What Africa should prepare to raise on upcoming COP26


The 39th Ordinary Session of the Executive Council of the African Union (AU) was kicked off on Thursday in Addis Ababa, the seat of the AU, to discuss current issues of the continent. The major agendas of the session of the executive council were maintaining peace and security of the continent, strengthening institutional reform and financial capacity of the continental organization, AU plus and COVID-19. However, on timely agenda, climate change was missed during this session, according to Environmental activists.

This continental session of the executive council is taking place two weeks ahead of the United Nations Conference on Climate Change, the Conference of Parties (COP 26) to be held in Glasgow, UK. At this conference, the world is waiting for more from the decision-makers to halt the effects and impacts of climate change to have a naturally protected and healthy future. Africa is the most affected continent due to climate change and the most vulnerable to the continued impacts of the worsening climate change.

Though, contributing fewer carbon emissions to the climate, Africa is the most affected continent from climate change impacts due to the emissions from the developed world. This affects the development of the continent and has an impact on the efforts of food security in the continent, as the continent’s population depends on an agrarian economy. Hence, Africa needs strong decisions and implementations in climate action from the COP 26 session. But, according to environmental experts, without the strong engagement of African leaders and experts, it is unthinkable to defend the continent’s interests and to voice the reality of the continent.

“At this time, since COP 26 is left with only days, there is no priority agenda for the continent beyond climate change,” Environmental Activist Yared Abera said. Approached by The Ethiopian Herald, Global Youth Climate Leader from Ethiopia and founder of The Youth Print, Yared stated that climate change is the most urgent issue for Africa at this time. The AU commissioner during the opening session stated that peace and security of the continent, Yared said, directly and indirectly, climate change is becoming a threat for peace and security for the continent, he added.

“Climate change is the major cause for drought and famine which leads to food insecurity in the continent” Yared underlined adding “due to food insecurity, illegal migrations and movements of people may disturb the peace and security of the continent” Yared reiterated that considering the impacts, its urgency and COP 26, climate change is the top priority agenda of the continent at this time that never is missed, sadly, the priority agenda is missing.

For Yared, the current AU Commission Executive Council agendas are continental timely agendas but parallel to these agendas, climate change must be included. “It is time for Africa to stand together to shout for practical climate action using the COP 26 session as an opportunity” Yared argued adding “unless the political leaders give attention for the session, it is tough to protect Africa’s interest at the international forum.”

Africa needs to be bold at the Glasgow conference as the effects and impacts of climate change are affecting the continent’s overall development and the struggle for food security for the continent’s population, hence, Yared noted, the strong stand of the continent’s member states is very crucial. For this reason, preparation and prior discussions on the stances of the continent is a necessary action, he added.

“Africa contributes only four per cent of emissions to the climate” Yared noted. But, Africa is the most affected continent by climate change. Considering these real facts, he said, Africans should stand together to limit this injustice and to bring real changes; it is important providing strong arguments and facts in the coming COP26 session.

The focus areas for Africans in the coming COP sessions, according to Yared, are focusing on a financial mechanism for adaptation measures, climate financing, carbon market, compensations for loss and damages, pushing for the implementation of the SUD 100 billion climate finance promise.

For Yared, in the COP26 conference, he expects African climate negotiators to adapt to one major agenda of the conference to adapt from the previous impacts due to climate change. There should be a clear mechanism with a clear goal in adaptation action, Yared said. So far, according to environmental activists, the developed world is reluctant to give attention to adaptation and financial allocation for adaptation is insignificant, which directly implies to adapt the past impacts of climate change.

For Yared, since Africa is the most affected continent, the minimum attention for adaptation financing affects the continent’s struggle to depart from the past impacts of climate effects. Hence, Yared said, Africa should give strong attention to the adequate allocation of financial funds for adaptation mechanism. For him, the financial budget allocation for adaptation and mitigation actions should be equally distributed fifty per cent for adaptation, fifty per cent for mitigation.

The second issue that Africa must give attention to, according to the activist, is climate finance and pledging mechanisms. Yared stated that the world promised 100 billion USD financial funds for climate change until 2020, but there is a huge gap in the implementation of the promise. Hence, Africa, as the most vulnerable continent, should shout for the implementation of this promise and should also push even for additional financial pledges.

In climate financing, the allocated finance is mostly in the form of a loan. But Africa should struggle to change this mechanism to make it in direct fund and support, Yared stated.

In the coming COP 26 session, the world should reach a final agreement on the carbon market, Yared said, adding, so far, carbon market negotiation remains unfinished. Hence, Africa should push for the implementation of carbon marketing, he noted. The other major topic that Africans should give attention to and prepare for, according to Yared, is direct compensation for loss and damage due to climate changes. In addition, for the proper implementation of compensations for loss and damage, a network that was established during the COP 25 session should enter into the implementation phase, he added.

For Yared, all these agendas need a strong stance and voice of Africa and another developing world. Yet, the young activist argues that Africa has not given weight to the issue and urged the continent to wake up.

 COVID-19 is covering the agenda of climate change and the financial pledges are focusing on COVID-19. This may affect the struggle against climate change and the world should not dump the agenda of climate change at any condition, climate actions should be implemented parallel with old and new global agendas, he argued.

At the continental level, Africa and the continental and regional organizations should also allocate adequate finance and strong implementation mechanisms to struggle climate change, the activist argued. For him, investing in technology transfer, supporting renewable energy initiatives by countries especially which have regional benefits like the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) and providing continental scientific solutions to support the continental struggle are timely issues.

The first challenge in the continent is making climate change among the top agendas of the continent, Yared argued adding even the AU and other regional organizations should establish a strong institution to manage the continent’s climate-related actions and activities.

Capacity limitation, the problem of exposing impacts, weak support for the African climate negotiators, political leaders’ weak commitment for the agenda and financial limitations are the top challenges in the struggle against climate change in Africa, Yared stated. Yared reiterated that Africa should push the world for adequate financial support to the continent with the direct fund and the continent should also strengthen its internal capacity to limit climate impacts.

Without minimizing the impacts of climate change on the continent, it is unthinkable to achieve the Agenda 2063 of prosperous and developed Africa. In addition, famine, drought and food insecurity remains the top problem of the continent, until these climate-driven impacts are halted, Yared underlined.

The Ethiopian Herald October 16/2021

Recommended For You