Post 2015 Agenda: Time for Africa to demand climate action

The growing effects of climate change on developing countries mostly in Africa where some of the world’s poorest people co-habit have generated questions about the future of Africa in the post 2015 development plan. ETTA MICHAEL BISONG writes on the implication of the draft Common African Position (CAP) in the next development agenda

As climate change evidently continues to alter sustainable development, the call by the entire global community to acknowledge and integrate issues of extreme weather condition into every national development plan can never be over emphasised.
For the North where the planet’s wealth is concentrated and also with a history of emitting the globes highest carbon dioxide, climate change and its challenges has been reduced to mere antics for political discussions. But for the South where carbon dioxide is insignificantly emitted and the earth’s endowment is list felt, climate change and its impact remains the single but most effective challenge that threatens sustainable development across the region.

For Africa, the stakes are clear. The need to negotiate for the establishment of a new Climate Change treaty under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate (UNFCCC) and development framework to succeed the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) spearheaded by the United Nations.
Recently, representatives of Nigerian Civil Society under the aegis of Climate and Sustainable Development Network of Nigeria (CSDevNet) in collaboration with Heinrich Boll Stiftung, Pan-African Media Alliance for Climate Change (PAMACC) and the Journalists for Climate Change (JCC) at the Post-Warsaw and Post 2015 National Consultative Workshop held in Abuja, adopted the aforementioned demands as inter-related and dependent on each other.

The next two years for Africa, according to the organisers are critically important as processes that will potentially shape development frameworks across the globe. Additionally, the group believe that sustainable development goals cannot be attained if the global community fails to heed the recommendations by science and act decisively on climate change.
Beyond the above school of thought, however, at the 2012 Rio+20 Conference, all countries agreed that climate change is a major obstacle to sustainable development and poverty eradication. This is supported by the experience of people living in poverty and vulnerability and major UN reports feeding into Post-2015.

Science further underlines the immediate need for action in all areas including international development. The urgency for action is underpinned by climate science and the window of opportunity for avoiding dangerous climate change which is rapidly closing.
A dispassionate analysis of the Warsaw conference reveals that there is no sense from the outcome of Warsaw that climate justice is any closer than before the COP was inaugurated as the delays in countries disclosing how they will address reducing greenhouse gas emissions continue. It would seem that the world is moving almost inevitably to a 4C degree warmer world.
Having been billed as a climate finance COP, the conference which was estimated to have over 8, 300 participants failed to deliver on its key premise. Warsaw failed to deliver on finance as the adaptation fund achieved its $100 million fundraising goal with promise of more money flowing to countries that can stringently prove they are reducing emissions from deforestation. But, no clear deadline was set to make the first payments into the Green Climate Fund and the road towards the $100 billion a year by 2020 commitment is murky, with no timelines, pathways, and sources outlined. Thus leaving developing countries without a predictable flow of funds to take climate action. On a precise note, Warsaw did not provide a clear plan to fairly divide the global effort of responding to climate change and a timeline of when that will happen, which is needed as countries progress towards the 2015 deal.

The need for both finance and disbursal mechanisms that genuinely reflect and respond to the needs of countries and people that need to adapt and become more climate resilient become even more important. In the absence of agreement on a mid-term target and a clear pathway, poor and vulnerable countries are unable to understand how the developed countries are going to deliver the promised target of US$100 billion annually by 2020. Looking at decisions related to long term finance, developing countries can see a few gains, but there were reassuring words and little else.

Also, countries were exposed at the climate negotiations, in Warsaw, as beholden to vested interests, such as the dirty fossil fuel lobby, after they once again missed an opportunity to put the world on a pathway to securing a comprehensive climate action plan in 2015. At the time when climate impacts are hitting communities around the world, the true nature of international climate politics: economic interests keen to maintain the status quo have been the hand pulling the puppet strings of governments in these negotiations. The comatose nature of these negotiations sends a clear signal that increased civil disobedience against new coal plants and oilrigs is needed to prevent catastrophic climate change.
Neither the industrialised countries nor the big developing nations were willing to move forward in offering concrete measures to reduce their emissions, or even agree on a concrete date for doing so. Apart from a pittance for the adaptation fund, the rich countries did not pledge any money to supporting developing countries in their efforts to tackle climate change and to build up climate friendly economies.
Furthermore, it is considered an act of irresponsibility on the part of the governments of Poland, US, China, India and EU who pretended to act against global warming and catastrophic climate change while agreeing on baby steps at COP19. The results of this climate conference in Warsaw show that CSOs did the right thing in staging the historic Warsaw walkout.
The aforementioned notwithstanding, some developed countries inject an ominous air into the talks, leading to the evaporation of trust as Japan rolled back its climate commitments and Australia tabled legislation to repeal its price on carbon during the first week of the talks. Then, BASIC countries pushed back on efforts to lock all countries into taking climate action as part of the 2015 Paris plan because they feel they have not been supported to take such action in the past, specifically, in regard to the absence of funding from developed countries like the EU and the US.
National Coordinator of CSDevNet, Atayi Babs in his paper at the workshop, said “The Post-2015 Framework must therefore help to make climate action in all countries happen without further delay and must support poor people, particularly in Africa and Nigeria to build resilience so as to adapt to climate impacts they are experiencing already.” Time for Nigeria and Africa according to him is fast running out.
Babs in the paper tagged; Beyond Warsaw: A CSO Position for COP 20, acknowledged and appreciated the progress achieved by leaders in coming up with the draft Common African Position for UNFCCC, however he added that ”we are concerned that the Post-2015 process in Africa is experiencing needless delays.”
The CSDevNet coordinator also observed that a strong Nigerian voice is needed to ensure that the next global framework truly reflects Africa’s priorities and needs. He said the UN processes to determine what will follow the Millennium Development Goals are already well underway, and will not wait for Nigeria.

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