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CSOs: Africa on winning side of COP negotiations

The Sharm El-Sheikh Implementation Plan adopted at the end of the Conference also recommended simpler procedure and operational models to ease access to climate finance, especially for African countries

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By Gilbert Mwijuke

After mixed outcomes from the 27thConference of Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change that held recently in Sharm el-Sheikh in Egypt, the Pan African Climate Justice Alliance has mobilized hundreds of CSOs representatives from around Africa to a meeting in Kigali, Rwanda, to interrogate the COP27 decisions and review Africa’s performance.

The meeting is to also lay the ground for an advocacy strategy that will guide Africa towards COP28 set for Dubai in the United Arab Emirates next year.

At the meeting, CSO representatives differed on their conclusion about the overall outcomes of COP27.

Charles Mwangi, Head of Progammes and Research at the Pan African Climate Justice Alliance said at best, COP27 produced a mixed scorecard.

“On one hand, the establishment of “financial arrangement” for Loss and Damage, a sticky issue before COP27, was “an important point of progress” or at least, the beginning of a response to one of Africa’s key demands,” he said.

Likewise, Wanjira Mathai, the Managing Director for Africa and Global Partnerships at the World Resources Institute, said that so far Africa is doing well and is on the winning side of COP negotiations.

“We continue to fight for climate justice. Loss and damage was a concern in COP27, the decision to create a special new adaptation capacity. Therefore, we need to double its finance and keep it at the top of the agenda as we set the agenda for COP28,” she said.

However, Mwangialso looked at the COP27 from the flipside, saying it did not progress commitments or show evidence of significant action by countries to further cut down global emissions.

“Every year and every COP is critical to progress this key objective. Without it, the world will not limit the global temperature rise to below 1.5 degrees Celsius. By this measure, COP27 was a missed opportunity and potentially a step back,” he said.

Prof Seth Osafo, African Group of Negotiators (AGN) legal advisor, said when African leaders say simply ‘no to one more drop of fossil fuel investments’, they will not be doing a favour to any other nation but to their own.

“African climate action is not a favour to developed countries” he said. “Climate impacts are real and our urgency as a people to deal with this crisis must supersede the quest for finances that rightfully comes with it.  Our leaders could then demand climate finance, rather than beg for it. They could take the lead on the global stage, instead of trailing behind, begging as helpless victims while accepting new fossil fuel investments that might soon become stranded assets.”

According to Obed Koringo of Care International, the progress on what was made on adaptation was short of what Africa expected. He said ahead of COP27, the UNEP released a report that showed that the amount of funds flowing in developing countries on adaptation is now 10 times lower than a few years ago.

Dr Mela Chiponda, a gender expert at FEMNET, said longtime failure to establish the fund for loss and damage has been another way of violence against women, arguing that time was ripe for people to understand that when they talk about climate justice, this should mean “women rights”.

“When there is drought or floods, women are the most affected as they care for the households,” she said.

Samson Malesi, coordinator of the Kenya Water and Sanitation Civil Society Network (KEWASNET), said that as Africa, one thing that must be pushed for is to follow up discussions around water within the talks around the COP.

The Sharm El-Sheikh Implementation Plan adopted at the end of the Conference also recommended simpler procedure and operational models to ease access to climate finance, especially for African countries.

In some ways, these were wins for Africa since loss and damage and adaptation are critical to addressing the climate crises in the region. Yet in other areas, the Conference may have lowered the bar. For example, the Adaptation Fund got $230 million in pledges. If things go as planned, discussions of the Global Goal on Adaptation could be concluded next year. 

The Conference made no direct demand on Parties to reduce emissions from the energy sector.

Mwangi said that in failing to discuss the special needs and circumstances of Africa, the conference again failed to create conditions for developing global climate policies and spurring actions that address the most urgent issues in Africa.

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