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At COP 25, African CSOs Demand Ambitious Decisions that Reflect Africa’s Special Circumstances and Needs and is Commensurate with Climate Crisis

Madrid, 3rd Dec. 2019--African civil society organizations (CSOs) representing more than 40 counties, under Pan-African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA), are demanding r an accelerated process and ambitious decisions at UNFCCC COP25. The decisions should reflect Africa as a region with special needs and circumstances. The IPCC Fourth Assessment Report shows that if the current trajectory continues, Africa will warm 1.5 times more than the global mean average temperature; with parts of Africa already experiencing 2ºC-warming, way higher than the indicated 1.5º C. Parties should, therefore, take a decision recognizing these special circumstances and needs for Africa that go with the urgent need for finance, emergency response and technology development.

Africa civil society therefore specifically demands the following:

1.    Enhanced Emission Reduction through Ambitious NDCs that reflect Climate Crisis
Call for immediate enhanced efforts in greenhouse gas emission reductions as per the best available science. Developed country Parties should use the obligation of reviewing the NDCs in 2020 to ambitiously enhance their mitigation commitments to reach the required target of reducing half of the current emission levels by 2030 to cap global average warming at 1.5º C as stipulated in the recently published UNEP Emission Gap Report 2019.  Further stress that the NDCs should include all elements and not just mitigation-centric and have a five years’ timeframe that is aligned with the global stock-take.

2.    Fulfil previous and scale-up new Climate Finance Commitments to fund adaptation
Africa civil society reiterates that adaptation financing remains a priority for African countries. Developed country Parties shall provide enhanced, predictable, adequate and grant-based climate finance to developing country Parties to adapt to adverse climate change impacts. Currently, adaptation is only taking a quarter of global climate finance from developed to developing countries while mitigation taking over 60 percent. African CSOs emphasize the urgency of a reliable source of finance for the Adaptation Fund, which will provide decent financial resources and be sustainable. Also, maintain the current number and composition of the Fund Board taking into account fair and balanced representation among identified groups.

Further emphasize that the process to initiate setting of a new collective quantified climate finance goal from a floor of USD 100 billion per year in 2020 to consider the needs and priorities of developing countries, be science-informed and draw lessons from the experience of pre-2020 commitments. Developed country Parties should continue to fulfil their pre-2020 climate finance commitment of USD 100 billion per year during the period.

3.    Urgent Review, Financing and Implementation of the Loss and Damage Mechanism
The Africa civil society stresses the urgency to develop a clear means of implementation and operationalize the Warsaw International Mechanism on loss and damage. This include financing for ongoing and incurred loss and damage, and adequate financing to implement the work plan of the Warsaw International Mechanism for loss and damage Executive Committee. Loss and damage represents an outstanding economic and political challenge and a great concern; therefore, there is urgent need to avert, minimize and address these impacts through comprehensive risk management approaches – early warning systems, measures to enhance recovery and rehabilitation and build back and forward better, social protection instruments, including social safety nets, and transformational approaches.

4.    Develop robust social and environmental guidelines for all International Corporations and carbon market mechanisms in respect to Article 6 of the Paris Agreement
African civil society organizations call for robust social and environmental guidelines for all carbon market mechanisms to ensure that they do not create or lead to adverse conditions that impact the livelihoods of African local communities or prevent the communities from becoming climate resilient. Parties must advance the human rights guidelines from the element to promote sustainable development and ensure environmental integrity and transparency. This should be done in line with the Paris Agreement’s preamble that states all climate actions shall, inter alia, respect and promote human rights – the right to health, gender equality and women’s empowerment, indigenous people and development.

5.    Actions to Implement the Gender Action Plan
The Africa civil society calls upon Parties to take action to implement the activities under the Gender Action Plan in order to strengthen consideration of gender aspects in climate-related activities. African women and young people are most at risk from impacts of extreme weather. We need to be fully aware of traditional roles women and men, and recognize that women are impacted most by climate change yet they are usually underrepresented in climate change negotiations and decision making. Therefore, there should be allocation of adequate financial and human resources to build the needed capacity on gender dimensions of climate policy and action at national level and to comply with the requirements on gender under the Paris Agreement implementation guidelines.

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Africa urged to use home-grown experts to set feasible NDC goals

Africa has a long way to go in the realisation of the strategies to implement the Paris Agreement, according to preliminary results of a research done by a Pan-African organisation in eight African countries, and which were yesterday released on the side lines of the COP25.

This was the statement made by the Pan African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA) Executive Director Mithika Mwenda at the opening of a side event in Madrid, Spain.
Salina Cheserem Sanou, a climate justice campaigner, shared the preliminary findings of the research done in Botswana, Ethiopia, Gabon, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Nigeria, Tanzania and Zambia, at a side event dubbed “Africa Readying for the Paris Agreement”.

Kenya, Ethiopia and Nigeria were found to be at the same level on “Coherence Between Sector Policies and Climate Compatible Development” with each scoring 2.4 out of a maximum possible 3.0. Zambia came fourth with 2.2, followed by Tanzania at 2.0 and Corte d’ Voire at 1.4. Botswana and Gabon tied at the bottom with 1.0 points.
On climate-sensitive sector policies, the African economies tested were found to align differently with adaptation, mitigation and development; while the food and agriculture sector development policies were framed as development policies, scoring “high alignment”.

Sustainability with development, the forest and wildlife policies were set up as mitigation policies, scoring “limited alignment” with adaptation, and “partial alignment” with development.
“Africa is a unique and a special needs and circumstances region in terms of vulnerability, resilience and capacity building; finance, and also monitoring and reporting of international commitments,” said Ms Sanou.
The research recommends better alignment of sector policies with adaptation, the need to address lacking inter-agency and inter-ministerial approaches, and strengthening of partnerships among stakeholders in support of climate change initiatives.
Speaker after speaker addressing the side event at the COP25 conference in Madrid, yesterday, pushed for more home-made plans and strategies in the achievement of Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), whose implementation is key in achievement of the Paris Agreement.
The NDCs outline interventions each nation intends to use to reduce carbon emission. “Africa should have tailor-made tools for monitoring and reporting on the implementation of the Paris Agreement and NDCs,” said Sanou, adding that African nations should not wait until March 2020 to start reviews of the NDCs, to prevent rushing over them as happened with the initial development process.
James Murombedzi, a senior climate governance expert at the UN Economic Commission for Africa, regretted that African countries were spending up to 9 per cent of their Gross Domestic Product (GDP) on the NDCs, yet that was not catered for in their national budgets. “This is causing a budget crisis in many African nations,” said Dr Murombezi.

The NDCs have further been viewed as overly ambitious. “Financing must be made available for the conditional and overly ambitious NDCs to be actualised. Yet financing has not been forthcoming from the heavy carbon emitters, calling for proper review and meaningful resource mobilisation for the global goal to keep temperature rise below 1.5ºC to be realised,” said Charles Mwangi, a climate enthusiast and observer at the COP25.
The push now is for heavy emitters to increase their ambition.

Many countries are behind schedule in the achievement of the pre-2020 strategies that focussed on finance, capacity building and technology transfer. These were supposed to enable start of implementation after June next year, but this period will instead focus on review of the NDCs.
The Paris Agreement outlined and expects preparation, communication and maintenance of successive NDCs to meet set objectives.

This year’s UNEP Emission Gap Report 2019 shows that with the current commitments, there will be an increase of more than 3.2ºC of average global temperature rise.
Speaking at the side event yesterday, Charles Mutai, a Director Climate Change, State Department of Environment, and who is also the chair of the Kenyan delegation in Madrid, outlined the country’s effort to achieve its NDCs commitments. Dr Mutai said devolution in Kenya would make it easier to achieve the NDCs, as many of the 47 counties had allocated between 1 per cent and 3 per cent to tackling the climate crisis.

Roger Nkodo Dang, the President of the Pan African Parliament, focused on energy. “We are being discouraged from exploiting petroleum and transition to clean energy; but at what cost to our development,” he posed.
This also raised the question on the seriousness with which African Governments and the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) crying foul now, handle matters that have huge ramifications in their operations. “Africans left the formulation (of NDCs) work to politicians. We do not read,” said Prof Dr Muaiwia Shaddad of Sudan
He was, however, countered by Mithika Mwenda, who insisted that the ills some African nations may have done should not stop pursuit of reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. “The push must go on,” Mithika said.

“Many African countries are behind in implementation of their NDCs because they are a result of consultants’ work… consultants who have no clue what the reality on the ground is. Governments must remember we have adequate capacity for proposal and other document writing in Africa,” said Mwanahamisi Singano of FEMNET, an African women's development network.

Charles Tanui, an observer at the COP25, called for support of civil society organisation to be involved in research and formulation of key strategies, especially during review of the NDCs.
The side event was organised by Kenya, Ivory Coast and the Pan African Climate Justice Alliance.

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