Carlos Lopes on Africa's course in the climate negotiations

Carlos Lopes on Africa's course in the climate negotiations

Paris, 2 December 2015 (ClimDev-Africa) - "Africa has played a key role in global climate negotiations. The African group of negotiators has been working hard since 2006, but it must find ways to strengthen its capacity as a block.”

The statement was made by the Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), Carlos Lopes at the Africa Pavilion in a session focused on the conclusions of a study of Africa's road to the Climate negotiations.

He said the African group “now needs to develop a coherent strategy and operational framework and define a coordinated strategy so that development partners can more effectively support the negotiations and negotiating capacity in the region.”

For his part, Nagmeldin Elhassan, President of the African Group of Negotiators (AGN) said since 2006, the group has generally spoken with one voice at global climate negotiations. The first African Common Position on Climate Change was prepared in Nairobi in 2005 and 2006 by the AGN under the auspices of the African Ministers Environment Conference (AMCEN), which enabled Africa to better defend its interests in COP12, held in Nairobi.

The third African common position on climate change prepared by the AGN under the auspices of the Conference of Heads of State and Government on Climate Change (CAHOSCC) and AMCEN enabled the AGN to negotiate more consistently in what he said were "difficult conditions" at the COP 15 in Copenhagen, Denmark, in December 2009.

The President of the AGN also recognized that African countries have been very active in the global effort for a governance framework of climate change.

"All African countries are signatories to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, and have consistently participated in all annual conferences," he said.

Seth Osafo, former legal adviser to the AGN said that Africa has made remarkable progress in the climate negotiations in recent years, but argued that much remains to be done, "particularly in the context of discussions on major issues of development such as technology transfer, climate finance and capacity building to address the effects of climate change."

"The continent must define a clear strategy to facilitate the rapid transfer of clean technology from industrialized countries in the 2020 agreement," he added.

According to Ms. Fatima Denton, the Director of the Special Initiatives Division at ECA who moderated the meeting, African countries want to provide credible arguments during these negotiations to protect food systems, ecosystems, and to ensure sustainable development.

"Africa has consistently defended the need to include adaptation in the response strategy especially because of the low adaptive capacity of the continent and because of the continent's negligible carbon footprint compared to other world regions," she said.

A book entitled "The Course of Africa in the climate negotiations" was announced by ClimDev-Africa, and Ms. Denton informed the meeting that all the conclusions of this work will be published in 2016.

Issued by:
ECA External Communications and Media Relations Section