Climate Change (201)
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.”
ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia (PAMACC News) - The African Group of Negotiators on Climate Change (AGN) has committed to multistakeholder engagements for the development of Africa’s unified position regarding the continent’s climate change and development aspirations as the continent looks forward to COP-28 later in the year.
Speaking at a Multistakeholder consultation and strategy for COP-28 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, AGN Chair, Ephraim MwepyaShitima said the African group remains committed to engaging with, and providing technical guidance and support to all stakeholders ranging from political leaders, civil society and other development actors to ensure Africa’s success at climate change negotiations.
Mr. Shitima noted the importance of continuous engagements among stakeholders to ensure that Africa remains united and speaking with one voice.
“As AGN, we take stakeholder engagements and consultations very seriously as they provide us with different views and positions that we have to advance in the negotiations, thereby cementing our legitimacy to speak for the continent,” said Shitima adding that the AGN is “determined to build on the successes we achieved at COP-27 and strengthen areas where we did not do well as we head to COP-28 and will rely on inputs from all stakeholders.”
The AGN Chair also emphasised the group’s desire and strategy to increase the number of women negotiators in support of gender equality and in view of the unanimous agreement that women are on the frontlines of climate change not only in Africa but globally.
“In order to ensure that we grow the AGN and in support of gender equality, we are partnering with UNDP to host a capacity training workshop for young negotiators, focusing mostly on young women. This is important as the strength of any group lies in grooming young people. In view of the importance of gender equality, we have given priority to young female negotiators as it is unanimously agreed that women are on the frontlines fighting climate change impacts. We thus believe that increasing the number of female negotiators adds to our strength as a negotiating block,” said Shitima.
And speaking at the same function, the Pan African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA) Executive Director, MithikaMwendapaid tribute to the AGN for its continued key role in pushing Africa’s agenda in the climate change negotiation process and called on African governments to get actively involved in the technical processes to ensure unity of purpose.
Dr. Mwenda said PACJA wishes to see a unified approach at both the technical and high-level engagements to ensure that there is no misrepresentation of Africa’s interests and aspirations.
“The Africa Group of Negotiators (AGN) played a key role in the negotiations at COP27; we therefore encourage everyone to be fully involved in the negotiations so as to have a stronger voice in the negotiation rooms. This meeting is therefore important to put in place a strategy to ensure unity of purpose as Africa heads to COP28,” said Dr. Mwenda.
Earlier, United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA’s) Director for Technology, Climate Change and Natural Resources management, Jean Paul highlighted the increasing costs associated with climate change impacts in Africa and the need for an interlinked approach to addressing them.
He said an analysis by UNCEA has revealed that Africa requires in excess of USD 400 billion for climate adaptation by 2030.
“Our approach is to ensure that climate change is not treated as a single development issue but rather be tackled in a systematic and holistic manner—addressing all interlinked issues as they relate to the continent’s development and achievement of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs),” said Jean Paul.
To ensure a coordinated approach from all stakeholders, PACJA convened a two-day Continental Strategy workshop from 15th to 16th February, 2023, in Addis Ababa, on the sidelines of the 36th ordinary Session of the African Union Heads of State and Government Summit.
The meeting, which brought together key stakeholders from public, civil and private sector, was aimed at strategizing and shaping a common framework for the continent’s advocacy and participation at COP-28. The AGN Chair was part of the engagement to highlight the group’s priorities for 2023 to ensure unity of purpose for Africa.
ADISS ABABA, Ethiopia (PAMACC News) - The African civil society under the umbrella of the Pan African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA) has constituted new Board of Directors that will align the roadmap for climate justice agenda for the next three years.
During PACJA General Congress in Addis Ababa on the sidelines of the 2023 Africa Union Summit, members from over 50 African countries came together to set out the blue print for a more engaging climate action in the aftermath of the 27th round of climate negotiations in Egypt. The 2023 general congress was held under the theme, “accountability and stock taking.”
According to the Executive Director of PACJA Dr Mithika Mwenda, Africa is the most impacted by climate change but the least responsible and informed.
“We need to empower our local communities both with the resources and right knowledge to enable them better fight climate change” said Mithika.
Climate change accordingly impacts vulnerable communities in Africa in particular and the world at large such as smallholder producers, indigenous people, women, children, youth, many of whom live in fragile ecosystems and rely on natural resources for their livelihood.
Experts agree that the combined impact of the climate crisis, COVID 19, deepening debt burden, Russia-Ukraine war and skyrocketing food and energy prices, resulting into increased cost of living for millions of people across the globe, especially those at the frontline of climate change impacts, necessitates urgent concerted action both at grass root and international levels.
It is against this backdrop that PACJA and its partners are calling for collective efforts and the needed resources to drive innovative actions of the ground.
Dr Mithika lauded the multiple partners that have stood by the strong civil society movement in the African continent to push the various stakeholders to action in addressing climate change.
“Our actions cannot be successful without the support of these donor institutions and we are calling on all to come on board so that we can better strengthen our engagements” Mithika said.
It should be recalled that the President of the African Development Bank Group Dr Akinwumi Adesina reiterated on the power of civil society organizations last year in a climate conference in Ivory Coast, harping on their contribution in pushing the Bank’s effort to build the continent’s resilience to climate change.
“We will need civil society organizations, to strongly advocate for and support the 16th replenishment of Fund, as it holds great promise for supporting the most vulnerable in the face of climate change devastation,” the Bank chief said at the climate forum.
One of the actions driven very powerfully in the African continent as pathways to address climate change crisis is the embrace of renewable energy. PACJA says one of its strategic initiatives in the climate change drive is ensuring a people-centered energy transition in Africa through civil society engagement.
According to Dr Augustine Njamnshi, coordinator of the African Coalition for Sustainable Energy and Access, ACSEA renewable energy has to be put at the center of all climate change actions.
“The ACSEA project aims to strengthen civil society’s role in promoting and implementing sustainable energy transition initiatives including renewable NDCs in Africa, influence renewable energy policy development at domestic, national and global levels” Njamnshi said.
PACJA new Board Chair Najwa Bourawi from Tunisia also emphasized on the need for a sustainable energy transition in Africa for the continent to meet its needs for socio-economic development.
“The time is critical. We must act quickly in the renewable energy transition to address the shocks of climate change that are affecting the African people,” Najwa said.
The General Congress also saw the election of members to head the executive council of PACJA and heads of different committees of the board of the organization for the next three years. These committees include the technical and political committee, the finance and administrative committee, the ethics and arbitration committee, the recruitment and credentials committee. Also elected to the continental committee was the Isaiah Esipisu, the Continental Coordinator for PAMACC.