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Eye of Riyadh
Environment & Energy | Saturday 9 December, 2023 10:48 am |
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African civil society unveils 5 recommendations for fight against climate change in the continent

At the 28th Conference of the Parties (COP28), an African civil society coalition has unveiled its five absolute priorities to fight climate change: adaptation, loss and damage, food systems; land use; and the protection and restoration of forests.

 

The priorities were announced by Secou Sarr, Executive Secretary of ENDA-Tiers Monde, representing a collective of African non-governmental organisations (NGOs) at a side event at the ongoing COP28.

 

These NGOs gathered around a common platform launched at COP28 – the “African Development Bank Group-Civil Society Coalition on Climate and Energy”. Standing together, the groups intend to have a greater influence on debate at COP28.

 

African Development Bank President Dr. Akinwumi Adesina said that Africa should be able to benefit from its natural resources. “African economies should not be measured by GDP; we should assess Africa’s wealth on the basis of its natural capital”, he said.

 

“Its immense mineral, forestry and renewable energy resources should all be taken into account,” he noted.

 

Dr. Adesina added that the Congo Basin, the largest carbon storehouse in the world, is not taken into account in the GDP assessments of the countries of the region.

 

The coalition supports the call by African leaders to channel special drawing rights for climate finance to Africa, particularly through the African Development Bank. It invites the global community, governments and development partners to implement best practices, innovations and technologies in an inclusive manner that involves farmers and local communities, especially women and young people, in an approach that combines scientific and traditional knowledge without harming biodiversity or compromising the resilience of society.

 

The coalition also called on parties to ensure that adaptation and resilience-building are at the heart of climate-vulnerable African economies.

 

At the opening of discussions with civil society, Beth Dunford, the African Development Bank’s Vice President for Agriculture and Human and Social Development, underscored that the coalition was “very important” for Africa. Dunford said that the Bank dedicated 64% of its funding to climate adaptation in Africa and that it has just opened a Climate Action Window, to provide specific resources and technical assistance to the continent’s least developed countries.

 

Augustine Njamnshi, Chair of the Coalition, welcomed the finance/civil-society/private-sector nexus in the fight against climate change in Africa.

 

“Doubling adaptation funding will not be enough for the continent, because governments have already spent a lot of money,” he said, calling on civil society and the private sector, especially the banks, to work together for the benefit of the continent.

 

Echoing this, Pauline Nantongo Kalunda, Executive Director of ECOTRUST, the Environmental Conservation Trust of Uganda, gave an example of this win-win partnership, describing how joint action by civil society and the private sector had enabled 15,000 small farmers to develop tree planting to promote carbon storage.

 

She also called for the removal of barriers to communities’ access to climate finance.

 

Mithika Mwenda, Chair of the Pan African Climate Justice Alliance – a powerful network of more than 1,000 African organisations working in the climate arena – emphasised the catalysing role of civil society, while praising the partnership with the Bank, which had made possible “significant commitments”.

 

The Burkinabe Environment Minister Roger Baro told the audience that government, the private sector and civil society form a “tandem” in the fight against climate change in this country of the Sahel, citing the consultation frameworks set up by his government to work with these different entities.

 

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