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Pan African Climate Justice Alliance Secretary General Mithika Mwenda has decried the lack of commitment in providing climate finance to developing countries and small island nations. 

Speaking during PACJA’s multi-stakeholder side event at the UNFCCC COP23 in Bonn, Germany on Wednesday, Mithika noted that even after years of negotiations, developed countries have refused to honour the commitments they made towards climate finance. 

“This world has vast resources, the problem is that they are concentrated among a few people while many people are suffering. We need to fight this inequality,” he said.

The CSO boss noted that PACJA conducted a study in 5 countries regarding the implementation of their nationally determined contributions (NDCs) and found that they have done little to nothing of what they set out to do.

“We come here to negotiate for two weeks, draft documents and go back home but we leave the documents to gather dust on a shelf until the next meeting. We have been doing this for 23 years, the problem is we have no commitment to support the implementation,” he quipped.

Mithika further lamented that the developed countries are insincere with their contributing, saying that there is a tendency of double county where funds meant for other actions are counted as being climate finance.

“We have seen funds that are meant to be for climate finance going to other actions such as financing a bottling company in Lagos,” he said.

He further stated that most of the funding coming to Africa is meant for mitigation, whereas the need on the continent is adaptation, adding that countries must increase their efforts on finance delivery.

His sentiments were echoed by Ajay K Jha, CECOECDECON India director, who noted that the climate action funds flowing to the Asia Pacific are inadequate to compensate the inhabitants for their suffering due to the impact of climate change.

Speaking during the event, Mr Jha said in 2016 the Asia Pacific suffered losses amounting to USD87 billion; USD77 billion of which was uninsured, but the amount of climate finance received was USD50 billion.

“Is this a crisis of finance, motivation or political economy, are we trapped in a false debate and is finance going to create the revolution we require?” he posed.

The Civil Society boss castigated climate finance institution for having too much red tape and bureaucracy, adding that they seem to favour private entities and banks in their modalities.

“The Green Climate Fund (GCF) and other financial institutions are not different in operating modalities from previous institutions, they favor private entities and banks,” he remarked, adding” Are we looking at a future managed by financiers and hedge fund managers?”

Mr Jha noted a trend where energy companies are collaborating with agribusiness companies to access climate finance, adding that we need to be careful about this trend because the small-scale farmers stand to lose if they team up with large climate-smart agriculture firms.

“Earlier banks were chasing energy companies but after failing to secure profits they are now chasing agribusiness companies, we should be careful about this,” he noted.

The meeting was held on the sidelines of the UNFCCC 23rd Conference of Parties currently ongoing at the city of Bonn in Germany. 

The two-week conference, which is hosted by Fiji this year, will see parties to the Paris Agreement meet and negotiate on various modalities and the implementation of the landmark agreement.

The theme of the side event, which was organized in partnership with CUTS- International, CECOEDECON, CSDevNet and WACSOF, was making the Paris Agreement work for Africa by enhancing the transparency of actions and the place of climate finance.

At a first press conference held at the ongoing 23rd Session of the Conference of Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change in Bonn, Germany, African climate justice activists expressed disagreement with Parties’ handling the US with kid gloves. The US intention, led by the Climate Denier-in-Chief President Donald Trump is, according to the Activists, "poisonous to negotiations". The Trump agenda is to dismantle the Paris Agreement, they alleged.

"Time has come when the global community should be brave enough and call a space a spade, and not a big spoon. It is the time to put Trump and his government where they belong – not to the community of nations," they demanded in a strongly worded statment whose excerpts are in a link below.

https://unfccc.cloud.streamworld.de/webcast/african-civil-society-expectations-in-unfccc-cop-2

Civil society organisations have been encouraged to make their voices heard in the Green Climate Fund process to enhance the success of the fund.

Speaking during a side event organized by the German Watch, TEBTEBA, International Student Movement for the United Nations (ISMUN) and the Pan African Climate Change Alliance (PACJA), experts warned that the exclusion of CSOs in crucial meetings and process of the fund would compromise the fund’s effectiveness in achieving its set objectives. 

Dr Curtis Doebbler, a representative from ISMUN highlighted the crucial role played by CSOs in project implementation, noting that in various World Bank-funded projects, CSOs have been instrumental in pointing out flaws in project design and implementation.

“Many times, it is the CSOs that have pointed out to the World Bank when a project has been more harmful than beneficial to the community,” he said.

Dr Doebbler noted that CSO participation in the GCF process is crucial, adding that it would be impossible to know what is needed at the community level without their participation.

He regretted that civil societies face a dearth of information on GCF processes before board meetings, noting that most of this information is technical and CSOs may lack the capacity to fully comprehend it before attending board meetings.

“There is a dearth of information for civil society regarding GCF processes before the board meeting so most times they go into these meetings without the documents. Even when they get these documents, they cannot understand them because most of them lack the capacity,” he said.

He lamented that the COP has not provided enough funding to CSOs to engage in these processes, adding that participating in these forums is an expensive affair. 

“CSOs don’t have funding and are most times the poorest in the room during these meetings,” he quipped.

He noted that there are instruments that CSOs could use to enhance participation in the process such as Human Rights processes.

“I hope CSOs will look toward Human rights instruments to enhance participation because it needs enhancing for the success of the fund”, he said.

Speaking at the same forum, Julius Karanja, a project assistant at PACJA, said it was important for Civil Society Organisations to be involved from the very beginning of a project during project design.

Mr Kimaren Ole Riamit, the executive director of Indigenous Livelihoods Enhancement Partners (ILEPA), who also spoke at the side event, pointed out that indigenous people hold a wealth of knowledge that could provide solutions to the problem that is facing the world right now.

“We think of ourselves as custodians of Nature,” he said.

He lauded the fund for recognizing the need for indigenous people to engage but noted that the fund’s modalities make it impossible for indigenous people to participate or access funding.

“We need a robust consultative arrangement enabling indigenous people to engage in the GCF framework,” he remarked.

The Green Climate Fund is a fund that was established to assist in limiting greenhouse gas emissions by investing in low emission and climate-resilient development in developing countries and to help vulnerable societies adapt to climate change.

BONN, Germany (PAMACC News) - President Trump’s decision to pull the United States from the Paris climate agreement has been met with strong criticism from African civil society sounding a knell against countries or parties that follow in his footsteps.

African civil society under the leadership of the Pan African Climate Justice Alliance, PACJA have called on countries “to make the ultimate choice either in support of people and planet or Donald Trump and profit”.

In a report, “CSO Demands to COP23” ,the civil society organizations stated unequivocally that the time of action in support of people and planet is now and not later. It cautioned that silence or inaction by any party(country) will be synonymous to backing Donald Trump’s pull out decision.

“Inaction by any party is equivalent to alliance with Donald Trump” the report stated.

They describe the pullout decision by Trump as an affront and travesty to climate justice, health of the planet and a threat to humanity in general and Africa in particular.

The report noted that Africa is feeling the pinch of climate change most with  alarm bells ringing already on a number of issues, which are the cause of great concern among the African civil society and African people in general;

The failure to close the finance gap, the inadequate current pledges to stay below 2°C; the delay in addressing ‘orphan issues’ under the Paris Agreement namely, common timeframes for NDCs, adjustment of existing NDCs, the response measures forum, recognition of developing countries’ adaptation efforts, guidance related to finance, setting a new collective goal on finance, developed countries’ biennial finance communications, and education, training and awareness; the slow pace and ambiguity in sequencing of work on the Paris Agreement Rule Book thus creating roadblocks in advancing the its formulation, among others,were short falls raised in the report.

The report hailed Fiji’s Presidency of COP23 which they said should be seen as symbolic, coming at a time island states have suffered enormously due to climate-related hurricanes and tornadoes. 

The report also called on delegates to fulfill demands: pursuant to Article 2 of the Paris Agreement with pledges to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels, all parties to practically commit beyond their current level of emission target in their NDCs to limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius this century and resubmit. 

It should be noted that President Trump’s withdrawal has galvanized criticism even from US citizens and companies as well as the International community.

Like African civil society, several of the largest U.S. companies — such as Apple, Exxon Mobile and Ford Motor Company have also pledged to either stick to the climate accord or continue cutting greenhouse gas emissions in the coming decades in clear departure from Trump’s position.

However African civil society organizations are still calling on those sitting on the fence to come out publicly and declare their position. “We believe that Trump has silent allies who may not be candid enough to come out and publicly denounce globally agreed pact which offers hope for the people,” the report said.

 According to PACJA's Secretary General, Mithika Mwenda, the report is in line with the action plan of African civil society to drive national governments to action. “Civil society has an important role to play in ongoing climate talks, working in tandem to push national governments to action,” he said.

“Leaders have the liberty to make their own decisions but civil society represents the voice of the grass root communities and this is very important,” Mithika said.

The African position paper by the African civil society also wants development of mitigation mechanism to consider lessons and experience from the Joint Implementation mechanism and Clean Development mechanism. 
“This should be backed by a centralized governance system of the mechanism for easy coordination, accountability and transparency” the report says.

It also demands that adaptation be crucial to protecting and promoting development gains, particularly in Africa and for support to be expedited to the least developed countries and other developing country Parties for the formulation of national adaptation plans.
 

BONN, Germany (PAMACC News) - Syria has indicated its interest to join the Paris Agreement, effectively leaving the United State of America all alone in the cold conclave of climate deniers.   
 
"I would like to affirm the Syrian Arab Republic's commitment to the Paris climate change accord," Syrian Deputy Environment Minister Wadah Katmawi told delegates of the 196 nations at the ongoing climate talks in Bonn, Germany.
 
Katmawi said the accord would be signed "as soon as possible", adding that Syria would seek foreign aid to help it meet its commitments under the deal.
 
UN spokesman Nick Nuttall, confirmed the move, saying that Syria would first have to submit ratification documents at the UN headquarters in New York.
 
196 countries excluding Syria and Nicaragua in December 2015, agreed to keep global temperatures well below the 2c level above pre-industrial times and endeavour to limit them even more to 1.5c.
 
Contained in what later became known as the Paris Agreement, countries further agreed to limit the amount of greenhouse gases emitted by human activity, and enable rich countries to help the poorer nations by providing climate finance to adapt to climate change and switch to renewable energy.
 
With its pariah status and the bloody civil war going on then, Syria was in no position to attend the discussions in Paris. Nicaragua on the other hand, withheld its signature from the agreement until last October when stronger measures were put in place.
 
The United States began a three-year process of withdrawal from the agreement in June 2017. President Donal Trump while announcing the withdrawal invoked his "solemn duty to protect America" and promised to seek a new deal that would not disadvantage US businesses.
 
He claimed that the accord would cost the US 6.5 million jobs and $3tn (£2.2tn) in lost GDP - while rival economies like China and India were treated more favourably. He also said that he could revisit the decision if the United States could renegotiate terms he sees as unfair.
 
With the Syrian declaration today and Nicaragua’s signature in October, US now treads on the lonely path to seeking a seeking the renegotiation of a landmark climate deal aimed at protecting the planet and the people of the earth.

BONN, Germany (PAMACC News) - Delegates from about 196 countries have gathered in Bonn, Germany for what has become a semblance of a yearly ritual – the 23rd conference of parties (COP) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
 
The conference holds from the 6 -17 November 2017 in Bonn under the leadership of Fiji which is the first small island developing state to hold this role.
 
The COP is coming at a time extreme weather events like floods, hurricanes and fires have destabilised millions of people in Africa Asia, the Americas and the Caribbean. COP 23 therefore aspires to propel the world towards the next level of ambition needed to tackle global warming and put the world on a safer and more prosperous development path.
 
Africa and the COP Process

At the beginning of COP 22 in Marrakech, Morocco, November 2016, the Paris Agreement era had been ushered in. Countries of the world had demonstrated commitment and the Agreement had come into force faster than anticipated. Due to this reality, COP 22 then focused on how to make Paris agreement work by setting up mechanisms and structures that would facilitate its implementation.
 
A year later and with with over 33 African countries ratifying the Paris Agreement, Africans are heading to Bonn with a bag full of expectations for the continent and the world.
 
As the region with least contribution to green house gas emissions and the most affected in terms of climate disasters, African delegates are not happy with the failure of the COP process to close the finance gap; inadequacy in pledges; delay in addressing ‘orphan issues’ under the Paris Agreement especially common time-frames for NDCs, and adjustment of existing NDCs. Others are recognition of developing countries’ adaptation efforts; guidance related to finance; and the slow pace and ambiguity in sequencing of work on the Paris Agreement Rule Book thus creating roadblocks in advancing the its formulation.
 
African demands

Prof Seth Osafo of the African Group of Negotiators (AGN) believes that the slow progress by developed country parties towards reaching the US$100 billion goal of joint annual mobilisation by 2020 is not in Africa’s interest. Speaking at the African civil society Pre-COP workshop in Bonn, Prof Osafo said Africa’s interest lies in developed countries providing financial support to developing countries and positioning the Paris Committee on Capacity Building (PCCB) to provide support to developing countries in finance, technology and capacity building.
 
At the Pre-COP workshop organised by African civil society actors including farmers, pastoralists, youth and gender groups under the umbrella of the Pan African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA), non-state actors from the region expressed their desire for loss and damage concerns to be fully taken into consideration as the Warsaw International Mechanism (WIM) shifts to serve the Paris Agreement after 2020.

According to Mithika Mwenda, Secretary General of the alliance, parties should establish a globally supported insurance mechanism (especially for agriculture and infrastructure sectors) in line with the objectives of the WIM for Loss & Damage by 2020. “We call on Parties to establish a framework, preferably outside but complimentary to UNFCCC, for addressing liability or compensation due to losses and damages in developing countries by extreme weather events and severe impacts of climate change” he added.
 
Pre-2020 commitments

Heading into the 23rd session of the Conference of Parties this year, one of the issues that have emerged as key expectation for African Parties to this year’s climate talks is progress on pre-2020 commitments.
 
African groups want COP23 to provide an opportunity for rich countries to revisit their commitment to undertake pre-2020 actions. The deliverables could be the concrete progress or signal with regards to the ratification of the Doha Amendment of the Kyoto Protocol (KP) to enable the entry into force of the second commitment period (for emissions reductions by developed countries under the KP) and the operationalisation of the US$100b per year from 2020 and other resources for developing countries.
 
The implementation of pre-2020 commitments which cover actions to be taken before the Paris Agreement comes into force are of high importance to safeguard the future of the climate.
 
Rule book for Paris Agreement

Another issue of urgent African importance at this COP is progress on the work programme to implement the Paris Agreement. Negotiations on the Paris Rule Book will be critical to ensuring that the promises made in the Paris Agreement are met. Some of these promises include the commitment of governments to respect, protect and take into consideration existing human rights obligations.
 
To enhance the likelihood that the Paris Agreement is effectively implemented, when developing the Paris Rule Book, parties are expected to integrate human rights and the social and environmental principles reaffirmed in the agreement’s preamble, including the rights of indigenous peoples, public participation, gender equality, safeguarding food security and ending hunger, a just transition, and ecosystem integrity.
 
Facilitative Dialogue 2018

According to the agreement reached in Paris, a facilitative dialogue (FD 2018) is to be convened to take stock of the collective efforts of Parties in relation to progress towards the long-term goal of the Paris Agreement and to inform the preparation of nationally determined contributions (NDCs).
 
The Facilitative Dialogue is expected to ensure the linkage between policies, actions and means of implementation. It will also be instrumental to maintaining the political momentum of the Paris Agreement and its long-term goal and the need to be informed by what science indicates as necessary for climate actions and ambition for next 15 years.
 
The design of the dialogue as an overall feature together with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) special report on 1.5°C, the work of the climate champions and work of non-state actors, are critical for this purpose.

BONN, Germany (PAMACC News) - African civil society groups attending the 23rd session of the conference of parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) have called for a swift classification of the global community along the lines of those for the people and planet and those who are for Trump and profit.
 
The call was made against the backdrop of of destructive hurricanes, fires, floods, droughts, melting ice and food security-threatening impacts that preceded today’s opening of the UN climate talks.
 
According to the civil society groups under the aegis of the Pan African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA) which represents smallholder farmers, trusts, pastoralists, women and youth from across Africa, the global community has increasingly become more vulnerable to the devastating impacts of climate change due to President Trump’s ill-advised attempts at reversing his predecessor’s climate legacies and the cold, conspiratorial silence of those who choose profit over the planet.
 
“Coming from the region that suffers the most due to climate change, we have watched with utter dismay President Trump’s continued efforts at dismantling the former President Barrack Obama’s climate legacy, and wish to reiterate that this is the time to classify the global community into two: those for the people and planet, and those for Trump and Profit” says Mithika Mwenda, the alliance’s Secretary General.
 
Augustine Njamshi, executive director of the Bio-Resource and Development Centre in Cameroon takes it further. Njamshi wants a declaration that equates climate inaction by any party to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change to being in alliance with Donald Trump.
 
“Unless we see accelerated action on the implementation of the Paris Agreement pursuant to Marrakech Action Plan by industrialised countries, we will declare them silent allies of Trump and enemies of the people and planet, irrespective of the empty rhetoric they bring to the climate talks” Njamshi added.
 
Identifying with call by non-state actors from Africa, newly elected COP23 President, Fijian Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama whose country suffered damages of well over $1bn after Cyclone Winston struck in 2016 said “all over the world, vast numbers of people are suffering – bewildered by the forces ranged against them. Our job as leaders is to respond to the suffering with all means available to us,” said. “This means to meet our commitments in full, not back away from them.”
 
Mr Bainimarama during his acceptance speech at the opening ceremony said that Fiji is working to build a “Grand Coalition” throughout the year between governments at every level, civil society, the private sector and faith-based organizations.
 
With only war-torn Syria keeping the United States company in the cold coven of countries outside the Paris deal, the US appears set on its path to isolation in climate talks. A small company of diplomats representing the United States will find themselves in an extremely awkward spot: negotiating a deal their president has already walked away from.
 
“The mood on the ground is it is going to be OK: the US is not going to be a pain in the arse. They still don’t know what they actually want” says a COP veteran. when asked about dealing with the US, Nazhat Shameem Khan, Fiji’s chief negotiator said “You can have a dialogue even with somebody who is an axe murderer.”

By Isaiah Esipisu

BONN, Germany (PAMACC News) – As the 23rd round of climate change negotiations kick off in Bonn Germany, the chair of the Least Developed Countries has called on the negotiators to prioritise funding and support towards implementation of the deal agreed upon in Paris in December 2015.

"COP 23 is an important opportunity to bridge the widening finance gap, (which is) a serious barrier to ambitious climate action worldwide,” said Gebru Jember Endalew, Chair of the Least Developed Countries (LDC) Group.

The Paris Agreement set a vision for an ambitious global response to climate change that will keep warming below 1.5°C, in a fair and equitable manner that promotes sustainable development. 

“This COP is a vital step on our journey to setting out a clear rulebook that will fully implement the vision laid out at Paris,” he said observing that COP 23 is the final round of negotiations before the work programme of the Paris Agreement is to be finalised. “We must (therefore) hope to leave Bonn with a draft negotiating text that can be fleshed out over the coming year."

The United Nations climate change negotiations kicked off in Bonn on November 6 and will end in two weeks time. Hosted by Fiji, the negotiations are a key milestone towards finalisation of the rules that will govern implementation of the Paris Agreement.
 
The impacts of rising global temperatures continue to worsen. In the lead up to COP23, there was historic monsoon flooding, resulting in over a thousand lives lost and the displacement of over two million people in South Asia; the impact of consecutive seasons of drought in Africa; historic rainfall (with Hurricane Harvey setting a single-storm rainfall record in the United States, causing tens of billions of dollars in damage); and historic windspeeds laying waste to many Caribbean island territories (with Hurricane Irma recording the highest windspeed on record for the open Atlantic Ocean). 

The catastrophic impacts of these extreme weather events, according to Endalew, underlie the urgency of substantive progress and action in Bonn. 

“LDCs will be pushing to deliver a Paris rulebook that catalyses greater ambition to correct our current trajectory and put the world on track to keep warming below 1.5°C. This means robust frameworks for reporting, implementation and compliance, and gauging progress across all facets of the Paris Agreement and climate Convention," said the LCD chair.

"As the 47 poorest countries in the world, the LDCs face the unique and unprecedented challenge of lifting our people out of poverty and achieving sustainable development without relying on fossil fuels,” he said. 

Endalew observed that global solidarity and the support of the international community is essential for LDCs to achieve our ambitious climate plans, and protect the people from devastating impacts of climate change that are already taking their toll.

At COP23 the LDC Group is calling on developed countries to rapidly accelerate the delivery of climate finance, with a particular focus on public finance. Both the Least Developed Countries Fund and the Adaptation Fund need to be replenished continuously and as soon as possible.

Clear guidelines and adequate technological and capacity building support is also vital to enable the LDCs carry out actions to adapt to climate change and cope with losses and damages that threaten the survival of poor and vulnerable LDC communities.

 

This article was first published on the PAMACC Website

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