Economy, Africa

Ethiopia: African leaders call for climate-change pact at COP21

Addressing climate change has become central to Africa's development agenda,” expert says

12.11.2015
Ethiopia: African leaders call for climate-change pact at COP21

Ethiopia

by Addis Getachew

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia

A group of African leaders, along with UN experts, have issued a statement calling for an agreement on climate change at the Paris COP21 conference that would address the continent's urgent needs to address this issue. 

The meeting in Paris is intended to produce an agreement that will replace the Kyoto Protocol of Dec. 11, 1997, which currently governs world climate change efforts.

”Africa needs to have a comprehensive agreement focusing on the issues of mitigation, adaptation, financing and technology transfer,” the statement said.

“Climate justice means that developed countries which have caused climate change with its related damages should also provide means to address its consequences on the rest of the world,” the statement said.

Although Africa contributes only 3.8 percent of total greenhouse gas emissions, the continent is expected to see a sharp increase in temperature that could lay a large part of its agriculture to waste, according to a note on the website of the think-tank ClimDev-Africa on Nov.11.

Developments in the upcoming world climate change summit COP21 scheduled to take place from November 30 – December 11 are immensely important for Africa.

“It is proven that poorer countries and communities will suffer earliest and worst from global warming because of weaker resilience and greater reliance on climate‐sensitive sectors like agriculture,” the think-tank ClimDev-Africa said in a note on its website on Nov.11.

“Climate change has significant and unequivocal implications for Africa’s development, and poses complex and changing challenges for Africa’s peoples and policy makers.  Addressing climate change has become central to the continent’s development agenda,” ClimDev Africa said. 

To formulate a common position ahead of the Paris conference, African stakeholders met last Friday under the auspices of the African Union Commission in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa.

The African Union Commission, the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), members of the diplomatic corps, religious leaders and representatives of the African civil society joined together to issue a statement on the importance of helping Africa cope with climate change.

The statement, released on Monday, called for: “A fair, equitable and legally binding agreement during the much anticipated 21st United Nations Conference on Climate change.” 

However, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry told the Financial Times on Thursday said that COP21 would not result in a legally binding agreement.

“COP 21 would be an opportunity for the continent to claim its right to sustainable development as well as to make sure that the African common positions are featured in the final text,” Ayele Hegena, director of Law and Standards at the Ethiopian Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change said in the statement.

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