African civil society groups call for enhanced ambition and urgent action to address the climate crisis – Noel Casserly

African civil society groups call for enhanced ambition and urgent action to address the climate crisis – Noel Casserly

The next high-level UN Conference on climate change, COP 27, will take place in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt on 6-18 November 2022. As part of the regional preparations, the pre-COP Africa Climate Week (ACW) Conference was held in Libreville, Gabon from 29th August to 2nd September.

At this meeting, the Pan-African Climate and Environmental Justice Alliance (PACJA), called for stronger, more Africa responsive climate ambition.  PACJA, is a trans-continental alliance of more than 100 civil society actors, representing youth movements, women’s rights defenders, academics, faith actors and journalists throughout Africa.   PACJA has called for enhanced ambition and urgent action on a range of key issues including climate adaptation, access to climate finance, Loss and Damage, and access to renewable energy.

The climate crisis is today among the main drivers of poverty and suffering in Africa (cyclones in southern Africa, droughts in the Horn of Africa, erratic rains throughout the continent, and other extreme weather events have left millions without food, shelter, adequate nutrition, and a reliable source of livelihood).

With barely four per cent of global emissions, Africa has the lowest historical and current emission levels compared to every other region; even then, emission levels are concentrated in a few countries so that most African countries are net zero and net negative emitters.  Despite little to no responsibility for climate change, African communities bear a disproportionately higher burden of its impacts than most parts of the world.  The key demands from PACJA for the forthcoming COP are:

There is a need to ensure that all stakeholders, including communities at the frontline of the climate crisis, are legitimately represented in the process.  In PACJA’s view, the COP26 at Glasgow last year was self-delegitimising because the British government kept progressive civil society representatives far away from powerful negotiators. 

The UNFCCC and the COP Presidency must put Adaptation on top of the agenda at COP27. This entails, among others, that the Glasgow-Sharm-El-Sheikh work programme on Global Goal on Adaptation (GGA) which must be operationalised.  

COP27 should agree on a dedicated and ambitious global adaptation finance goal.  COP27 must move from rhetoric to demonstrable action and ensure that the target of 50:50 split between mitigation and adaptation finance is not only met but surpassed in favour of adaptation.

Additionally, climate finance for adaptation must be delivered to African countries through grants and must be new and additional to Official Development Assistance (ODA). 

COP 27 must deliver an ambitious plan to deliver on the US$100 billion per year in grant equivalent funding pledge from developed countries by the new deadline of 2025.

The amount of climate finance reaching local communities must be urgently increased, and barriers to accessing climate finance must be removed. More investment is required in local climate action.  

Loss and Damage financing must be a priority agenda with clear timelines on addressing the issue, which is already ravaging African livelihoods. A clear financing mechanism for Loss and Damage must be established in line with Article 8 of the Paris Agreement.  There is also a need for a clear distinction between loss, damage, and disaster risk reduction. 

Renewable energy access for all must be a key mitigation priority for Africa, accompanied by a just energy transition that is supported with affordable technology and financing.

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Noel Casserly

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