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PACJA Statement on the Postponement of the UNFCCC-COP26

Nairobi, 2 April 2020 - The Pan-African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA) welcomes the postponement of this year’s climate change summit, COP26, due to COVID-19. It is necessary, timely and sensible under the current circumstances. However, the Alliance warns that this sacrifice will be a wasted opportunity unless world leaders learn from the COVID-19 crisis and move decisively to prevent a climate meltdown, which presents an even graver existential danger.

Rescheduling COP26 is a significant contribution by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the international community of climate campaigners to the efforts to lower the scale of COVID-19 infections and save lives. The decision pre-empts the dampening impacts of planning disruptions that have been caused by the global shutdown to deal with the outbreak. All parties now have time to focus on the COVID-19 emergency and to regroup and re-strategise ahead of the summit sometime in 2021. It is reassuring that despite the postponement of the summit and the cancellation of numerous pre-COP events, the UNFCCC plans to maintain momentum to increase climate ambition, build resilience and lower emissions.

The current global health emergency contains important lessons for all nations and their leaders. We now know that despite unprecedented prosperity and leaps in science, engineering and technology, humankind is unprepared for disruptive change above a certain threshold, such as that set by COVID-19. In a few months, millions of livelihoods have evaporated, businesses have stalled, powerful leaders have stumbled and nations have warped. COVID-19 has also recast the distribution of global power and exposed the limitations of narrow interest politics in dealing with existential problems.

Yet, dangerous levels of climate change, projected within the next decade without ambitious mitigation actions, will be more disruptive to the global system. Even at the current ambition of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, models show that a rising sea will bury hundreds of communities, cities and entire countries. Climate-induced migration is already occurring at a scale higher than the combined displacement of people due to conflict and political strife. In Africa and much of the developing world, unpredictable rains, droughts, cyclones and pest outbreaks have increased the burdens of poverty, famines and disease. For instance, countries in Eastern Africa and the Middle East have had to deal with locust invasions in recent months and the crippling impacts on food security are yet to be quantified. In sum, a climate meltdown will rip apart economies, wipe out thousands of species and push humanity to the brinks. Its impacts will last longer and cost much more to recover from than COVID-19.

That is why we believe the world must continue to prioritise the climate as it digs itself out of the current health emergency. We have an opportunity in both COVID-19 and the alarm bells of a climate meltdown to definitively change course towards a sustainable, low-carbon and climate- resilient future, where we shall be better placed to deal with a pandemic of COVID-19’s scale. It is our duty as the civil society to continue holding governments and other non-state actors to account. Despite the lockdown, we will use other means at our disposal - especially technology - to continue observing and tracking commitments by various stakeholders.

More significantly, the postponement of COP26 must not be an excuse for those who have been hell-bent on slowing climate action to escape scrutiny, or for funders of climate action initiatives across the world to divert resources. As an annual event where we gauge the progress on the implementation of climate action commitments by various governments, the COPs are important convergences to remind, applaud and shame, as well as to share perspectives and ideas. The COPs are also a much-needed avenue for climate actors to encourage each other that even when it looks gloom due to competing geopolitical interests, there is hope for humanity and the planet. This spirit must survive the current health crisis.



Mithika Mwenda,

Executive Director





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UK vows to support Africa to prepare better for the COP26

PACJA, ClimDev Africa Initiative Partners, the African Climate Policy Centre of UN Economic Commission for Africa, the African Union Commission and the African Development Bank held a successful roundtable in Addis Ababa to reflect and take stock of the UNFCCC-COP 25 Outcomes, and the implications for the African people.

This high level event was graced by the presence of the UK government representative Jason Grimes, who is the Deputy Permanent Representative to the African Union, the spokesperson of the African Group of negotiators Ambassador Seyni Nafo, Jean-Paul Adam, the Director, Technology, Climate Change and Natural Resources Management at ECA, and several others.

The participants engaged in an open reflection of the outcomes of the COP25, which were disappointing, particularly to the African countries, since the pertinent issues of concern to the continent were not addressed.

In his opening remarks, PACJA Executive Director Mithika Mwenda indicated that African had a good opportunity to influence the climate change negotiations this year in Glasgow, UK, but this was only possible if the continent could take advantage of the upcoming pre-events like the Africa Climate week to come up with concrete African homemade position in the negotiations.

Dr Mithika highlighted the need to convene a multi stakeholder platform that would build a momentum as we approach COP 26.

The UK government indicated its readiness to work with PACJA, African Union, African governments, African Group of Negotiators (AGN), ECA among others in making COP26 a success, especially for the continent.

In his remarks, Mr Jason informed the meeting that Africa was central in the preparation of COP26 and that the UK government would make deliberate efforts in engaging the continent in the build-up to the conference.

He averred that the president of COP26 was committed to delivering a conference that would meet the interests of all. Jason said the youth constituency was particularly important and that the youth formed a formidable force that could not be ignored.
The deputy permanent representative to the AU further indicated that the UK government was aware of the concern that had always been raised by Africans concerning access to climate finance.

Accessing the climate finance has been a challenge to many African countries.
Jason committed that the UK government would seek to address the challenge, and pointed out that building of consensus as the COP26 approached was a key priority for UK government.

The UK government will, therefore, work tirelessly in engaging everyone aiming at building consensus before COP26, according to Jason.
The AGN indicated its commitment to working with PACJA and other partners in preparing Africa’s position at COP26. Speaking on behalf of the AGN, Ambassador Seyni Nafo from Mali indicated that the AGN was keen on developing a climate financial instrument proposal favorable to the African countries. He indicated that the climate emergency was not only a big threat to the wellbeing of a people but also put achievement of Sustainable Development Goals at risk. He informed the meeting that the African Heads of State would be banking on climate change experts in the continent to advise on tangible solutions for the continent. Mr Seyni reiterated that it was about time the continent started implementing COP recommendations, even as they pursued better ones.

The participants in the roundtable recommended formation of a multi stakeholder committee that brings all stakeholders together to prepare the continent for COP26. The committee will include government representatives, AGN, AU, Regional Economic Commissions, Civil Society actors, women, Youth and all other key stakeholders.

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Solving climate crisis a good way to silence the guns

PACJA February 9th 2020
The Pan African Climate Justice has actively participated in this year’s AU Heads of State Summit in Addis Ababa that started on February 9th 2020.
Despite the 33rd African Union (AU) Heads of State and Government Summit not fully focusing on climate change, with the overall theme being “Silencing the guns: Creating Conducive Conditions for Africa's Development”, PACJA formed part of a larger team to also draw attention to the climate crisis.

This has been viewed as another way of silencing the gun, as food insecurity, climate related migration and conflict over resources have been key contributors to strife.
The Climate for Development (ClimDev) Africa partners; the African Climate Policy Centre of UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), the African Union Commission (AUC), the African Development Bank (AfDB) and PACJA, hosted a roundtable on the sidelines of the summit, which was themed “The Global Climate Crisis and the implications on Africa’s Future”.
The roundtable meeting that took place yesterday and continues today in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, sought to “reflect and take stock of the UNFCCC-COP 25 outcomes, and the implications for the African people”.

The keynote speaker at the event was Amb Seyni Nafo, who is the Coordinator, African Adaptation Initiative and African Group of Negotiators Spokesperson.
Of key importance for the meeting was how Africa stood to be affected by the decisions made at the COP25 meet in Madrid, Spain in December 2019, and what would be the best way forward.

Africa failed to achieve a special case status at the COP25, and grapples with challenges from finances, technology transfer, infrastructure improvement for the sake of adaptation and mitigation of the climate crisis.

The Round table meeting therefore deliberated on what “Africa stakeholders should focus on, especially in the advent of the NDCs implementation in 2020, shaping its resilient future and its approach to the international dialogue on climate change moving forward”.
“Meeting the climate challenge still means keeping below the benchmark threshold of 1.5 degrees Celsius, and thus limiting climate-induced loss and damage effectively,” read a statement from the two day meeting.

According to PACJA Executive Director, who addressed the roundtable meet yesterday, CSOs need to work with governments and ensure maximum access to green climate fund to enable capacity building and ensure maximum addressing of the climate crisis.
“Let us work on the policies that will enable the wellbeing of the African people. Push for the policies that will ensure the right knowledge is imparted to the people to ensure preparedness for disaster and development of adaptive infrastructure for the sake of minimising deaths when disasters strike,” he added.
Mithika addressed “Countdown to COP26: Main milestones, events and Actors”.

Joseph Masembe, Programme, the Sub-Committee Chair, ACW-2020 National Organising Committee, Uganda, tackled the “Africa Climate Week” topic, laying out key preparations and what should be expected in the April one-week event.

The other key figures attending and speaking at the roundtable meeting are James Murombedzi, Head of Climate Change (ACPC), ECA, Amb. Dr. Alastair McPhail, UK Ambassador to Ethiopia and Permanent Representative to African Union, who tackled “Looking ahead to COP26”, and members of the ECA secretariat, who include Mr Jean-Paul Adam, the Director, Technology, Climate Change and Natural Resources Management, ECA and Mr Harsen Nyambe Nyambe, Head of Division, Department of Rural Economy and Agriculture, AUC.
The panelists have included the President, Pan African Parliament, Linus Mofor, ACPC, ECA, Khuleni Magwaza, Youngo, University and Research Community, Alvin Munyasia of Oxfam International and the Deputy Head of the Ethiopian Delegation.

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