Malawi, just like other African countries, wants the outcome of the Paris climate change negotiations to be legally binding so that countries do not opt out of their duty to protect the earth and their people from the adverse effects of climate change, Minister of Natural Resources, Energy and Mining Bright Msaka has said.
Msaka who arrived in Paris on Saturday to attend the 21st Conference of Parties (COP21) to United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) said this in an interview after a high level meeting of the African Ministerial Conference on the Environment (AMCEN).
“We want a climate agreement that will obligate of all us to do our part. We are all on this one planet hence we cannot all one country to spoil it for us,” he said.
Msaka added that the Paris outcome should not have any element of voluntarism as was the case with the Kyoto Protocol which many rich nations such as the USA refused to ratify.
“If we do not have a binding agreement, we may as well not have anything,” Msaka said.
The meeting was also a platform for ministers to get updates from the African Group of Negotiators (AGN) on the on-going negotiations and also for the ministers to put forward their input and suggestions for the agreement.
According to Msaka, the insistence by Africa to have a legally binding document is because Africa bears the brunt of climate change even though its contributions to greenhouse gas emissions is insignificant. Those who pollute more seem not to be willing to do more to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Issues of finance and adaptation and loss and damage have dominated the COP21 negotiations, with Africa insisting that big polluters such as USA and others pay developing countries for causing climate change which has devastating effects on poor nations who have low capacity to respond and adapt to climate change effects.
In his speech to the ministers, United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, said though Climate Change is just one of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), failure to address it properly will result in failure to implement the other 16 goals.
“It is critically important that we have a vision implemented in Paris. Africa is particularly vulnerable to the effects of climate change. Much of its economy depends on a climate-sensitive natural resource base, including rain-fed subsistence agriculture. This is an area of great opportunity for adaptation and mitigation,” Ki-moon said.
Ki-moon commended Africa’s commitment to speaking with one voice in the negotiations.
“I strongly encourage you to continue to do so. United, you are a powerful bloc of 54 nations, and your interests will be better served,” he said.
The conference which started on November 30 with a high powered delegation of 150 world leaders, is expected to come up with an ambitious deal that is binding, equitable, just and fair to all by Friday when the conference ends.