Africa makes special circumstances proposal at UN climate change conference
Africa / 7 December 2019, 7:33pm / Brenda Sinenhlanhla Masilela
MADRID - The Negotiating Group for Africa (NGA) has put forward a proposal for acknowledgment of the continent’s special circumstances and needs in the United Nations (UN) climate change conference currently under way in Madrid, Spain.
The proposal relates to the continent’s increasingly high risk to climate change, due to extreme weather events, and the increasing economic burdens as nations considered high risk borrow at high rates to meet their development agenda affected by climate change.
Research by the African Adaptation Initiative indicated that seven out of ten African nations are now at high risk of debt distress following debt build-up from disasters caused by global warming.
The NGA said greenhouse gas emissions are putting the world on a path toward unacceptable global warming, with serious implications for development prospects in Africa.
In 2019, an analysis from Save the Children organisation indicated that over 1200 people in Mozambique, Somalia, Kenya, Sudan, and Malawi have died from cyclones, floods, and landslides.
In South Africa and Zimbabwe, drought has devastated access to water and energy supply, farming, and wildlife survival.
In 2018, the UN landmark report on the science of 1.5 °C global warming projected a rise in the continent’s average temperatures at 1.5 to two times compared to the global rate of temperature increase.
As a result, increasing the climate-related risks to health, livelihoods, food security, water supply, human security, and economic growth.
Speaking during a media briefing on Saturday, ambassador Mohamed Nasr from Egypt, who is also coordinator of the NGA, said this was not a new proposal, but was part of the package offered to Africa during the Paris Agreement, because Africa was not included as part of the least developed countries (LDCs) and small island developing states (SIDS).
Nasr said the African continent was not seeking anything other than to comply with the convention and the Paris Agreement on Climate Change. "Unfortunately, because of the imbalance in the negotiations in Paris, the understanding that both sides should have of the agreement has had complexities because of the context. We have approved the Paris agreement and we are working on this process.”
Nasr also touched on countries which had recently discovered oil, gas, and minerals, because to fit into the Paris agreement, these nations may have to surrender their fossil fuel assets, even though this was critical for the growth of that particular country.
“Africa needs to deal with this dilemma from a policy level. If African nations cannot mine these resources, what are the alternatives provided to the policymakers who are already paying between two and nine percent of their GDP to fund adaption measures in their countries
“Hence the requirement for a special needs and circumstances proposal seeking a policy space for the continent to develop in a resilient and sustainable way that does not incur high debts for future generations,” Nasr said.