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At COP25, African CSOs urge rich countries to step up climate action

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Madrid, Spain, 1 Dec 2019—A pre-COP 25 event hosted by the Pan-African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA) has today adopted an African civil society position calling for a holistic ambition from Parties, particularly rich countries, ahead of the annual climate change summit (COP 25), which opens in Madrid, Spain on Monday 2 December 2019.
Among other things, participants pressed for the recognition of Africa’s special circumstances, notably its higher exposure to devastations from climate change, and enhanced climate change action plans (NDCs) from the biggest emitters that aim at significant emission reductions.

Other positions adopted include a call for robust and environmental guidelines for international cooperation and carbon markets; a review of the Warsaw international mechanism on loss and damage to have a clear means of implementation, especially for emergency response in Africa; and a demand for scaled-up finance and capacity building to meet the climate change adaptation challenge the continent faces.
Hoping to influence negotiations at multiple levels, African CSOs also asked for the adoption of common timeframes for a harmonious evaluation of NDCs and pay special attention to the gender undertones of climate action.

The UNFCCC secretariat expects COP25 to be a “launchpad for significantly more climate ambition.” Current commitments, particularly from rich countries, fall short of the level of emission cuts required to slow global warming and avert a climate breakdown.
“The New York Climate Summit was revealing in many regards,” PACJA said in a position statement.  “It did not only show that the smaller developing countries are determined to contribute to the fight against climate change, but that they are even willing to do more (sacrificially) to make sure that climate change remains in the multilateral space and top on the agenda.

“Seventy or so countries that have indicated their willingness to enhance their ambition are mostly small or medium countries. This suggests that the big emitters have still not come to the table with their enhanced commitments.”

On a special status for Africa, the statement noted:

“Climate change is affecting Africa disproportionately. The IPCC Fourth Assessment Report shows that if we stay on the current trajectory, Africa will warm 1.5 times faster than the global mean. Furthermore, the special IPCC report indicates that parts of Africa are already very vulnerable to climate change and already experiencing a 2-degree Celsius warming, way higher than the 1.5 degrees as previously thought. Yet Africa remains the least capable to deal with the adverse impacts of climate change.
“We call on parties to take a decision recognizing these special circumstances and needs that go with them in terms of finance, emergency response and technology development.”

Led by PACJA, African civil society organizations are working with the African Group of Negotiators and other partners to press for a summit outcome that takes into account the needs of the continent.

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