By Friday Phiri in Paris
Zambia supports the position of the African Group of Negotiators for greater transparency on the global financing mechanism in the new climate agreement that is being negotiated in Paris, France.
Highlighting some key emerging issues as outlined by the AGN’s briefing to the African Ministerial Conference on Environment-(AMCEN) at the Africa Pavilion, Zambia’s focal point person at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), Richard Lungu said greater transparency in the new agreement will be a crucial component in moving forward.
The Lungu said the call comes in the wake of the released report in October by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) highlighting that they had already mobilized $62 billion out of the $100 billion dollars pledge towards climate financing.
“Earlier in October, the OECD released a report that they had mobilized 62 billion dollars out of the 100 billion that was pledged in Cancun to be mobilized by 2020. But we as Africa, we are asking that where is the money because we have not seen the money”, he said.
This position sits well with the message of Africa at the Paris COP 21. Aptly put by President Akinwumi Adesina of the African Development Bank saying, “Africa has already been short-changed by climate change. Now, we must ensure that Africa is not short-changed with climate finance”.
With the bank’s commitment to support Africa’s renewable energy drive, pledging US $12 billion for Africa’s renewable energy in the next five years, the continent is in a pole position to demand for a fair deal.
And AfDB Vice President, Aly Abou-Sabaa reiterated this point in his remarks during the official opening of the AMCEN meeting saying: “I wish to emphasise that COP 21 agreement that does not meet Africa’s demands cannot be said to be a successful one”.
With key political and cross-cutting issues being Adaptation, Ambition, Differentiation and Flexibility for Africa and Finance, the AGN has asked the African Ministers to be bold in their high level engagement without compromising the historic perspective of the negotiations.
Fatima Denton of the African Climate Policy Centre of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa-(UNECA) agreed with this reason saying: “As we continue making history here in Paris, history will remember also if Africa does not ask what it wants”.
Dr. Denton believes Africa is already contributing to a safer world through its ‘default de-carbonized’ economic pathway saying “if Africa and its people were to intensify fossil fuel use, the consequences would be grave”.
For a continent that emits no more than 4% of global emissions, the ambitions new renewable energy initiative announced by the AfDB is a serious commitment and must be supported, said United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.
“I am encouraged by the strong contribution Africa is making, against this challenging backdrop, to shift the narrative on climate action from burden sharing to opportunity sharing. Earlier this week, I had the pleasure of joining President Al-Sisi, President Hollande and other leaders to launch the African Adaptation Initiative and the African Renewable Energy Initiative”, said the Un Secretary General adding that the two initiatives clearly demonstrate Africa’s leadership by example.
But amid the enthusiasm of the energy prospects ahead, all eyes will be on the initiator—the African Development Bank, and United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Deputy Executive Director, Ibrahim Thiaw said: “COP 21 is an illustration that time has changed for Africa…”, he said, adding that UNEP “warmly welcome the leadership of AfDB in the processes”.
And on her part, the African Union Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture, Rhoda-Pearce Tumutsime, action was needed now more than ever as climate change was already having serious effects on the continent’s “food security and nutrition”.
Africa has made its commitments and now awaits those on the other side to do their part for a fair outcome of the COP 21 agreement.