Ethiopia calls on Africa to combat climate change


>BY GETU TEMESGEN – The second African Climate Talks opened in Addis Ababa Thursday with participants discussing issues of climate governance and Africa’s participation in global climate negotiations, weather and climate information services, among other topics.

The talks, which contribute to the Talanoa Dialogue, will see participants in the next two days discussing a number of subjects related to climate change, including issues that affect the implementation of the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) in Africa; and the need to create space for the identification of alternative pathways to the resolution of the climate and development crises facing the continent.

Talanoa is a Fiji term for a conversation in which the people involved share ideas and resolve problems.

Officially opening the meeting, Ethiopia’s Debasu Bayleyegn Eyasu, the Director of Climate Change Implementation Coordination in the country’s Environment, Forest and Climate Change Ministry, said the time for Africa to take bold steps towards combating climate change was now.

 “As we all know the reality of climate change is starting to bite. More extreme weather conditions are no longer a prediction – they are real and they are happening today,” he said.

“Particularly we the African people are facing the sharp end of climate change and it hampers our stability to achieve the development needs of our population.”

Mr. Eyasu said the 2015 Paris Agreement, although a huge success for the planet, is not an end by itself ‘and it seeks further work together for its implementation’.

“We need all countries to take urgent ambitious climate actions,” he said, adding Ethiopia was on the way to develop long-term NDCs.

Mr. Eyasu said the outcome of the Addis Ababa meeting will serve as an input for the preparatory and political phase of the Talanoa Dialogue.

Mr. James Murombedzi, Officer in Charge of the Economic Commission for Africa’s African Climate Policy Center (ACPC), started his presentation by saluting the more than 40 African countries that signed in Rwanda yesterday three historical accords that will lead to a more integrated Africa. These are the African Continental Free Trade Area, the Kigali Declaration and the Protocol on the Free Movement of People.

“May this our partnership contribute to the achievement of the vision for a united African continent,” he said.

Mr. Murombedzi said climate change represented a massive challenge for Africa in particular, given the reliance of the continent’s economies and societies on climate sensitive natural resource-based activities and its limited capacity to adapt to climate disruption, and its relatively limited influence in the global political economy.

He said the Africa Climate Talks, an initiative of the ACPC and the ClimDev-Africa Initiative, aim to stimulate a wide-ranging discourse informed by the emerging African common positions on a range of pertinent issues, and also to create platforms for the discussions of African perspectives on key issues in the linkages between climate change and Africa’s transformative development trajectories.

“ACT! Will enhance public awareness of climate change; its implications, challenges and opportunities for Africa and facilitate critical reflection on the global dynamics of climate governance and the possible implications of these on Agenda 2063 and the 2030 Agenda for sustainable development,” said Mr. Murombedzi.

The talks, which will provide spaces for national and regional collaboration on climate change, will be held in each region of Africa as well as African Small Island States.

The meeting ends tomorrow with resolutions on the way forward regarding Africa’s participation in global climate negotiations and related issues.