Outraged over removal of Africa’s special needs & circumstances from COP27 Agenda

Photo from the Press Conference at COP27

African Civil Society groups today expressed outrage after receiving confirmed intelligence reports of the removal from the COP27 Agenda, one of their core asks at the COP; the consideration of Africa as a special needs and circumstances region.

The campaigners expressed their outrage in a press conference held on November 7, 2022, under the auspices of the Pan African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA).

According to the CSOs, the development sets the stage for another COP that will fail millions of Africans dying unjustly from the adverse impacts of climate change and strengthen big polluters to continue ruining the planet with impunity.

“We call on the COP27 President, the Egyptian Minister of Foreign Affairs Sameh Shoukry, as the bearer of the aspirations of the African people to put his foot down and ensure we do not lose on other fronts. And urge the African Union Commission, through the Committee of African Heads of State on Climate Change, to meet urgently to unite African voices and reassess the future of Africa in UNFCCC processes,” said Mithika Mwenda, the Executive Director of PACJA while reading the statement by the CSOs in Sharma El Sheikh in Egypt.

According to the CSOs, Africa is a region with special needs and circumstances under international climate law, as articulated in Article 4.1. (e) of the UNFCCC.

They asserted that Africa suffers more severe climate change impacts than most parts of the world mainly because it is exposed to unrivalled weather extremes, is heavily dependent on climate-sensitive sectors such as rain-fed agriculture for economic services and livelihoods and has the least capacity to respond adequately to climatic stresses due to chronic poverty.

The CSOs leaders presented noted that the continent is warming roughly 1.5 times faster than the global average and is exposed to disproportionally severe impacts even at a safe global warming threshold of 1.5 degrees Celsius.

As the least industrialized and lowest energy-consuming region of the world, Africa accounts for 4% of global emissions.

But efforts to implement this recognition have been unsuccessful despite the provisions of Article 4.1. (e) of the UNFCCC, which had been upheld in several COP decisions and reports until the Paris Agreement.

In the meantime, Africa has suffered a heavy toll of impacts with loss and damage across communities and critical development sectors. Every future model forecasts “widespread and severe impacts” on the continent, even with the best mitigation effort.

The climate activists said addressing the climate crisis can only succeed if the international community addresses the climate injustices faced by Africa. After the failures of previous COPs to truly address this concern, COP27 presented a unique opportunity to put Africa at the centre of negotiations and decisions. It is now evident to us that this is no longer likely.

“We, therefore, call on African leaders to side with the suffering masses and take the bold decisions needed to safeguard their aspirations,” noted Mwenda.

Citing the renowned Arnold Schwarzenegger, actor and former Governor of California, Mithika said, “I’ve starred in a lot of science fiction movies and, let me tell you something, climate change is not science fiction. This is a battle in the real world, it is impacting us right now.” Then who are we to this go? We have not lost hope”.


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