Africa is not an experimental ground for climate change solutions that have been developed elsewhere. Rather, Africa should be left to develop its own initiatives to enhance the climate resilience of its people while contributing to the global effort to defeat the challenges of climate change.
These remarks were echoed by Africa Union Commission Chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma at a press conference organised by the Committee of African Heads and Government on Climate Change (CAHOSCC) on the sidelines of 70th United Nations General Assembly taking place in New York, USA.
The press conference was convened by its coordinator Fattah El Sisi, president of the Arab Republic of Egypt and was attended by African Union (AU) Chairperson Robert Mugabe, president of Zimbabwe as well as Dlamini-Zuma.
According to Pan African Climate Justice Alliance (Pacja) Secretary General Mithika Mwenda, the press conference was convened to give African heads of states and government an opportunity to show the world their commitment to climate change.
It was also an opportunity for the African leaders to meet, get updates, exchange views and analysis on the continent’s effort to consolidate itself on the ongoing international dialogue process for a suitable climate change agreement, which will be reached in Paris in December 2015.
However, Mwenda said the African civil society was disappointed by the absence of African Heads of States and Governments at the press briefing.
He said CAHOSCC remains the platform of Heads of States and Government and was conceived to provide the highest political leadership possible.
He also reminded African leaders that Ministers have their platform where they compile the African Position and priority issues, under the guidance of the African Group of Negotiators.
Said Mwenda: “As the civil society, we are on top of the developments in Africa as the climate change negotiations unfold and hope that our leaders will not fall into the trap of 2009, when they gave into a wholly unacceptable outcome.
“This can only happen if they are available to listen and widely consult with other stakeholders across the continent.”
“We want to see our governments’ firm commitment to a strong unified African position during COP21, on the Initiative on enhancing support to Africa on Adaptation and Loss and Damage, and the African Renewable Energy Initiative,” added Mwenda.
According to PACJA, energy access and adaptation, are the most pressing issues in Africa’s response to the climate crisis.
Mwenda said Africa has strong networks, institutions and the sufficient capacity to deal with any area of climate response, such as adaptation, mitigation, technology transfer or finance.
The CAHOSCC meeting was held in preparation for the Conference of Parties (COP21) meeting to be held in Paris, France in December.
The UN climate conference in December will be a defining moment on climate change negotiations and is expected to deliver a new universal climate change agreement.