[Column] Marlene Mutimawase: What Africa should take to COP28
Africa is the least continent to fossil fuel emissions yet to be the most affected continent when it comes to the consequences of climate change where the negative effects of climate change on the African continent have become increasingly vivid through disasters such as floods, earthquakes, and drought.
Africa has the lowest per capita fossil fuel emissions of any region globally and between 1850-2021 was responsible for only 2.8% of global fossil fuel emissions. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Africa faces the most severe challenges due to climate change. It is the 28th summit the biggest gathering on Climate Change about to take place in Dubai,the question remain the same, what Africa should take to this big table of COP28?
From 30 November to 12 December 2023, Dubai, the megalopolis of the United Arab Emirates, will host the world’s largest meeting on climate change. In the run-up to the 28th United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 28).The Conference of Parties (COP) is an annual meeting of member countries of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to discuss global efforts to combat climate change issues.
The conference will likely target key areas concerning Africa, notably: Framing an African narrative on Just transition, by sector and by territory; Influencing the application of climate justice principles across all levels and all sectors in the negotiation process; and implementing the Africa Union Climate Change Strategy on Climate Change 2022 – 2032.
Ahead of COP28, under the leadership of the African Union, African countries have been working to consolidate the African voice. The inaugural Africa Climate Summit held in Nairobi, Kenya in September served to do just that and was the culmination of all preparations for the upcoming event. It concluded in the Nairobi Declaration, an affirmation of Africa’s position in the global climate change process that pushes for green growth and a transformed climate finance environment that leaves no one behind.
The Nairobi Declaration serve as a basis for africa'common position in the global climate change process, No country should ever have to choose between development aspirations and climate action. The declaration is also a call for the global community to act with urgency to reduce emissions, honour past commitments and support Africa’s climate action.
It recognises the scale, urgency and importance of these collective actions, and clearly outlines Africa’s commitment to the process. The message is clear – African leaders have pledged their full support for a successful and ambitious COP28 that should go beyond just talk which should be the major discussion during COP28.
Another milestone Africa should push again for COP28 are the recommendations from the Loss and Damages transitional committee. The landmark decision to grant loss and damages to developing countries following extreme climate events was a significant milestone from COP27, and expectations are that the continent must move the needle on this and other decisions.
In many African countries, climate change is playing out in the devastation of lives and livelihoods and costly destruction of critical infrastructure, and this is a serious threat to sustainable development. COP28 is a vehicle that aligns global thinking andan opportunity for robust and progressive solutions that speak to the needs of the continent.
It is very important for Africa to prepare ahead of COP28, the whole continent has to go with the clear agenda taht tacckle all the challenges africans are facing due to climate change, the agenda that takes into account progress on its own development goals and address issues such as energy access, food security, infrastructure and housing. This means that the agenda should look into african problem but also with an eye of bringi up solutions to those problems.
It is also crucial to build the agenda of COP28 based on Nairobi Declaration and unifying voices,Africa as a continent should be also stand on the position of being a strong partner and sit on table of decison making not a mere observer in global climate agenda.