African climate activists demand a COP for the African people

By Annonciata BYUKUSENGE

Representatives of the African climate advocates meeting in Rwanda in the sidelines of the ongoing eighth African Regional Forum on Sustainable Development (ARFSD) have declared that the 27th Conference of Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP27) would not just be an African COP but a COP for the African people.

On this Tuesday, Kigali, Rwanda March 1 2022; cralifying the meaning of the declaration, Dr Augustine Ndjamnshi, the Chair of the Political and Technical Committee at the Pan African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA) said having COP27 in Africa is not the same as having African issues in the COP. 

The climate activists declared that ahead of COP 27 set to hold in Egypt later in the year, “Just Energy Transition and Financing Adaptation debates must be made the two twin agenda force the continent this year. 

“We are a continent poised for a giant industrial revolution and energy security for Africa is non-negotiable,” said Wanjira Mathai, the Vice President and Africa Director, World Resources Institute.

She said among other things that must be done ahead of COP27 is that Africa must agree on key issues that confront the continent and priority areas which will shape debates at the COP27, adding that this meeting in Kigali is one of the efforts towards the same.

Mithika Mwenda, the Executive Director, the PACJA said unless Africans decide to stick to together, there are many forces from without the continent whose interest is to fragment African people and governments and incapacitate common understanding of the problems and solutions that confront the continent.

“This fragmentation along low (70 per cent of who are from Africa) and middle income countries, small island nations among others, present real challenges for the African people in the UNFCCC discussion processes.

According to Mithika, while much still needs to be done, African CSOs are making strides in building capacities of negotiating groups and making governments understand the enormity of the challenges climate change portends for the continent.

The challenge however, said Augustine Ndjamnshi, the Chair, Political and Technical Committee of PACJA, “is that those who have the resources do not see things in the same way as we, in Africa do,” adding that without resources, Africa will not be able to tackle climate change. 

Yet, he added, COVID-19 has proved that resources are available but the sad thing is that those with resources only rise when the problem affects them.

Dr. Najwa Bourawi, the chair of the Board of the PACJA noted that as advocates, PACJA are ready to tackle the climate change challenge and save nature. “We are seeking the just way this can be done. The Sustainable Development Goals should produce tangible results for mankind and nature”.

The meeting in Kigali is taking place against the background of the Second scientific report released on February 28 by the Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change, which has once again proved that Africa is in great danger from climate change impacts.

The report confirmed that climate impacts are more severe as has previously been thought and that even If the world was to decabonise, “we are locked”.

The report noted that the tipping point is much closer than anticipated.

According to the CSOs, the report just highlighted why Climate justice matters. “The risk of dying from floods in a climate vulnerable countries such as Africa are 15% higher than the risk of mortality in a wealthier country and delaying action will trigger more impacts.

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