Thursday, September 17, 2015

Africa to Soldier on with Demanding for Climate Justice Beyond Paris

By Ann Makena

As the impacts of climate change keep biting African countries, all eyes are on Paris, where parties meet later this year to unveil a new agreement that everybody hopes should be the pathway to saving the continent from the deadly phenomenon.

Public dialogues and campaigns across different stakeholder groups in Africa (such as civil society, youth groups), are generating deep reflections on what awaits the region, following a post Kyoto climate agreement in Paris later this year.

Currently activists and faith groups in Africa, united by the desire to prevent catastrophic climate change have launched a cycling caravan, to call on the governments of Africa and the world to stand with vulnerable communities on the frontiers of the climate crisis.

The Pan African Climate Justice Campaign is a joint initiative of the ACT Alliance, PACJA and Oxfam. The campaign targets African and Global leaders ahead of the 2015 Paris Climate Conference.Africa is petitioning to have a binding agreement as its deeply concerned by the threats posed by climate change to its people, “we have seen and experienced the impact of floods, droughts  and other Extreme weather events in our region.

Africa’s stakes are high; it bears the greatest proportion of risks and impacts posed by climate change, which incidentally is exponentially disproportionate to its share of responsibility for global warming.Africa region has demonstrated a strong commitment to the global process. Most measures suggested at the international negotiations to tackle this problem have been embraced by Africa, even where there should be reservations.

This is all in a spirit to safeguard and uphold the global climate negotiation process. Even with its miniscule contribution to total global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, Africa still welcomes a ‘bottom up approach’, in an appeal for voluntary contribution to the ‘Intended Nationally Determined Contribution’ (INDC), tailored to prop up the wobbling ‘top down’ approach modeled around commitments that has been repeatedly flouted with disregarded by key concerned parties to the negotiation

Having less than 100 days to Paris, the African people are increasingly asking, ‘what economic roadmap and vision for development do we want to create for ourselves given our meager emissions?’ Why don’t we flip the current status quo in the climate change narrative to, let’s say, first examine where Africa wants to go in its development trajectory and where it needs to be and then analyze how much temperature rise/change as a consequence. Could this be an alternative negotiating path that Africa could consider to take if the global UNFCCC negotiations do not result in something tangible?

What can really make the difference this time in order to genuinely negotiate an agreement based on the same level of shared commitments by all parties? Can Africa’s examples of boldly tackling its near zero emissions embolden others, especially developed parties? What about the  Obama’ Legacy to climate change, it a concern to Africa as a continent?

If commitments Africa could increase Africa could continue to face the challenges of climate change that are getting high every day. . The first victims of the consequences of climate change will be populations who are already the most vulnerable and do not have the resources to deal with or adapt to them, especially rural populations in Africa 

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