By Isaiah Esipisu,
Dar es Salaam
African climate experts, representatives from civil society and policy makers are meeting in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania to discuss the continent’s roadmap to the Paris climate change negotiations. They have warned that poor countries are headed for an anticlimax if past mistakes are repeated.
Keynote speaker Dr Mohammed Gharib Bilal, the Vice President of Tanzania, stated that “previous pledges to implementation of climate action have fallen short.”
“Since we are negotiating a new agreement, nobody in Africa will benefit if we make the same mistakes that we made in the Kyoto Protocol negotiations,” he said.
The negotiations in Japan led to countries ratifying an agreement that came to be known as the Kyoto Protocol, which experts have observed was designed more to address mitigation of climate change rather than adaptation to the phenomenon.
Vice President Bilal warned that if a new agreement that addresses all the mistakes of the Kyoto Protocol is not reached at the Paris negotiations, then the world’s path to sustainable development path will be jeopardised.
“The agreement left out countries which have since emerged as major greenhouse gas emitters, a fact that has had devastating impact on implementation of the agreement mechanisms,” observed Mithika Mwenda, Secretary General for the Pan African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA).
Mr Mwenda further noted that the Kyoto Protocol included mechanisms such as the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), which were market-based, and therefore failed completely to address climate change in countries with negligible emissions.
The Africa Climate Talks (ACT) meeting, which was convened under the theme “The Promise of Paris”, seeks to frame Africa’s role in the global governance of climate change. Climate change is being presented as both a constraint on Africa’s development potential as well as an opportunity for the structural transformation of Africa’s economies.
The conference is exploring the possibilities of Africa prospering in a changing climate, how that prosperity can be leveraged, and the roles of different countries in enabling this prosperity through their contributions to global climate governance.
The objective of the talks is to mobilise Africans from all walks of life to engage in the lead up to the Paris COP and to increase public awareness of climate change and the roles African people can play in the global governance of climate change. The conference also seeks to elicit critical reflection on the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) process among Africans. The reflection will contribute towards the identification of African solutions to the climate challenge.
“In order to succeed in Paris, there is need for all of us to speak in one voice as Africa,” noted Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri, the Minister of Water, Environment and Climate for Zimbabwe.
The Tanzanian Vice President noted that success at the Paris conference also Known as the 21st Conference of Parties (COP 21) is critical to the Post-2015 global climate regime that could keep climate change under control.