes Firm Stance on Climate Change
Africa will neither accept replacement of the Kyoto Protocol, nor its merger with any new agreement, say African climate change negotiators meeting in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia at the last African major preparatory gathering, before the UN Climate Change negotiations in Copenhagen in December.
Negotiators say actions for Africa should be voluntary and nationally appropriate, and must be fully supported and enabled by technology transfer, finance and capacity building from developed countries. Added to this, any new climate deal must include provision for Africa to be compensated for climate related social and economic losses.
Negotiators also made a strong bid for new, sustained and scaled-up finance to provide technology and capacity to assist with adaptation and risk management related to a changing climate. A key point from the meeting said the provision of financial, technological and capacity building by developed countries for adaptation in developing countries is a commitment under the Convention that must be urgently fulfilled.
It recognises that climate change is an additional burden to sustainable development, and a threat to achieving the Millennium Development Goals. Climate change threatens some 20-30 percent of species in Africa with extinction if trends continue. According to a detailed study by Mozambique’s national Disaster Management Institute, Mozambique will be overwhelmed by more natural disasters like cyclones, floods, droughts and disease outbreak as a result of climate change in the next twenty years and beyond.
Negotiators said that Africa, as the most vulnerable continent, which has contributed the least to the global greenhouse gas emissions, deserves full support to adapt to climate change. In addition, negotiators stated that for Africa, successful negotiations at the UN Climate Meeting in December in Copenhagen must produce a 2-track outcome. This translates as amendment of Annex B, which includes all developed countries of the Kyoto Protocol for further commitments for the second and subsequent commitment periods of the Protocol.
They are also requesting a separate legal instrument for the outcome of the negotiations of the Bali Action Plan, which include long term goals for emission reductions, enhanced action on mitigation of climate change, enhanced action on adaption, technology development and provision of financial resources.
Developed countries must reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by at least 40% below 1990 levels by 2020 and at least 80% to 95% below 1990 levels by 2050, in order to achieve the lowest level of stabilisation assessed by the IPCC’s Fourth Assessment Report. Negotiators concluded by saying that any Copenhagen outcome must provide new, additional, sustainable, accessible and predictable finance to support a comprehensive international programme on adaptation that reduces vulnerability and increases resilience to current impacts and changes that are likely to occur in the future.
Africa reaffirms the UNFCCC principle of common, but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities and that these should form the basis for the post-2012 regime. The updated and consolidated African Common Position will be submitted to African Ministers and Heads of State on the eve of the COP- 15 in Copenhagen.
The meeting was the initiative of AMCEN and the African Union, (AU), in collaboration with the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).