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African Lead Negotiators map out strategy for approaching COP27

Mr. Washington Zhakata

The African Lead Negotiators are currently meeting in Sharm El Sheikh to map out a strategy to approach the negotiations at COP 27 focusing on the need to accelerate action for climate adaptation and mitigation solutions.

Mr. Washington Zhakata who is the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) focal person for Zimbabwe and Director for the Climate Change Management Department in the Ministry of Environment, Climate, Tourism and Hospitality Industry Zimbabwe is part of the African negotiators who are meeting.

He said the critical issues under discussion are to do with the just transition from fossil fuels to renewable forms of energy in view of the current global geopolitical situation especially in Eastern Europe, which has resulted in some European countries starting to move back to coal use which was in principle partially banned at COP 26 in Glasgow.

Discussions at COP 27 were supposed to zero in on how the phase-down of coal use would be implemented. The developing countries were being squeezed to the corner to phase down coal use.

“But now with the phasing up by the developed world, how are the negotiations to approach this? Of course, as a country that uses and intends to use it for some time, we are advocating for diplomatic silence and only shouting when the issue of greenhouse gas reductions in the energy sector relates to the phase-down of coal.

“Another issue coming up clearly is the failure of developed countries to meet their US$100 billion pledge to the Green Climate Fund for access by developing countries for resilience projects and implementation of mitigation actions including Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs). Over and above, in view of the fact that most of the NDCs for African countries are conditional upon the provision of international finance, and that there is no agenda for creating and resourcing a financial mechanism for the implementation of the NDCs. The question under discussion is how to push this issue into the agenda and how to fight for its serious consideration including issues that have remained unresolved such as modalities for financing Losses and Damages as a result of extreme weather events associated with climate change,” Mr. Zhakata said.

COP 26 agreed on doubling adaptation funds, however, there has not been any movement to initiate the momentum towards mobilisation of the resources. This is also being discussed together with the agriculture agenda item, an item that has not seen much progress in the past couple of years despite the importance of food and nutrition security.

These strategic discussions are key for the Africa Group of Negotiators as the meeting of the AGN is scheduled for 1 and 2 November 2022.

Key on the discussion table is the importance of delivering on the special needs and special circumstances of Africa—a continent which is the least contributor to global greenhouse gas emissions with less than 4% of total global emissions and yet the most adversely impacted region as reaffirmed by the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reports.

According to the IPCC, Africa is already experiencing severe and widespread impacts of climate change causing devastation to lives, livelihoods, and the continent’s development trajectory.

This, according to AGN Chair, Ephraim Mwepya Shitima, is a clear manifestation of climate injustice, which must be corrected.

“As COP27 takes place in Africa this November, there are high expectations that ‘the African COP’ will deliver substantive progress and implementable climate actions on the priority issues for Africa and other developing countries, including on adaptation, loss and damage and delivering on the pledges on climate finance, with the ultimate aim of correcting the injustice and getting the world on a path to a secure and safe climate future,” said Shitima.

In deliberating on Africa’s special needs and special circumstances, the AGN Lead Coordinators’ Strategy Meeting is also looking at the continent’s energy poverty, with the latest statistics showing over 600 million people have no access to electricity.

However, this is against the backdrop of a heightened global campaign for countries to transition to clean and green energy sources. Africa will require a just energy transition that ensures that resources and technologies are made available to enable the continent to achieve both climate and development goals!!

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Byron Adonis Mutingwende