JOHANNESBURG, South Africa (PAMACC News) - The Global Stocktake (GST) is a critical turning point for efforts to address climate change, African Group of Negotiators on Climate Change (AGN) Chair, Ephraim Mwepya Shitima has told the Pan-African Parliamentarians Summit on Climate Policy and Equity.
Speaking when he addressed Parliamentarians and other stakeholders, gathered in Midrand, South Africa from 16th to 17th May, 2023, Shitima said the GST is key to the objectives of the Paris Agreement, which aims to strengthen the global response to the threat of climate change, in the context of sustainable development and efforts to eradicate poverty.
Shitima reiterated AGN’s call against inherent bias in favour of mitigation at the expense of adaptation, and called on African Parliamentarians to take keen interest in the GST process and its outcome as it enables countries and other stakeholders to assess their collectiveprogress towards meeting the goals of the Paris Agreement.
“As Africa, we expect the GST to be comprehensive by assessing collective progress towards all the goals and not focusing on one or two,” said Shitima. “The outcome must be corrective—how to address the identified gaps and ensure implementation. The inherent bias in favour of mitigation ought to be rectified while the needs of adaptation and recognition of adaptation actions as part of the contribution of Parties towards the global effort should be accorded sufficient attention.”
The global stocktake, as enshrined in Article 14 of the Paris Agreement (GST), is a process for taking stock of the implementation of the Paris Agreement with the aim to assess the world’s collective progress towards achieving the purpose of the agreement and its long-term goals.
The first stocktake got underway at the UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow in November, 2021 and is expected to conclude at COP28. Each stocktake is a two-year process that happens every five years.
In addition to his call for African Parliamentarians to actively get involved in the GST process, AGN Chair also highlighted the climate financing and adaptation gaps as revealed by various reports including the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Sixth Assessment Report (AR6).
“According to the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP’s) Adaptation Gap Report 2022: Too Little, Too Slow – Climate adaptation failure puts world at risk finds that the world must urgently increase efforts to adapt to impacts of climate change. Implementation of adaptation actions are concentrated in agriculture, water, ecosystems- with health and education still remaining underfunded. However, without a step change in support, adaptation actions could be outstripped by accelerating climate risks, which would further widen the adaptation implementation gap.”
Shitima further lamented the poor provision of climate information in Africa, which is hindered by limited availability of weather and climate data, adding that existing weather infrastructure is insufficient for development of reliable climate information and early warning systems.
“For example, only 10% of ground-based observation networks are in Africa (the remaining 90% are outside Africa), and that 54% of Africa’s surface weather stations cannot capture data accurately,” he said.
Without belabouring the point, adaptation finance is inadequate to meet growing needs of African countries as access to adequate financial resources is crucial for climate change adaptation.
“UNEP estimates adaptation costs for Africa to be, from USD 20–50 billion per year by 2050 at 1.5℃ to USD 100–437 billion per year at 4℃ of global warming above pre-industrial levels. However, adaptation finance flows to developing countries are 5-10 times below estimated needs and the gap is widening,” lamented the AGN Chair.
Meanwhile, in his welcoming remarks, Pan African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA) Executive Director, MithikaMwenda, said the African continent was already living in a critical moment as a result of climate change.
“The Sixth synthesis report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released on 23rd March this year confirmed human-induced global warming is already causing widespread and irreversible impacts on our natural and human systems, and these impacts will only worsen with further warning," said Mwenda.
Three young climate activists have filed a lawsuit against Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, President of Turkey and Ministry of Environment, Urbanisation and Climate Change, by taking legal action due to the inadequacy of Turkey's climate target under the Paris Climate Agreement.
Turkey produced 403.3 million metric tons of carbon dioxide (MtCO2) emissions in 2021. This was a year-on-year increase of 8.1 percent, and the first year that emissions accelerated and peaked in Turkey since 2017. The country's coal-fired power stations are the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions by Turkey at 103 Mt in 2021. Over a kilogram of CO 2 is emitted for every KWh of electricity generated in Turkey by coal-fired power stations.
Atlas Sarrafoğlu (16), Seren Anaçoğlu (20) and Ela Naz Birdal (17), young climate activists who have been campaigning for years for Turkey to fight stronger against the climate crisis, have filed a lawsuit against President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Ministry of Environment, Urbanisation and Climate Change, claiming that the updated Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) submitted by Turkey as a climate target is insufficient, asserting that this is climate inaction rather than climate action. Underlining the lack of a transparent process in the preparation of this statement, they demanded the cancellation and renewal of Turkey's unscientific, ineffective and inadequate climate target. Young people defending their right to the future also launched a petition at change.org/climatelawsuit.
There are many similar climate lawsuits around the world. Six Portuguese young people had filed a complaint against 33 countries, including Turkey, accusing them of failing to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
After Turkey submitted its updated NDCs to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Secretariat, Atlas Sarrafoğlu, Seren Anaçoğlu and Ela Naz Birdal said "Unfortunately, this declaration is not a commitment to a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, but an increase. Turkey is a country of climate disasters and we, as young people, want our future to be secured with a stronger climate goal." They have become the pioneers of the first climate lawsuit filed against the Presidency and the Ministry of Environment, Urbanization and Climate Change, regarding Turkey's decisions on greenhouse gas emissions under the Paris Climate Agreement.
Atlas Sarrafoğlu, a climate activist since the age of 11, made the following statements about the climate lawsuits they filed:
"I came to a different world than my elders, a world caught in a series of disasters that trigger each other. It is an existential crisis. We are burning our planet with our own hands. The use of fossil fuels should have been abandoned a long time ago, but as long as governments and big corporations prefer their power and money to the future of humanity, we will not be able to prevent this crisis.
As a young climate activist, I want emissions to be reduced in line with the Paris Agreement, which Turkey signed too late. Children and young people are currently at the greatest risk, even though they did not cause the climate crisis. Therefore, I do not accept an environment where children's rights are disregarded. You are destroying the future of us, the young people you call "the future of this country". You are officially doing nothing against the climate crisis that threatens Turkey the most! For this reason, I initiate this lawsuit for Turkey to give a stronger climate target."
Seren Anaçoğlu, a European Union Climate Ambassador and a law student, said, "Turkey's NDC declaration submitted within the scope of combating the climate crisis, promises more than 30 percent increase by 2030, rather than a commitment to reduce emissions. Stating that it will be carbon neutral by 2053, Turkey still does not have a coherent and scientific roadmap on how it will realize decarbonization by 2053! No exit date from coal and fossil fuels! No effective climate action plan in the energy and mining sector! But unfortunately, there is a system in which the coal and mining lobby will continue to exist and poison us! For young people, the future holds more unemployment, pollution and vulnerability to climate disasters! There is a danger that we young people and children's right to life and access to basic rights such as food, water and air will be restricted or even eliminated! For this reason, I initiate this lawsuit for my right to a future."
Ela Naz Birdal, a young climate activist who fights for the right to the future, said: "The climate crisis is a global crisis and everyone has important duties in this struggle. All countries need to take on responsibility, so that we can reach the common goal of the 1.5-degree target". Listing her demands from Turkey to fight stronger against the climate crisis and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, she said: "Set an interim target. Announce a coal phase-out date. Make a real reduction commitment. Turkey's decarbonization policy should be determined with scientific methods and made into binding legal rules. We are filing this lawsuit to fight against the climate crisis and to guarantee our own future, and we look forward to the support of all our young friends in our petition campaign that we have started at change.org/iklimdavasi! I initiate this lawsuit for a carbon-free future!"
Their lawyer Deniz Bayram made the following statement: "The realization of the 1.5 target of the Paris Climate Agreement depends on all state parties deciding on and implementing greenhouse gas emission reductions prepared with clear, understandable and scientifically based methods to the extent of their historical responsibility for global emissions. The uncertainty on scientific methods used in the decision to increase Turkey's current greenhouse gas emissions and the lack of a date for the transition from fossil fuels such as coal, are inconsistent and contradictory with the high increase in carbon emission targeting the years 2030 and 2038, and the 2053 net zero decision. In recent years, we have witnessed the devastating effects of climate change increase in the intensity of violations of basic human rights such as access to life, health, food and water. The urgency of this legal case stems from the urgency for Turkey to present a climate plan that it can defend with scientific data and protect the human rights of future generations.
The climate lawsuits filed by children and young people all over the world show us that states should stop shifting blame and responsibility to each other, and make equitable, clear, scientific and legally clear climate plans to the extent of their responsibilities. A favorable ruling in this case may have a positive impact not only for Turkey, but also for countries with high historical emissions to make their climate commitments even more ambitious and decisive."
NAIROBI, Kenya (PAMACC News) - The African Group of Negotiators on Climate Change (AGN) has welcomed efforts by the African group of Negotiators Expert Support (AGNES) to address Africa’s climate science knowledge gaps in relation to the continent’s contribution to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
AGN Chair, Ephraim Mwepya Shitima says Africa’s technical negotiators have been yearning for scientific-based evidence to be informed from an African perspective.
“The IPCC is the designated scientific voice on climate science; it is therefore critical for our continent, which contributes very little and yet suffers the most, to be well represented in this body of science,” he says. “As AGN, we support every effort that African institutions such as AGNES, are making to improve the continent’s participation in the climate science discourse. This is particularly important for technical negotiators who have been yearning for scientific-based evidence to be informed from an African perspective.”
In an effort to close the identified science knowledge gap, AGNES, in collaboration with the Kenya Meteorological Department, Kenya’s Ministry of Environment and Forestry (MEF), the African Union Development Agency (AUDA-NEPAD) and other scientists/experts from Africa are convening in Nairobi to discuss important climate science knowledge gaps that are unique to the continent.
The meeting is seen as an opportunity for African scientists and experts to identify priority areas critical for the continent, and suggest inclusion during the Seventh Assessment Report (AR7) outline scoping plenary. The main aim is to stimulate and catalyse research activities geared towards addressing the identified knowledge gaps and provide an opportunity for greater involvement of African scholars/scientists.
Officially opening the meeting in Nairobi on Tuesday (18/04/2023), Principal Secretary at the Kenyan State Department of Environment and Climate Change, Eng. Festus Ng’eno emphasised the importance of ensuring that Africa’s voices are loud enough in the climate science discourse considering the continent’s vulnerability to negative impacts of climate change.
“The products in the 6th assessment cycle show an improvement in the representation of African issues, however there is still a major room for improvement,” he said. “It is alarming that only 11% of authors of the assessment report are from Africa despite Africa being one of the world’s most vulnerable continents to the impacts of climate change. It is crucial to ensure that African voices are well-represented when finding solutions, crucial too is the inclusion of the role of indigenous and local knowledge systems as well as adequate gender representation.”
While climate change is a global problem, Africa suffers its consequences disproportionately due to its limited capacity to cope. To make the matters worse, the continent contributes less than 4% to global warming emissions.
It is for this reason that there is a clarion call for Africa to be well supported in terms of adaptation finance as well as ensuring the continent’s voices are loud enough in the climate science discourse and on the negotiation table.
Experts across Africa have identified three main barriers to the continent’s scientists and scholars’ active participation and representation in the IPCC.
Firstly, there is limited publication by African scholars/scientists on African climate-related issues. High publishing costs, it is acknowledged, continue to keep African scientists/ scholars out of top science journals.
Secondly, there is a noted disjoint or weak link between the IPCC National Focal Points and the universities and/or research organizations.
Thirdly, serving as a contributing author is not compensated financially, and this is said to be a deterrent to the participation of scientists from countries that continue to work with limited resources.
Some of the solutions that the meeting aims to bring on board include having a common African position on the gaps identified, creation of an awareness and outreach programme to enhance National Focal Points’ link with policymakers, universities/ research institutions and putting in place a support system for African scientists to publish in peer-reviewed journals.
AGNES Team Lead and convener of the meeting, Dr. George Wamukoya noted the urgent need to fill the identified science knowledge gaps to improve representation of African issues in the IPCC assessments.
“Undoubtedly, there is an urgent need to fill the existing gaps in knowledge as well as anticipate the direction of science and research in the field of climate change and reflect this in published papers,” he notes. “This will improve the representation of African issues in the IPCC assessments. The question is, how does Africa plan to contribute towards addressing these knowledge gaps? It is my hope that this convening will get the most strategic solutions to ensure that representation is timely, accurate and inclusive.”
Meanwhile, African Climate Research Fellow, Professor Chukwuemeka Diji is elated that such a meeting was taking place at a time when the IPCC Sixth Assessment report clearly indicates how Africa’s ability to adapt was being pushed to its limits.
“This meeting has become very important and expedient because the AR6 report shows that Africa’s ability to adapt is being pushed to its limits, calling for urgent action to create awareness and knowledge to urgently reverse the situation and reverse the dangerous direction. This week’s convening will set the groundwork to highlight the exposure and vulnerability of Africa to climate change and its multi–dimensional, socio–economic and political dimensions. Additionally, we also need to identify, scale – up and evaluate the current and future benefits of Adaptation to Africa while also including the voices of African scientists/ scholars.”
Livingstone, Zambia, 12th April, 2023- The African Group of Negotiators on Climate Change (AGN) has re-affirmed its commitment to ensuring that Climate Change adaptation remains a top agenda item for the continent.
Speaking at the first AGN Preparatory Meeting in Livingstone, which was held alongside the Young Climate Change Negotiators Training, Zambia’s Ministry of Green Economy and Environment Permanent Secretary, Eng. John Msimuko said adapting to the impacts of climate change remains one of the key challenges that Africa is facing.
“Adaptation remains a key priority as people, infrastructure and ecosystems on the continent continue to experience climate shocks and economic distress. The latest science by the Intergovernemntal Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has reported that Africa will need up to 86.5 billion USD for adaptation alone by 2030. Yet Africa only contributes approximately 4% to the global Green House gas emissions. Therefore, let us continue pursuing Africa’s special needs and special circumstances even at this year’s COP28. There is need for a transformative agenda on adaptation at COP28," he said.
COP28 will be held in the United Arab Emirates from 30th November to 12th December, 2023. An anecdotal example highlighting the importance of adaptation to Africa was provided by host city Mayor, Constance Muleabai, who fingered climate change as the reason for reduced tourist numbers to the Victoria Falls, one of the seven Wonders of the World. “Climate Change has continued to adversely affect our tourism sector which the people of the city of Livingstone heavily rely on,” she said.
“Due to increasing temperatures, we have been experiencing low water levels in the Zambezi River, leaving the falls almost dry. The immediate resultant effect is reduced numbers of Tourists visiting the site. This means reduced incomes for the local communities.”
With a busy schedule awaiting negotiators, the meeting provided an opportunity to discuss the outcomes and achievements of COP27 and strategise on the Group’s work plan and their expectations for the forthcoming sessions; SB58 in June and COP28 later in December.
Ahead of the final stage of the Global Stocktake (GST) later this year, the subject was one of the key highlights among several important agenda items discussed. The discussions centred on the need for the Global Stocktake to take a balanced approach by removing, inherent bias for mitigation at the expense of adaptation.
“As AGN, we would like to see an outcome that is comprehensive and balanced to facilitate progress across all the thematic areas, and respect the priority issues of all Parties and stakeholders,” said AGN Chair, Ephraim Mwepya Shitima.
“The inherent bias in favour of mitigation ought to be rectified while the needs of adaptation and recognition of adaptation actions as part of the contribution of Parties towards the global effort should be accorded sufficient attention,” he added.
The global stocktake, as enshrined in Article 14 of the Paris Agreement, is a process for taking stock of the implementation of the Paris Agreement with the aim to assess the world’s collective progress towards achieving the purpose of the agreement and its long-term goals.
The first stocktake got underway at the UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow in November, 2021 and is expected to conclude at COP28. Each stocktake is a two-year process that happens every five years.
The AGN Strategy meeting further considered the Chair’s report from his engagements with stakeholders including at the 36th Ordinary Session of the African Union Heads of State and Government Summit at which he briefed the Committee of African Heads of State on Climate Change (CAHOSCC) on COP27 key outcomes and their implications on the continent.
Some of the key issues and priorities for Africa discussed included; modalities on the operationalisation of the Loss and Damage Fund; doubling of adaptation finance and the general need for reforms of the climate finance architecture; Just transitions work programme taking into account national circumstances (Africa’s special needs and circumstances); a call for ambitious mitigation in the context of the recently released IPCC Synthesis report; Koronivia Joint work on Agriculture and food security; and implementation of the Gender Action Plan.
Gender and Climate Change According to the UBFCCC, climate change has a greater impact on those sections of the population, that are most reliant on natural resources for their livelihoods and/or who have the least capacity to respond to natural hazards, such as droughts, landslides, floods and hurricanes. Women commonly face higher risks and greater burdens from the impacts of climate change in situations of poverty, and the majority of the world’s poor are women.
Women’s unequal participation in decision-making processes compound inequalities and often prevent women from fully contributing to climate-related planning, policy-making and implementation.
Yet, women can (and do) play a critical role in response to climate change due to their local knowledge of, and leadership in sustainable resource management and/or leading sustainable practices at the household and community level.
It is for this reason that Parties to the UNFCCC have recognized the importance of involving women and men equally in UNFCCC processes by establishing a dedicated agenda item under the Convention addressing issues of gender and climate change and by including overarching text in the Paris Agreement. In acknowledging the importance of gender equality, the AGN has been undertaking deliberate steps on gender responsiveness.
At COP27, the AGN released key findings of a Gender Responsive Climate Action study, which was undertaken through support from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). Building on that report and recognising the need to increase number of female negotiators, the AGN organized a training of young negotiators, which was attended by over 46 young negotiators from across Africa from 28-29 March, 2023 in Livingstone, Zambia.
UNDP strongly believes that having more women negotiators will strengthen the AGN and make it more impactful as a negotiating organ,” said Excellent Hachileka, UNDP Regional Climate Expert for Africa.
“Building the capacity of the new young negotiators is extremely important as we move towards 2030 and as countries enhance their climate actions through the revised and more ambitious NDCs and the associated enhanced transparency reporting commitments.”
For the AGN Chair, supporting gender responsive climate action is a key strategy aimed at addressing identified inequalities. “We support gender responsive climate action in all thematic areas. It is an open secret that women do not only suffer the most from climate vagaries but are also very committed when you get them involved in the climate discourse processes,” said AGN Chair, Ephraim Mwepya Shitima.
“It is against this background that as a negotiating block, we welcome initiatives aimed at empowering women and girls to be actively involved at both the negotiating table and implementation of activities in their communities.”
NAIROBI, Kenya (PAMACC News) - Members of the governing council of the African Forest Forum, AFF have expressed the need for ambitious transformational actions by all actors in forestry in Africa, including regional and sub-regional organizations , other stakeholders, to achieve the institutions goals and targets of raising the profile of African Forestry.
Accordingly, one of the core functions of the AFF is to strengthen high level political engagement, with the participation of major groups and other stakeholders in support of sustainable forest management.
“ African Forest Forum commits to sustainable management, wise use and conservation of Africa’s forest and tree resources for the socio-economic well-being of its peoples and for the stability and improvement of its environment,” reads the organizations release at the 18th session of the governing council meeting in Nairobi Kenya 30-31 March, 2023.
In this regard, the governing council and the technical support team in their working document outlined work plan blue print with proposals that will improve forest management, reversing the loss of forest cover, enhancing forest-based economic, social, and environmental benefits and mobilizing financial resources and strengthening scientific and technical cooperation; promoting governance frameworks to advance implementation of both local and regional projects.
According to Mcarthy Oyebo President of AFF governing council, the organization should forge ahead with its mission of information sharing and expertise,” create an enabling environment for independent and objective analysis, advocacy and advice on relevant policy and technical issues pertaining to achieving sustainable management, use and conservation of Africa’s forest and tree resources as part of efforts to reduce poverty, promote economic and social development and protect the environment”
Opening the session, the chair announced the inclusion of new members into the council from the media, research and academia.
AFF he said was the real power house in forestry thinking in Africa, calling on the body map out innovative ways to make to make forest part of the continent’s economy.
“The potential of forestry to pull investors and drive the economy of the continent is huge. The myriad of opportunities in the forestry sector should be fully exploited. Investors want to see return of their investments, so AFF should look beyond conservation and think business” Mcarthy said.
According to AFF executive secretary, the organization has since creation been spearheading a series of pan-African initiatives on how forest and trees can be better conserved to supports livelihoods, improve national and individual incomes and the environment, adding that Africa Forest Forum main focus has always been centering on people and the environment they live in.
“The forests and trees outside the forests are resources that must be managed sustainably and used judiciously. This is the only way we can address the needs of the people and improve the environment,” Prof. Godwin Kowero said at the opening of the session.
Among other things, AFF has been looking at how African countries are integrating climate change adaptation and mitigation options in the forestry sector and how this process is progressing. It has also looked at how national forest governance is responding to the Paris Agreement and related global climate change policies and initiative, the capacity for implementing REDD+ activities sub-Sahara African countries , exploring the use of dryland resources and commodities to promote nature-based entrepreneurship opportunities that could enhance livelihoods, national incomes, and employment; specifically focusing on natural gums and resins, among others, Professor Kowero explained.
DAR-ES-SALAAM, (PAMACC News) – The Government of Tanzania intends to develop a Marine Spatial Plan to guide all economic activities within the Indian Ocean in order to reap greater benefits from a more sustainable blue economy.
The Marine Spatial Plan will encompass all activities in the ocean, including fishing (small scale and deep sea), aquaculture and marine products, seaweed farming, construction of strategic infrastructure for ports and sea transport, seafood and fish processing, oil and gas extraction, and beach tourism and water sports.
According to the Permanent Secretary, Vice President’s Office, Ms. Mary Maganga, the plan will deliver more benefits from the ocean to communities and the nation through sustainable practices while strengthening the blue economy.
To set the foundation for the plan, a pre-feasibility study has been concluded. Commissioned by The Nature Conservancy and the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, the study reviewed the current status of marine spatial planning in the country and the state of policy, legal and administrative frameworks. It proposes a roadmap for developing the plan.
Speaking at a workshop in Dar-es-Salaam to validate the pre-feasibility study, Ms. Maganga said: “The marine spatial planning is part of the solution to bring about the sustainable use of our ocean resources and open economic and employment opportunities based on proper management of the environment and dealing with climate change”.
The two-day workshop brought together ocean users, government officials, development partners, as well as local and international NGOs.
The Nature Conservancy’s Tanzania Country Director, Ms. Lucy Magembe told the workshop that 25 marine spatial plans have been implemented worldwide and have proven to be a practical approach for engaging communities, stakeholders, and governments to expand marine protection, meet conservation goals, and improve sustainability of both economic and non-commercial activities.
"We are working closely with the Government of Tanzania and other partners to manage human activities in the ocean to ensure they are sustainable. The Marine Spatial Plan will ensure that communities around the ocean benefit from it, while protecting the environment," added Ms. Magembe.
The pre-feasibility study was funded by the German Government’s Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, and Nuclear Safety through the International Climate Initiative, as part of a five-year (2021-2025) regional project entitled 'Strengthening the Blue Economy of the WIO through the integration of ecosystem services and effective biodiversity conservation’ covering Tanzania, Kenya, Seychelles, and Mauritius.