Minister of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries Barbara Creecy. File picture: Brendan Magaar/African News Agency(ANA).

MADRID - Environment, Forestry, and Fisheries Minister Barbara Creecy has called on African leaders to unite and take more robust action to combat global warming.

She was addressing the African Ministerial Conference on the Environment (AMCEN) during the United Nations (UN) climate change conference now under way in the Spanish capital Madrid on Sunday.

Creecy is leading the AMCEN and, in this capacity, has a mandate to advance Africa’s shared priorities.

She said the impact of climate change was real and most felt by the poor and vulnerable groups in society.

"Over the past year, every sub-region of Africa has experienced weather events that have caused considerable loss of life and destruction.

"In South Africa, we are experiencing unprecedented increases in the frequency and intensity of heat-waves, bush fires, and droughts, which are placing a tremendous burden on our already water-stressed country. There have also been particularly violent storms and floods. Science tells us that the worst is yet to come."

With this reality, Creecy said, it was imperative for South Africa to contribute to securing a robust multilateral response to climate change. 

"This response has to assist African and other developing countries to adapt and to respond to the associated loss and damage. Developing countries must secure the finance, technology, and other support they require to combat climate change and to transition their economies to more sustainable development pathways," she said.

The priority was to finalise the implementation guidelines for the Paris Agreement, which becomes fully operational in 2020.

She also reiterated that the conference had to recognise the special needs and circumstances of African countries and advance work towards achieving the Paris Agreement’s global goal on adaptation.

African News Agency (ANA)