African environment experts are meeting in Kigali to plan on a better strategic plan towards creating a change in the continent’s climate resilience approach after Africa failed to benefit from the 26th Climate Change Conference of Parties (COP26) in Glasgow last year.The experts were brought together at the 8th Africa regional forum on sustainable development which was officially opened and hosted by Rwanda’s ministry of environment in Kigali City yesterday.
The 5- day conference organized by Pan African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA) acts as a heads-up meeting to peg African ambitions ahead of the forthcoming COP27 to be held in Cairo, Egypt at the end of this year.
At the conference, experts said that African countries were not able to benefit from the COP26 meeting where they requested for Climate Resilience funding from the World largest polluters in the northern hemisphere
For instance, PACJA officials said that at COP26 there was a commitment to raise $100billion per year to less wealthy nations by 2020 but $20 billion went to adaptation projects in 2019, less than half of the funds for mitigation projects.
Augustine Njamnshi, Chair Technical and Political affairs Committee, at PACJA said that it has been easy to raise funding for COVID-19 because developed countries are equally affected yet it has been hard to do so for Africa- which is hardest hit by Climate Change.
For example after the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak in 2020, developed countries managed to raise $7.2billion, which Njamnshi wondered how come this is possible in a short time.
“I don’t want to raise an alarm but Africa’s vulnerability to climate change should be a reason enough to stand up against climate change threats and demand for our own funding sources if we are to see an African face at COP27,” Njamnshi said.
The outbreak of COVID-19 in Africa negatively affected economies, regional integration, social cohesion and health systems within the countries in Africa putting African Union’s Agenda 2063, the Sustainable Development Goals and other development goals and targets under threat.
PACJA Board chairperson, Nanjwa Bourawi this leaves Africans in a tight position which also calls for action and using examples of countries like Rwanda which have already started making strides despite addressing the effects of climate change.
“COVID-19 has proven we have to work in solidarity to address global challenges including Climate Change. We have to speak out for and guarantee climate justice, environment justice for all, and not only do so for specific interest groups,” Bourawi said.
She said that as the countries rush to recover from Covid-19, there is likelihood that there will be a shift in focus from addressing climate change to economic recovery agenda yet the continent badly needs to continue addressing the climate crisis which remains a major challenge for the continent.
“COP26 in Glasgow was a failure but we are here to prepare for COP27 – an ‘African COP’ (Africa people’s COP) which shouldn’t equally fail because it is Voices of Africans and bares hopes for all Africans,” Bourawi stated.
Rwanda Presented As A Model
Rwanda was the first African country to submit an updated Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) in 2020 committed to reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by 38% by 2030.
“This example of Rwanda should be a reminder and the same logic to be used to have our own dignity in addressing Climate justice in Africa,” Wanjira Mathai, Vice President and Africa Director, World Resources Institute said.
Faustin Munyazikwiye, Deputy Director General Rwanda Environment Management Authority (REMA) and Rwanda’s Chief Negotiator said that “Africa needs climate financing which corresponds to its needs to be tabled at COP27 in Egypt, otherwise we will get lost in figures of $100 billion needed.”
Mithika Mwenda, Executive Director PACJA noted that Africa’s journey towards COP27 will not succeed if Africa is not united.
“We will get hanged there (COP27). Therefore we need unity among African COP27 negotiators who are currently divided because of personal interest.”
The conference will spend the next days in Kigali, planning on a funding roadmap, lobbying, advocacy and partnerships towards COP27.