Its time to make a deal – African groups insist

A cross-section of African civil society leaders at the conference (PHOTO: ClimateReporters/Atayi Babs)
A cross-section of African civil society leaders at the conference (PHOTO: ClimateReporters/Atayi Babs)

By Atayi Babs in Paris

As negotiations at the Paris climate conference enter final hours, African civil society groups under auspices of Pan African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA) have tasked all stakeholders to ensure that a comprehensive, fair, ecologically just and legally binding agreement for a new treaty is delivered by the end of this week.

“Anything less will be unacceptable to the long-suffering people of the continent of Africa,” the civil society activists warned.

Speaking at a press conference earlier today, Sam Ogallah decried “the present reality at the conference which saw countries spending the first week restating their old positions leaving most of the key debates unresolved.”

Ogallah who is of the Pan-African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA) further called on Ministers to urgently inject energy into the process this week so that the agreement is fair enough reflecting the principle of CBDR and addresses the issues of loss and damage, finance for adaptation and mitigation and keeping the global warming well below 1.50C.

Africa welcomes the current pledges made to the GCF by Paris, Vietnam and Norway, but this is not enough — particularly from the adaptation point of view. The total amount in the GCF  so far is even too little for adaptation actions in Africa alone given the latest estimates of the UNEP Adaptation Gap Report, which says that costs for adaptation alone could rise to a level of 100 to 200 billion dollars per year in 2050 even if the 2 degree limit is kept.

According to Azeb Girma of LDC Watch “there is serious need for financial support for adaptation in African countries, therefore GCF pledges need to increase. For the 2020 goal of 100 billion dollars per year, Paris is yet to make any serious progress on clarifying a pathway to achieve it.” Additionally, the question of how climate finance can be scaled up predictably after 2020 remains unresolved with some developed countries obstructing discussions of a post-2020 pathway,” Azeb,  added.

“The time for posturing and sloganeering is over; it is time to make a deal. Paris may be the last chance we have to break the standoff that has prevented adequate climate action for decades. Negotiators can make history this week, but it is up to them to lead and not to fail,’ Rebecca Muna of ForumCC, Tanzania declared.

“Among the burning issues at the core of the negotiations are how the agreement will differentiate between countries to determine their responsibility to act, how country’s initial commitments will be assessed for their adequacy and fairness, how financial support for poor nations will be included in the new agreement, and how developed countries will meet their promise to mobilize $100 billion by 2020 in funding to support climate action in poor countries,” Augustine Njamnshi from BCDP, Cameroon and Technical/Political Affairs Chair of PACJA said.

African groups at the conference believe that countries must agree to phase out fossil-fuel emissions to zero and lead the world to a renewable energy future if the Paris treaty is to make a difference.

Actions on adaptation and compensation for loss and damage must be addressed with regard to their true scale and be at the core of the Paris agreement. The businesses causing the problem must be held accountable and victims of their dirty actions must be duly compensated.


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