Pascale Palmer writes from Durban…
Over the weekend ministers from more than 50 African countries met to confirm their positions and agreements on discussions here at the COP in Durban.
Ministers discussed the latest science showing severe threats to African food security; developments in the negotiations; and a strategy to ensure that the outcomes of the Durban climate conference are comprehensive enough to protect Africans from the worst effects of climate change.
The group reiterated that fact that Africa will be hit first and hardest by global climate change, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The continent has contributed the least to climate change, and is among the least equipped to adapt to its adverse effects.
More than one billion people in Africa, and millions of others living on small islands, least developed and other vulnerable countries will bear the potentially catastrophic effects of land loss, food and water shortage, crop reduction, and flooding.
In response, African ministers will be pushing hard to make the African common position heard in Durban.
Second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol
Seyni Nafo, spokesperson of the African group of negotiators, said: “Developed country Parties to the Kyoto Protocol must honour their commitments through ambitious mitigation commitments for a second and subsequent commitment periods. They must reduce their emissions of greenhouse gases by at least 40 per cent during the second commitment period from 2013 to 2017 and by at least 95 per cent by 2050, compared to 1990 levels, as an equitable and appropriate contribution.
“We stress the urgency of agreeing a second commitment period in Durban and of elaborating measures to avoid a gap between commitment periods.”
Securing necessary climate finance
Emily Massawa of the Secretariat of the African Ministerial Conference on the Environment said: “African Ministers are concerned about insufficient transparency and slow disbursement of the financial resources pledged by developed countries as ‘fast start’ finance for the period 2010-2012 and indications that a small proportion of these resources are ‘new and additional’.
“Ministers have noted the pledge by developed countries to mobilize jointly $100 billion per year by 2020, and reiterate Africa’s position that developed countries should by the year 2020 provide scaled up financial support based on an assessed scale of contributions that constitutes at least 1.5 per cent of the gross domestic product of developed countries, in order to curb climate change and meet the needs of developing countries to tackle climate change and its adverse effects.”