COMESA in partnership with the African Union Commission and other Regional Economic Communities (RECs) successfully held side events to push Africa’s case at the just ended UN Climate Change Meetings also known as the 25th Conference of Parties (COP) to the Climate Change Convention.
The first meeting to be held was a technical side event to showcase Africa’s efforts on Resilience building. The meeting examined ongoing efforts and operational levels at continental and RECs, discussed best practices, challenges and opportunities for synergy and better programming of resilience interventions.
COMESA Climate Change Programme Advisor Dr Maclay Kanyangarara revealed that the side event developed recommendations to strengthen resilience building which includes increasing synergy among different stakeholders at regional level, inclusion of gender at all levels of resilience building, having more effective and sustained engagement with the communities, youths and women and long-term advocacy and policy development among others. This event was attended by more than 150 delegates from across the continent and beyond.
“This meeting was important because we were informed that while the world has recorded an average temperature increase of 1 degree Celsius, Africa as a continent has already experienced a 1.5 degree Celsius temperature increase over the same period, therefore we cannot down play the role of resilience,” Dr Kanyangarara added.
COMESA also participated in the Africa Climate Day side event which provides a platform for the continent’s decision makers and other stakeholders to engage in a dialogue that informs the region’s course of action around climate change. Ministers of Environment, Forestry and Climate Change from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Egypt, Seychelles, Tunisia and South Africa attended this meeting where they reiterated the need for increased ambition and resource mobilization to transform African Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) into vehicles for development.
They also discussed effective means of implementation including finance, capacity building, technology development and transfer of the Paris Agreement and the implications for Africa as a continent.
The third and final engagement was the side event to take stock of African Member States NDC implementation and share experiences, best practices, opportunities and associated challenges. This was convened by COMESA and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the NDC Partnership and the East African Community (EAC). It was necessitated by the fact that many African countries are faced with developmental challenges such as limited access to markets, lack of competitiveness, fragile economic development, high poverty levels and limited availability of analytical and technical capacity.
The event allowed African countries to explore further opportunities for implementation and to provoke discussions among experts and stakeholders in development policy and practice on how opportunities in climate change can enhance Africa’s transformative economic growth and development agenda.
The 25th Conference of Parties was held in Madrid, Spain from 2 to 13 December 2019 and was attended by nearly 27, 000 delegates from around the world. The conference provided the much-anticipated opportunity to finalise the ‘Rulebook’ of the Paris Agreement which is the operating manual needed when the agreement takes effect in 2020.
It sets the rules for carbon markets and other forms of international cooperation under Article six of the agreement.
However, due to the complex and protracted nature of the discussions, many thematic issues were not finalised and will be further discussed at COP26 in Glasgow, Scotland in November next year.
“This was the longest climate talks in history and the result was a weak gesture toward raising climate targets and failure to agree for the second year in a row on rules to govern carbon markets,” Dr Kanyangarara pointed out.